Colorado Dem: ‘A lot’ of lawmakers want drug law reforms

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, February 10, 2011 10:59 EDT
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Support for legalizing marijuana at the federal level is steadily increasing in Congress, according to a Democratic representative from Colorado.

“I find that a lot of members of Congress privately agree that we need to change our drug policy, they’re just still too timid or scared to come public with it,” Rep. Jared Polis said in an interview with the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

“We really have a growing group that support decriminalization at the federal level and changing the schedule of marijuana,” he added. “It’s not a majority yet, but it’s growing rather than shrinking.”

In an effort to pressure members of Congress to support controversial reforms, Polis launched the Fearless Campaign in January. The campaign seeks to “revolutionize our nation’s approach to six issues where special interests have blocked progress for too long: drug policy, education, food policy, immigration, internet freedom and LGBT equality.”

Polis was the first openly gay man elected to the House of Representatives as a freshman.

“I chose issues that are rarely and meekly talked about in the corridors of power, but that many mainstreet Americans care about,” he said. “As a member of Congress I have been disappointed that Congress hasn’t moved forward in these areas, and I hope that Fearless Campaign will lead to it doing so.”

During his YouTube Q&A in January, President Obama was asked what his plan is to help alleviate the detrimental effects of America’s drug war.

He responded by saying that while he’s not in favor of legalization, he did see room for adjusting the drug war to focus less on incarceration and enforcement and more on medical treatment and other forms of interdiction.

As a US Senator and candidate for president, Obama consistently said he was in favor of decriminalization of marijuana, but not outright legalization.

“I think the budgetary pressures – and there’s going to be cuts across the board in every area – do provide a good entry for discussion of decriminalization because not only do you have the savings from the reduced incarceration and the ability of law enforcement to focus on criminals rather than users of medical marijuana, you also have increased revenues from the taxation of the legal and regulated sale of marijuana,” Polis told NORML.

“It’s something that as we’re looking at this budget situation, it can actually reduce costs and increase income. I think that will be more desirable for most people in our country than having tax increases or having cuts in programs that they care about.”

“As long as [marijuana] remains illegal and as long as there is a market demand, the production will be driven underground,” Polis said on the House floor in December. “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.”

With prior reporting from Stephen C. Webster.

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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  • Anonymous

    What comes first, people out into the streets over high food prices, unemployment, etc. or creating tax revenue from pot? You mention “pot” laws and the sheeples think of people stealing from them to buy pot. First of all, you have to give the people a “pot” to piss in; then, tax the pot………….

  • Buford2k11

    Reefer Madness is a sickness that pervades the political scene. It is as hard to cure as Stupidity.

  • Anonymous

    the hill people are a bunch of chicken shits on this

  • http://smugmug.com/other/anoceanapart Maheanuu

    Nah, its better to keep it illegal and allow the Tabac companies their precious right to pass on an insidious poison that is also one of the most addictive toxins known to man. You let these sons of bitches get away with murder and allow them to use their advertising millions to addict even more of your young. I know very well the why’s and wherefore’s of both and having broken out of the addiction of Tabac after more than half a century of being addicted am positive that Pot, Marijuana is NOT harmful in the ordinary sense. I am not saying it should be for children, but for adults and used as medicines and other products, it should be totally legal and available….

    As long as the congress and senate are controlled by the corporations and churches, you will never see any laws passed that will make sense to the commons…..

  • Guest

    The madness is not “Reefer Madness” but raw corporate-owned governmental/political madness!
    It’s a fucking PLANT, people!!! Stay off the grass! Leave it alone! Don’t step on the grass, Sam!
    (Feel free to add your own here….)
    Hell, Congress, why not lobby to make tea illegal…because it’s a plant!

    Oh, the insanity of humanity!!!

  • theoldhippy

    My perfect candidate for President would have only have two planks in his platform:

    1. On the day I take office I will issue an Executive Order completely legalizing the possession and cultivation of cannabis and hemp.

    2. Also on the day I take office I will issue an Executive Order giving amnesty to all people currently serving sentences or awaiting trial for marijuana crimes.

    And if such a candidate were to appear it wouldn’t matter if they were D or R, black or white, male or female, religious or atheist. Whatever baggage they were toting, they would get my vote and at last count 51% of the nation’s vote.

    All my life I’ve heard that no candidate can prevail on a one plank platform, but in these times, that principle is null and void. This country is tired of the unending War on Drugs. It will never be won and has divided the country the way race and politics always have. It s time to heal the US and shut down the Prison Industrial Complex.

