If the feds want to crack down on businesses or consumers who are complying with Colorado’s marijuana laws, they’re going to have to do it without any help from the state. That’s the stance of a Democratic congressman who is running for governor in 2018.
“I will push back on any federal effort to interfere with our laws and not share information if it’s not related to a criminal investigation under our own law or ordered by a court,” Congressman Jared Polis said on Monday. “The federal government has very limited law enforcement resources in the states, most of law enforcement is in the hands of cities, counties, and the state and so as long as we don’t cooperate it would be hard, almost impossible, for there to be a major federal-only enforcement action.”
Polis, who has been one of the leading voices in Congress for cannabis law reform in recent years, is giving up his seat for a shot at being elected his state’s next governor next year. But in the meantime, he’s still fighting on Capitol Hill to try to scale back federal interference with the cannabis laws of his state and others.
Noting that a current budget rider prevents the U.S. Department of Justice from spending money to undermine state medical cannabis policies, Polis said he’s working with colleagues to get it extended into next year.
“I plan to offer it as an amendment if it’s not included [in the base Fiscal Year 2018 spending bill] and will do everything I can to get it included,” he said in a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” session on. “This restriction on funding being used to contravene state medical marijuana laws has passed Congress before and would probably pass by even more now if we can GET IT TO A VOTE!”
The problem is that House Republican leaders have in recent years blocked the measure and other marijuana amendments from even being considered for floor votes.
Also in the Reddit thread, Polis talked about the impact of Colorado’s marijuana legalization law that voters approved in 2012.
“Overall a POSITIVE,” he said. “I supported Amendment 64 and I think that it not only generates tax revenues, creates jobs but also helps drive the criminal cartels out of business!”
When asked if he saw any negatives to the state ending cannabis prohibition, Polis said, “I don’t see a lot of downsides to it being legal, I think it’s important that we do more work to reduce driving under the influence of any drug or alcohol, and that we try to prevent kids from using marijuana.”
New federal data released last week found that youth cannabis use is declining in Colorado since legalization.
Photo courtesy of Polis For Colorado.