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December 10, 2010 02:50 AM UTC

Polis: Legalize Marijuana

  • 22 Comments
  • by: Phoenix Rising

In a debate on the merits of HR1540, a resolution declaring that growing Marijuana on Federal lands is an “unacceptable threat to law enforcement and to the public,” our own Rep. Jared Polis spoke up (h/t Raw Story):

“I have no doubt that marijuana plantations, as the resolution states, pose a threat to the environmental health of Federal lands, that drug traffickers spray unregulated chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers, but I submit that the best way to address that is to incorporate this into a meaningful and enforceable agricultural policy for the country with regard to the regulatory structure for the production of marijuana,” Rep. Jared Polis said.

“As long as [marijuana] remains illegal and as long as there is a market demand, the production will be driven underground,” he continued. “No matter how much we throw at enforcement, it will continue to be a threat not only to our Federal lands, but to our border security and to our safety within our country.”

I’d like to extend a hearty thanks to Rep. Polis for pointing out to some apparently single-track thinkers what we knew in 1933 when we repealed Prohibition: making something illegal won’t remove the demand for an item, it will just drive it underground where it will fuel the profits of criminal enterprises.

Also quoted in the article, former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders:

I think we consume far more dangerous drugs that are legal: cigarette smoking, nicotine and alcohol […]  I feel they cause much more devastating effects physically. We need to lift the prohibition on marijuana.

As Colorado Pols pointed out the other day, Colorado is making millions on just the quasi-legalization of pot in this state, while moving growth of the weed away from the control of the drug cartels.  Time to finish the job rather then throwing more money down the rabbit hole of enforcement and punishment.  

Comments

22 thoughts on “Polis: Legalize Marijuana

      1. To do whatever you damn well please.

        These statements coming from anyone without a (D-Boulder) after their name would probably be followed by political Seppuku.

    1. I think you get a bigger fine in Boulder for smoking a cigarette in the wrong place than smoking a joint. But I’m not complaining.

      Of course Polis is right. The clandestine cultivation of marijuana on federal lands is a serious environmental problem.

      The San Luis Valley I think would be perfect for commercial cultivation and would be an economic boost to the area. With the abundant sunshine, solar panels could produce the needed electricity in situ so there’s no transmission issues. The water is there – some water now used for crops would simply be used for a crop of much higher value, and there are huge aquifers in the San Luis. Energy self sufficient and environmentally compliant farms that would dramatically boost the economic wealth ( by shift-share) of the San Luis Valley (one of the poorest areas in Colorado with a low per capita income)  is a no brainer.

      But then that’s the problem, the brains aren’t there to figure this out.  

    2. crosses party lines RSB. Many Libertarians in the Republican party are all for legalization. I believe it is the same crowd it was and has been all along who want us to wage war against it, the holy-roller moralizers who want to tell everyone else what they can do for recreation and pleasure.

      1. I can’t think of another seat besides DeGette’s where this kind of position wouldn’t do any damage.

        The Libertarian-thinking Republicans are few and far between–at least on drug policy–and very few, if any, of them are sitting US Congressional Reps.

        1. because I completely disagree with your assessment.

          I think there are definitely a lot of moralizers to be sure. But I think the tide has well turned on this issue. It has been over ten years since we legalized medical marijuana with a referendum passing our constitutional amendment. I think the popularity of legalization, or at least the recognition of the abject failure of the war against marijuana, has only grown since then.

          Oh, and I’m glad you’re still willing to engage me in discussion. I didn’t want our last exchange to be our last exchange because I do respect your views which is why I like to sound them out…

          1. I agree with you that public opinion has swayed significantly since Amendment 20 was passed. Back then, it was only through calling it medical marijuana for people with debilitating illnesses that it was legalized at all. Since then, it has been severely decriminalized, and the polling has been pretty clearly trending toward public support of full legalization.

            Where it starts to get troublesome for politicians supporting full legalization like Polis, is when the law enforcement PACs and 527s start getting control of the message during a campaign.