  • Anonymous

    At least someone has guts in that house of chickens!

  • enorceht

    i agree with #1 and #2, but i would also have to have a #3 to say they would have to sign a contract or oath that number #1 and #2 will actually be inacted or else the candidate (if he wins) will not be able to take office

    i’m just too old and too filled with broken “campaign” promises to believe that this would not just be campaing rhetoric

  • theoldhippy

    I agree on point #3. The only fear I have is that the DEA, CIA or FBI would kill the winner the way they killed JFK and Paul Wellstone. Those bastards would actually cause me to add #4 which would be to de-fund those entities also by Executive Order.

    Up the Revolution.

  • tehamawhiteneck

    If only those politicians that promote “less goverment” would get goverment out of our home, personal lives and secular lives. Oh yeah, anyone think that is going to happen soon? We are living in a religious dictatorship.

  • Guest

    WOW! I LOVE the concept of elected politicians having to sign a “contract” to follow-up on campaign promises. (O’bummer would be in DEEP shit!)

    enorceht, like you, I’m getting too old for some things too…like running for office. I sure wish some of the younger RAW regulars would take up the gauntlet and get in the game. THEN maybe we’d have some ACTUAL Progressives getting elected for a change.

  • Anonymous

    If weed is decriminalized something else will take it’s place. It always does.

  • Anonymous

    The sad thing to me is, I might finally be able to buy beer and wine on Sundays in Georgia very soon and I’ve lived here 15 years. The pipe dream of having something to fill my pipe seems a long way off.

  • Anonymous

    As more younger folk are elected to Congress, as more baby boomers move in and the old guard dies off we will begin to see changes.

  • Anonymous

    “a lot of members of Congress privately agree that we need to change our drug policy, they’re just still too timid or scared to come public with it”

    That’s where your notes to your President, Senator, and Representative can make a difference. Because it will just take a couple minutes, do it now through easy internet forms. Just google “Write my [President, Senator(s), Representative]. You will need your zip + 4 number to contact your Representative (easily). Tell them you’re OK with Medical Marijuana and not OK with the Federal Government sending thugs to terrorize US citizens.

  • Anonymous

    Sadly, Obama, the Clintons, and many, many Democratic Senators are of that age or younger and STILL rabidly against even State Approved Medical Marijuana. Because you can’t ASSUME, you must write them and demand that they represent you.

  • Anonymous

    It’s all of them that are the problem not just the Repugs.

  • http://www.rawstory.com/ Stumptownhero

    You know that there is light at the end of the tunnel when the Cato Institute is on the side of decriminalization. Read the following story on their study of the Portuguese experience!


  • Anonymous

    Ugh, just the mere fact that we have to deal with that crap here in Georgia chaps my hide. When will politicians stop dragging their religious beliefs into policies and regulations? You know the majority of the opposers are churches and other religious organizations.

    I also read in the paper recently that there were “mom-and-pop” liquor stores against opening up Sundays to alcohol purchases as well. They say that the cost of keeping their store open an extra day exceeds the profits they would make from an extra day of sales.

    I’ve got a solution for you morons. DON’T OPEN YOUR STORE ON SUNDAYS. Take a day off, go to church, or whatever the hell you feel like doing.

    Sorry, I know this was completely off-topic, but it pisses me off!

  • Anonymous

    Don’t apologize. Opinions obviously matter or FOX News wouldn’t exist.Prohibition comes in many forms and it’s all prohibition. The GOP claims to want to downsize government and lessen it’s impact on your lives. Yet they want to tell adults which recreational drugs you can use and when you can use them or govern over women’s bodies and reproductive rights or who you choose to spend your life with. It’s all intertwined and all a scam.

  • CozmicSeer

    One of those opponents that needs to be considered is the alcoholic beverage industry. They gave a lot of money to help defeat California’s Proposition for legalizing marijuana. Now if we could stop buying their product and tell them we won’t buy any more until they change their ways, I bet we’d see it legalized inside of 3 months. Course there would be some people having a tough time not being able to have a few beers or their choice of poison. Still, if we hit their bottom line hard enough, my bet is they would see the light at the end of that tunnel.

  • Anonymous

    Jeez. Imagine that Dems timid and scared. I never heard of such a thing. Oh yeah, wait a minute, that’s why the cowards got their asses handed to them in the last election.
    It’s why their base is deserting them, Independents don’t trust em, & why Republicans keep laughing at them saying, “I can’t believe they fell for our bullshit again!”

