DENVER (CBS4) – A Colorado congressman has introduced a bill to legalize pot at the federal level. The legislation comes as more states consider following Colorado’s lead.
Like Amendment 64, the federal legislation also calls for “regulating marijuana like alcohol.” U.S. Rep. Jared Polis of Boulder is hoping it will have the same success.
“It’s not saying that it’s perfectly safe. It’s just saying that it’s analogous to alcohol, meaning it has similar risks to what alcohol has,” Polis told CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd.
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His bill would set up a federal regulatory framework, but it would be up to individual states to legalize pot. It also protects states like Colorado from establishing a new industry only to see a new president dismantle it.
“All it would take is the president waking up on a different side of bed or different president, which we’re guaranteed to have in two years,” Polis said. “There could be mass arrests in Colorado.”
A separate bill would create a federal taxing scheme with an excise tax starting at 10 percent and going up as the legal market displaces the black market — something Polis says is already happening — although some local drug enforcement agents disagree.
It’s Polis’ second attempt to legalize pot, but this time he says he has more allies in Congress as more states consider legalization.
“They gain a sudden interest in working with me and other advocates in trying to reform our national marijuana laws and regulating marijuana like alcohol,” he said.
Alaska on Tuesday became the third U.S. state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults.