DENVER (CBS4) – A Denver dispensary owner says he’s happy to hear that a Congressman from Colorado is leading a charge to legalize pot nationwide.
Rep. Jared Polis was set to introduce a new bill in Washington on Tuesday that would allow states to legalize marijuana and establish a federal marijuana tax. Polis admits it could be years before any changes to federal marijuana laws are agreed on in Congress, but he says the time for change is now.
Under Polis’ bill — which was also being introduced by fellow Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon — marijuana would be regulated in a similar way to how alcohol would be regulated. Marijuana growers would have to get a federal permit, and enforcement of the drug would move from the DEA to the ATF, which would be renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms.
“Clearly the states have moved forward on their own, it’s time for the federal government to catch up,” said Polis in a phone interview with CBS4. Colorado and Washington passed laws in 2012 legalizing marijuana for adults.
Medical marijuana dispensary owner Steve Horwitz spoke to CBS4 on Monday and said Polis’ plan would make it easier for his business to get a bank account and to deduct business expenses on his federal taxes.
“It will make this more like a legitimate business. We’ll be able to write off the things we should be able to write off,” said Horwitz, owner of Ganja Gourmet on Broadway.
“I think Congressman Polis is fantastic and this is what we need,” said Horwitz.
Polis told CBS4 he thinks the country’s War on Drugs has failed when it comes to marijuana.
“It’s time to start saving all that money rather than throwing it out the door,” said Polis, who thinks the money could be used for public health issues, reducing the deficit and school construction.
Polis says his bill has bipartisan support.