Openly gay Rep. Jared Polis today introduced a House bill that would decriminalize the possession of marijuana and allow states to collect taxes on legal sales.
Polis said he expects his measure could draw bipartisan support from fellow Democrats and from Republicans, especially those with Libertarian leanings. “The more states lead the way, the more pressure it puts on Congress to recognize that the drug war has failed policies,” Polis said. Polis’ act would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act; transfer the DEA’s authority over marijuana to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, which would be tasked with regulating marijuana like it does alcohol; and require marijuana producers to purchase a permit. States could choose to continue to outlaw marijuana production or use of the drug in their states, and it would be illegal to transport marijuana to a state where it’s not legal. Boulder attorney Jeff Gard, who has represented several medical marijuana businesses, said he will be traveling to Washington, D.C., in coming weeks to advocate for Polis’ legislation.
Voters in Polis’ home state of Colorado voted in November to legalize personal use of marijuana.