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Congressman Jared Polis: “Just as The Policy of Prohibition Failed Nationally With Alcohol – It’s Now Up To States And Counties – I Think We Should Do The Same With Marijuana”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 8, 2011

    United States Congressman Jared Polis, a Democrat representing Colorado’s second congressional district, is quickly establishing himself as one of the most outspoken federal critics of marijuana prohibition. This week he appeared on CBS’s Political Hotseat to discuss the success of Colorado’s medical marijuana law, and the futility of federal marijuana prohibition.

    Rep. Jared Polis: Federal government shouldn’t be banning marijuana
    via CBS News

    Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis said Wednesday that the federal government should not be in the business of regulating marijuana use by Americans.

    “I don’t see a federal role,” he said in a “Washington Unplugged” interview, noting that his state is among those that allow medical marijuana use. (There is also a push in Colorado for full legalization.) “I don’t think that the federal side should be coming in and second guessing what states are doing.”

    “Just as the policy of prohibition failed nationally with alcohol – it’s now up to states and counties – I think we should do the same with marijuana,” he said.

    … Polis said it’s apparent that “we are not winning the drug war,” pointing to increased drug abuse and the flow of drugs across the southern border from criminal cartels.

    “Drug abuse is fundamentally a medical issue, a health issue, more than a criminal issue,” he said.
    The lawmaker asked people to ask themselves how they would want someone close to them to be treated if they were struggling with drug abuse.

    “Do you think that person would have been better served by being in jail for several years or getting the help they needed to end their chemical dependency?” he asked.

    Polis also pointed to a recent study finding that marijuana is already a $1.7 billion industry.

    “It’s already created thousands of jobs in Colorado, several millions dollars of tax revenue – I really think that’s just the tip of the iceberg with regard to the potential of the industry in terms of job creation, revenue creation for the government,” he said.

    You can watch multiple video clips from Polis’ interview here.

    Like what you hear? You can hear more from Rep. Polis at NORML’s upcoming national conference, April 21 through April 23 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Denver, Colorado. Congressman Polis is this year’s Conference keynote speaker and will deliver Saturday’s luncheon lecture.

    You can learn more about this year’s NORML Conference agenda and social events online here. Conference registration information is online here.

    We look forward to seeing you in Denver.

    79 Responses to “Congressman Jared Polis: “Just as The Policy of Prohibition Failed Nationally With Alcohol – It’s Now Up To States And Counties – I Think We Should Do The Same With Marijuana””

    1. Rebel with a Cause says:

      49. txpeloton

      You’re definitely on the right track. “The whole plant material” needs to be defined. Maybe old Miss.and the FDA can do that instead of sitting on their hands.

      50. Longtime Puffer – Hey Puff

      Hope you and the family are fine. Have you made it to Cal or Amsterdam yet? Re: your comment to 39. Anonymous – what bothers me, and I quote, is – “Your country (America).” WTF – is it not DB’s country as well.

      1-50 posts

      If you want an example of how opposite ends of a totem pole can work together towards one objective – it’s Longtime Puffer and I, Rebel with a Cause.

    2. 3141 - Brethren of the Genesist Faith says:

      4-20 @ 4:20 is only 7 days away – are you ready?

      Prohibitionist debunkers have worked tirelessly and diligently to villainize cannabis as a matter of science and faith. So! my question to the American backbone is – “Just how long are we going to allow ourselves to be continually ‘lied to and abused’ by ruthless prohib dominators. Not one more f’n minute! Prohibitionists are rotten to the core – and – it’s time for them to receive their just rewards, or in this case punishment – consequence – the results of their actions.

    3. Nic says:

      On this Day where Do You Stand

      Are you locked up in some horrible prison, because you inhaled, or, are you a prince with good shoes?

      Looking over the cutbacks that Obama must consider, there was talk about old people, no where did I read about the end of that DEA.

      In my humble opinion, the DEA should be the first on the chopping block, American Citizens do not want Drug Cops.

    4. Charles says:

      Two things from me.

      #1. At the Congressman: Thank you for your support. If you run for re-election, I’m from Texas, but I will personally fly to Colorado and campaign for you on this issue alone. (My wife of 7 years is from there and we plan to move there when my contract with my current employer is up.)

