U.S. Representative Jared Polis

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Polis to reintroduce Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act

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Washington, March 30, 2017 | comments

WASHINGTON: Today, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., reintroduced the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act, which would end the federal prohibition on marijuana.  The reintroduction of the legislation comes after Trump administration officials made statements indicating “greater enforcement” of federal law prohibiting recreational marijuana use.

“Colorado has proven that allowing responsible adults to legally purchase marijuana, gives money to classrooms, not cartels; creates jobs, not addicts; and boosts our economy, not our prison population,” Polis said. “Now, more than ever, it is time we end the federal prohibition on marijuana and remove barriers for states’ that have chosen to legalize marijuana.  This budding industry can’t afford to be stifled by the Trump administration and its mixed-messages about marijuana.  The cannabis industry, states’, and citizens deserve leadership when it comes to marijuana.”

Specifically, this bill removes marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act; transitions marijuana oversight from the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and treats marijuana similar to alcohol under federal statute.  

Since voters in Colorado overwhelmingly passed Amendment 64, legalizing recreational adult-use for marijuana, the state has pulled in $200 million dollars in tax revenue and created over 23,000 jobs.

"We are grateful to Congressmen Polis for his leadership on this issue.  An overwhelming majority of Americans support decriminalization and regulation of marijuana and their voices should be heard. We urge our leaders to co-sponsor and support this bill. We hope they come to terms with the failures of prohibition and measure the human cost of the billions in taxpayer dollars we spend each year criminalizing our citizens, seizing their property, and destroying their families for the possession and use of marijuana,” Ean Seeb, President of Sababa Corporation said. “Regulation works. Data shows teenage use is on the decline in Colorado while the total growing economic impact of Colorado's regulated marijuana market was over $1.3 Billion in 2016. Regulated marijuana is also one of the state's fastest growing economic industries, creating jobs and generating tax revenue for school construction projects and other public health and safety priorities."

“This is commonsense legislation that will eliminate the growing tension between federal and state marijuana laws. Most states have rejected marijuana prohibition at the state level and adopted policies that regulate marijuana in a manner that accounts for public health and safety,” Robert J. Capecchi, Director of Federal Policies for the Marijuana Policy Project said. “Ending prohibition at the federal level will improve those states’ ability to keep their citizens and communities safe without forcing other states to change their marijuana laws. Marijuana poses less harm than alcohol to consumers and to the broader community. Federal policy should reflect this fact and allow states to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol for medical and adult use.”

“The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act represents the future of cannabis policy at the federal level. Just as states are demonstrating that regulated cannabis markets are preferable to the underground market, the same theory applies nationally. As public support for making marijuana legal continues to grow, NCIA is working to ensure that support in Congress does as well, and applauds Rep. Polis for leading on this important issue,” Aaron Smith, Executive Director of the National Cannabis Industry Association said.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., will incorporate this bill into a larger legislative package to be introduced in the United States Senate.

Following the November election, 95 percent of Americans now live in states or territories that permit, to varying degrees, legal access to medical marijuana and/or cannabis derivatives with even more states considering expanded access this year.  Additionally, nearly a fifth of all Americans now live in a state with legal access to recreational marijuana for adults. 

This year, Polis, along with three other members of Congress, launched the bipartisan Cannabis Caucus.  The Caucus will provide a forum for members of the U.S. House of Representatives to discuss, learn, and work together to establish a better and more rational approach to federal cannabis policy.

On May 3, 2017, Polis will host a series of conversations on the need to pass legislation that legalizes marijuana at the federal level. The Marijuana Big Thinker Talk will take place in the Rayburn House Office Building Foyer from 8:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET.

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