The Ways And Means Approved The Marihuana Tax Act

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The Ways and Means approved the Marihuana Tax Act despite the pushback from the American Medical Association. The importance of that approval from the Ways and Means Committee can’t be understated because many Congressmen blindly accepted their recommendations. Otherwise, they were completely unfamiliar with marijuana. The bill came up for vote in the House at the end of a Friday session with many House members having already left for the weekend. Rep. Snell from New York requested that the vote take place at another time. “I don’t know anything about the bill. It may be all right and it may be that everyone is for it, but as a general principle, I am against bringing up any important legislation, and I suppose this is important, since it…show more content…
Rep. Vinson from Ways and Means lied about Woodward’s testimony. He said that “Dr. Wharton” and the AMA fully supported the bill. The Marihuana Tax Act passed through the Senate just as easily. Senate leaders brushed off thorough testimony from hemp farmers who warned that the bill would end their business. They lobbied for an exemption for hemp from the bill. One of those of those hemp farmers, Matt Rens, grew quite frustrated with the proceedings: Matt Rens: The real purpose of this bill is not to raise money, is it? Senator Brown: Well, we are sticking to the proposition that it is. Matt Rens: It will cost a million (jobs). Senator Brown: We thank you, Mr. Rens. (dismissed) The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 didn’t actually ban marijuana. Like the Harrison Act, it effectively taxed marijuana into the shadows of the black market. Marijuana had sold for about $1 an ounce at the time, but the bill added a tax of $100 an ounce. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively taxed and regulated the hemp industry out of business. The reporting and registration requirements alone brought operations for hemp manufacturers to a standstill. The Bureau of Narcotics received many letters from the hemp industry requesting leniency. One letter, just months after the bill passed, from H.W. Bellrose on October 12, 1937 promised that a “re-birth” of the industry was imminent because of the capacity of his “World
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