      You should add the cost of the billions spent each year on the Drug War, and the revenue benefits of a National Legalization policy to the up-coming big Washington budget showdown. The Tea Party conservatives are willing to cut grandma’s SSI, but are they willing to let her grandson out of jail for herb to save money. Then tax him on his purchase? The money gained from ending the Drug War could help supplement Medicare/Medicaid. There are health benefits, fewer young adults would take up cigarettes for a less addictive and safer alternative. Which would reduce long term medical costs. Honestly, the benefits of legalization are many and prohibition few to none.
      Benefits:
      Medical(Morphine vs THC.. not a tough choice for many MS patients)
      Jobs (New industry = new jobs, new oversight = new government jobs)
      Taxes (To pay for the new government jobs and help with Medicare/Medicaid)
      Health (Has medical uses and less of a medical problem than cigarettes which many people would replace smoking) – This is speculation, but I know I would.
      Industrial (Hemp)
      Border Security (less incentive for a black market if a legal one exists)

      It would seem it has a way to help at the heart of every major national challenge Debt, Economy, Healthcare, and the list goes on…

      #2. The Harris poll mentioned elsewhere on this site:
      http://www.harrisinteractive.com/NewsRoom/HarrisPolls/tabid/447/ctl/ReadCustom%20Default/mid/1508/ArticleId/742/Default.aspx
      I think of all the polls the 4th one is the most telling simply because of how drastic those results are. They seem almost prophetic and they are in line with what I believe the outcome of legalization would be.

      The only one the seems “Bad” is the increased usage. This is likely the biggest “anti-legalization” argument in the form of “protect our children”, but we already have the highest percent usage in the world, so prohibition isn’t doing it. Want to “win” the war, I say look at the last 20 years of youth tobacco use trends(yes, it’s down people and that is a good thing), education not prohibition is the answer.

      Even our own President Obama has admitted past recreational usage. I wonder and maybe he should be asked, if marijuana had been legal, would he have ever tried “blow”? Was it a gateway for him? Was it because his “dealer” offered the other illegal item or was it because of curiosity and would have tried it anyway?

      Currently we’ve labeled ~%40 (adults who have admitted smoking it at least once in their lives and probably more out of fear of repercussions) as criminals. This is twice the adult cigarette smoking population which is a legal drug. This has to stop!!!

      P.S. Feel free to use any of this as talking points.

    5. Rebel with a Cause - Genesis - Los Angeles Colony says:

      02.01.11 Justice Department Memo.

      All marijuana is illegal, and a “core priority” of the department is to disrupt and prosecute marijuana commerce. We will enforce the Control Substance Act vigorously against individuals and organizations that participate in manufacturing and distribution activity involving marijuana, EVEN IF SUCH ACTIVITIES ARE PERMITTED UNDER STATE LAW [emphasis added].

      So! What does that sound like to you? Sounds like a “Declaration of War” to me. Sounds like the message they sent to California, intimidating voters, before we voted on Prop. 19. This time! – do they honestly and realistically think they’re going to enforce this memo without the slightest retaliation from We the People? If so – they should get real! Keep close recon on the DOJ’s killer robots. Now! It makes perfect sense why Michele Leonart [a true prohibitionist] was retained as the DEA’s enforcer. She will, with passion [totally absent compassion], “enforce.”

    6. Longtime Puffer says:

      Re 51

      Hey Reb, nice to hear from you again. Hope you and yours are well too. I have very loose plans to visit SF for the Cannibis Cup–we’ll see–probably won’t happen.

      As per #39′s comments, I’m bothered by the sheer cynicism. You can’t change things for the better if you’ve already given up. If everyone had that attitude, we’d still have liquor prohibition, 60-hour workweeks, no paid vacations, no vote for women and blacks, etc etc etc.

      And tho our govt is far from perfect, and has even gotten very weird, what with the patriot act, warrantless wiretapping and such, comparing us with a real dictatorship like that of Qaddafi’s is ridiculous. Anonymous should visit a country like that to see what oppression really looks like.

      And yes, I agree it’s great that you and I can have civil discussions tho we don’t agree all the time.
      (BTW, sorry about my latest tirade against tea partiers–I’ve never included you among them, lol).