            Take California’s recent legalization ballot proposition. At first, it was polling great. People were tired of the system of pseudo-legalization under the MMJ law they passed before we passed ours here. But then the law enforcement groups started running scare tactic ads that totally swayed the polls back in the direction of the status quo.

            It’s not that dangerous politically in the hypothetical post-election world we’re living in right now. But take that position in the midst of a tough campaign, or at any time during an election year, and if you’re not in a reliably safe seat, expect those groups to hammer you constantly through direct mail–and if you’re in Congress, then most likely TV and radio ads as well. Those ads tend to sway public opinion away from logical reform, and into fear of the marijuana bogeyman.

            1. the MMJ industry, flush with HUGE amounts of cash, maybe they can counter those 527s and PACs with their own direct mail campaigns and sway opinion back towards sanity.

              It is time for this change and it is a pretty easy argument to make in favor of legalization. The strong negatives associated with the criminalization of this are too many and too powerful (overflowing prisons, destroyed communities, exorbitant costs to fight the war, etc, etc) not be be persuasive if the message is hammered hone the way the law and order crowd does.

              Tax it, regulate it, license the sellers and producers of it. There are enormous public revenues upsides as well in favor of legalization and I think society is ready for this.

              PS

              Public opinion (at least as expressed in polls and elections) is so fickle. It seems to be pretty easy to convince people to change their minds and vote against that which they so strongly supported just a short time ago…

              1. Not sure I would want to have them be in charge. Some of them (WLJ for example) are real businesspeople who are taking advantage of a burgeoning market. Plenty of others are funded directly by laundered money and organized crime. That’s not exactly who I want on my side.

                I think a better way of doing this would be to get the law enforcement officials on the side of reason and sanity. The more people from that area you can get on board, the more legitimate the legalization effort would be.

                Though it is still an uphill battle, Jared Polis is a great advocate, and the more mainstream leaders we can get on board, the more likely it is for law enforcement to want to find a middle ground.

                1. They can afford the best!!!

                  🙂

                  And law enforcement should be easy to persuade as the issue relates directly to their favorite one- gun control. Tie those two together in their minds and watch them start to lobby for legalization.

              2. pales in comparision to the “law enforcement” lobby — “security” equipment manufacturers, drug testing concerns, surveilance manufacturers, property forfeiture monies, etc., etc. — and their HUGE PILES of cash.

  1. Our phones have not stopped ringing.  The calls and emails from all over America are overwhelming. Our new business Simply Pure is taking off.  http://www.simplypure.com

    You can like this or hate it.  Doesn’t matter.  It is larger than I could have imagined 10 years ago.  

    The phone calls and emails are everything thing from people begging us to help bring medicinal MMJ to states that don’t allow it, the stories are heart felt.

    The other 50% of calls has been from business people who are more than open to this industry.  Some of the business people are names you would recognize on the national level.

    Those of you who are not involved in this industry you have no idea how big it is.  You have no idea how accepted this is.  I have not had one negative comment. All I get is comments about how great this is.  

    The sad thing is all the politicians that support this, but are too afraid to come out for it.  My favorite Congressman is the only one who has no fear.  And he will be rewarded with massive support.

    The National Cannabis Industry Association is launching at KushCon next week.  High-end business people creating Cannabis lobby in DC that will be well funded.

    BTW, KUSHCON II is coming to the convention center next week.  I am heading up PR for it.  Over 300,000 sq. ft. and over 450 vendors from all over America. Performances by the Flotbots, Dirty Heads, Aaron Lewis, War, Santana’s lead singer and we are giving away a 28ft GrowBot, a plug in complete hydro grow trailer!  Go to http://www.kushcon.com to see it all unfold.

  2. As are many others on this site who have advocated for legalization.

    The first, and biggest roadblock, is that marijuana is a schedule I drug. Nothing productive or responsible can happen until the feds list marijuana at a lower level.

    Grow operations on public lands are horrible and dangerous. A state by state approach to legalization achieves a patchwork of various laws, all in conflict with the feds until marijuana isn’t schedule I anymore.

    The most direct and simple way of making a significant step towards legalization, which should be done, is to advocate for the feds to lower the classification of marijuana in the  Controlled Substance Act.

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