United States Congressman Jared Polis, a Democrat representing Coloradoâ€™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.
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.
We look forward to seeing you in Denver.