    7. Nic says:

      Free people on this planet

      Demand Justice

    8. Nic says:

      54 Charles

      Amazing

      Thank You

      May GOD Bless You

      May you Eternally Be In The Light

      Heaven and Hell are in a blink of your eye,

    9. Rebel with a Cause says:

      56. Longtime Puffer

      Puff – I’ve been busy – and – this is what I came up with. I’m a registered Independent – but – a declared Individualist. I declare – my devotion to the Genesist Faith. All parties seek my favor and my vote – but – “my vote belongs to no one but me!” I have no more concern for Republicans than I have for Democrats. I am [as] strongly opposed to the abuses of capitalism [as] I am the abuses of socialism – and – there’s a plethora of corruption in both. What I have “sworn my allegiance to” [is] my God, my country [as] a republic, my Constitution , my freedom, and my conscience. These things I would defend with my oath, my honor, and my life. Anyone or anything that would attack these things I hold so dear – will face the consequences [the results of their actions]. This is an offer no prohibitionist can refuse. I couldn’t care less that it’s about cannabis, free speech, religion, freedom, or whatever – “it’s all about prohibition.” You can “tell” me what to do – you can deny me my “Sacrament” – but – I have a “Conscience Clause” – that prohibits me from obeying what you tell me I must do – “Prohibition is against my Faith , and my religious freedom, provided for in the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of American.”

      Have a super CDXX Communion.

    10. txGrandma420 says:

      He is right! The feds are protecting the interests of Big Pharma.

    11. The American Genesist says:

      Prohibitionists know the end is near.

      They know that they are now greatly out numbered, and can “no longer manipulate” We the American People – so – they’ve pulled out all the stops – and – have made it open season on cannabis and its users. How does it feel to be targeted and stalked by your own government. Boy! do they have a surprise coming! If you “drive an American into a corner” – they will come out swinging, reach down your throat, grab your asshole, and turn you inside out. Prohibitionists are just stupid enough to not get the message. Oh well! Deal with it.

    12. rts says:

      We agree with all comments promoting the RE-LEGALIZATION of marijuana! Thank you to any and all Congressmen and Senators who are finally speaking up for this RE-LEGALIZATION.
      Our question – what course of action do we take NOW to further along this mission? We’ve read about taking action on 4.20.11 at 4:20 – BUT WHAT ACTION? WHERE?

      We need to not only abolish the criminalization of marijuana in this country (USA)but also the rest of the world as well. The treaty that 160 countries were forced to sign by J. Edger Hover must also be abolished. All marijuana laws are based on lies told by Harry J. Anslinger, who was, for all intents and pur
      poses, the first drug czar. All the lies were told by Anslinger, supported by, amongst others, the Duponts’ to do away with canvas (made from hemp) so that their newly developed fabric, NYLON,would have no competition. I found this information and much more at very informative site that has an extremely comprehensive history of marijuana: drugwarrant.com/articles/why-is-marijuana-illegal/
      it’s worth reading.
      The laws concerning marijuana are discriminatory in their very nature as they were intended to target Mexicans and Blacks. And to change a law you must prove it to be discriminatory, unconstitutional, or is JUST NOT WORKING. And as we all know – these laws just don’t work.

    13. The American Genesist says:

      62. rts

      We’ve read about taking action on 4-20 @ 4:20 – BUT WHAT ACTION? WHERE?

      Although it would be ideal/great – not every individual can be in the same place – at the same time [a million in one]- but – every individual can be one place – at the same time [one in a million]. “Every individual can do something.”

      WHERE? – Where ever you personally think you’ll be “most effective” – in your representatives local office, on the computer, on the fax, on the phone, at a rally, basically “EVERY INDIVIDUAL” up someone’s nose. Where? – the choice is yours.

      WHAT ACTION? – Deliver our message.
      Question: Are you a prohibitionist against cannabis – yes or no?
      Reply: If no – I will work tirelessly and diligently to support you, and I pledge my vote. If yes – I will work tirelessly and diligently to defeat you, you have my promise.

      rts – Every individual can do something – and – can make a difference – if every individual stands as one – “AT THE SAME TIME. The 420 Invasion.

      Have a great CDXX Communion – and – 4-20 @ 4:20

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