U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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MARIJUANA: Polis Pushes Feds to Stay Out of State Drug Policy

Amendments would respect authority of state laws, prioritize child welfare programs over marijuana prosecutions

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Washington, June 3, 2015 | Kristin Lynch (720-899-0182 (cell)) | comments
The House of Representatives today voted on two bipartisan amendments sponsored by Representative Jared Polis (D-CO) to the Commerce, Justice and Science (CJS) Appropriations bill. The Amendments would stop the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) from preventing states from implementing their own marijuana laws.

The McClintock-Polis Marijuana Amendment would prevent the DEA from prosecuting individuals who use, sell, or possess marijuana in compliance with state laws. This measure would provide much-needed certainty to marijuana businesses that they can operate free from harassment and interference by federal drug authorities. The amendment narrowly failed on a vote of 206-222.

The Rohrabacher-Farr Medical Marijuana Amendment, which Polis cosponsored, would prevent the DEA from interfering with state medical marijuana laws. This amendment passed the House last year with bipartisan support and was included in the omnibus government-funding bill signed into law in December 2014. Renewing the amendment would ensure that medical marijuana patients and providers can live free from federal harassment and prosecution as long as they are acting in compliance with state laws. The amendment passed on a vote of 242-186.

“The federal government shouldn’t be swooping into Colorado to decide how we regulate marijuana any more than it should be swooping in to Louisiana to tell them how they should regulate fried crawfish,” Polis said. “In Colorado, we’ve seen that regulating the marijuana industry is a far more successful approach than leaving the market in the hands of criminal cartels. With each passing year, Congress moves one step closer to leaving marijuana policy up to the states, where it belongs. I’m confident that with time, we’ll finally get there.”

Last night, Polis’ amendment with Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) to shift $9 million from the DEA’s failed Cannabis Reduction and Eradication program to anti-domestic violence and anti-child abuse programs was adopted on voice vote.

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