Democrats in Congress may be taking the lead on marijuana reform, but Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, the Democrat who introduced a bill this week that would make the federal government treat marijuana the way it treats alcohol, says Republicans should see a lot to like in his bill.
First, there’s the appeal to fiscal conservatives. “Anybody who cares about the budget deficit needs to look at all potential sources of revenue,” Polis told Salon in an interview. Polis and fellow co-sponsor Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, estimate their proposal could raise $20 billion a year in new taxes on marijuana sales.
“I think it’s part of the overall budget fix that we need to balance the budget and restore fiscal integrity. This is an area where it turns it from a liability and a cost center, in terms of fighting the drug war, into a revenue source to help fund schools, to help close the budget deficit, and to help ensure that other programs don’t need to be cut as much,” Polis continued, sounding much liked a deficit hawk.
Then there’s the whole issue of states’ rights and local control. “Somebody can want to keep marijuana illegal in their state or in their county, but all this does is keep the federal government out of it and lets states and counties decide how to treat it within their borders. That’s really the focus of our effort,” he explained.
– Read the entire article at Salon Magazine.