WASHINGTON – Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said every state in the nation should be able to legalize marijuana without “federal bullying” or interference.
“We’re well beyond the stage of determining whether Colorado made the right decision. Colorado’s model is working – more popular among our voters in Colorado than ever before. And voters in other states have been emboldened to follow suit in different forms with regard to allowing the regulated sale of marijuana,” Polis said during the official launch of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus with Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Don Young (R-Alaska).
“Our next challenge is to take the model established in Colorado and Oregon and Washington and Alaska and enable all states to follow it free of federal bullying and federal interference,” he added.
The lawmakers called for the federal government to end its “prohibition” of marijuana and provide “legal marijuana businesses” with the same federal tax treatment.
“We’ve really started to see policymakers view the cannabis industry more favorably for what it is – a vibrant industry full of hardworking innovators and entrepreneurs and informed consumers,” he said.
Polis argued that it makes no sense to classify marijuana alongside heroin and cocaine under federal law. He said purchasing marijuana legally should not take away someone’s right to own a firearm and that state drug policies should take precedence over federal policies.
“From banking to housing to taxes to small businesses to jobs to agriculture, the four of us represent districts that frankly will be damaged and our constituents will be hurt by overreaching federal authority because of the discrepancy between federal and state marijuana laws,” Polis said.
Rohrabacher said every adult should have “the freedom to basically consume cannabis for medical purposes or otherwise if that’s what they agree to in the states in which they reside.”
Polis also said the legalization of marijuana creates jobs instead of addicts.
“It puts drug dealers out of business and boosts our economy rather than our prison population,” he said.
Blumenauer said cannabis received more votes than President Trump in states with ballot questions related to marijuana.
“Millions of Trump voters voted for changing marijuana laws,” he said.
Young said the coalition of lawmakers will “butt heads” with Attorney General Jeff Sessions if needed because it’s the “right thing to do.”
“We’ll do our job,” he said.
Rohrabacher said he expects Trump not to veto any efforts to stop the federal “prohibition” of marijuana.
“When we do our job we would expect the president not to veto it because he has indicated during the campaign that would be his position,” he said.
Polis said he plans to reintroduce the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which would “transition marijuana oversight from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and regulate marijuana like alcohol by inserting into the section of the U.S. Code that governs intoxicating liquors.”