    Republicans are no heroes, but these spineless Democrats make me sick and are why I will sit out the next election too!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QMPOO3PZFN7XV2XZKCGSXXR3WM Joe Somebody

    Hmm.. if the Congress is too afraid to admit they have been liars all this time, can’t they at least reschedule it on the basis of “medical cannabis” in a way that let’s States deal with it? It removes the “blame” from Congress and lets States decide. .. giving us what we want without telling us they were wrong.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FONW6K3ZWV4BU4ZTCDCSZHHH6E Mick Jagger

    Duh! Our politicians are traitors though…look at The Patriot Act. They belong in jail. We should be doing what they’re doing in Egypt right NOW!

  • hegesias

    Well, they must not be getting those checks from Budweiser’s “Wholesale Beer Industry” lobby.

  • Anonymous

    Gonna save me money if we let people smoke pot? Hmm. Maybe I’m not so opposed after all.

  • Anonymous

    Drug laws are similar to family values in that everyone supports them publicly while at the same time having an affair, sitting in a restroom stall or hiring a rent boy (or smoking a joint). I just find the hypocrisy tiresome. Many people I know use it as a therapy for neurological and mental conditions, milder than what doctors prescribe.

  • Anonymous

    Prohibition is a threat to America and its future. We criminalize almost one million of our citizens every year for marijuana use. We allow our friendly police forces to bust our doors down and invade our homes looking for marijuana use. We also allow our friends to take the homes and properties, cash and sometimes even the children of marijuana users! Prohibition has turned our police forces into para-military goons who shoot our pets while our children watch…is this America? We were found on the principle that what a responsible adult chooses to do in the privacy of his home while harming no one else should never be the concern of our government! Crime needs a victim. Who suffers if someone uses pot in their home while the children are asleep? Where is the victim? Where is the crime? Therein is the threat. We have allowed fear and lies and big business back room deals to wholesale increase the police powers of this country. If the government can invade my home and take all my possessions and my kids because of such a flimsy madeup fear of a botanical herb such as marijuana then what is next? Police in my home. Police in my medicine cabinet. Police in my garden…what’s next? We live in a friggin POLICE STATE already! All over a plant that the latest science says is much safer than our beloved alcohol. Alcohol killed almost 30 of our children last year while away to college. Marijuana has never killed anyone. It is time for reason, fact and science to set policy for the legalization of marijuana. Give America a choice.

  • Knot

    That’s why I grow and store catnip. Just in case it’s next, I’ll have a leg up in the game.

  • Anonymous

    People need to quit whining with their hand out. Jobs and wealth are created by people going out to work, not by redistributing money from the rich to the poor. What do you think will happen if you tax the rich to feed the poor until there aren’t anymore rich people? How will the helpless poor eat when that happens? Try teaching the people how to fish.

    Who the heck ever went out to steal to get a bag of pot except for a professional thief? I.e. the guy who steals to pay for his groceries, his house, his doctor’s bill, to pay all of his bills?

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, it’s too bad the Supreme Court would stay #1 before the ink on his signature would be dry. That’s not within the President’s Constitutional powers.

    #2 would pass legal muster but he’d be issuing a pardon, not an executive order. See what Jimmy Carter did in 1977 for the people who refused to cooperate with the travesty of the Vietnam police action and moved to Canada to avoid being forced to be a pawn in Mr. Nixon’s deranged game.

    Indeed, arrests would stop within a week if the President issued a blanket pardon every day. Unfortunately impeachment would likely be finished within a month so make sure the VP is on board to continue for another month.

    Let’s try to stick to realistic possibilities.

  • Anonymous

    What was it that Forrest Gump always said? “Clueless is as clueless does” or something to that effect.

  • Anonymous

    quote—-> “The sad thing to me is, I might finally be able to buy beer and wine on Sundays in Georgia very soon…” “”They pop up every now and then. People want to make a little extra money,” Ware said. “They’ll buy beers and then sell it for two or three times more.

    In early November, three people were arrested and accused of selling alcohol illegally out of a home on Brown Street. The suspects allegedly were selling beer, wine, mixed drinks and shots of moonshine.

    There was also a buffet and a stripper pole set up at the house, Ware said.” <— endquote
    from: http://www.gainesvilletimes.com/section/6/article/43767/

    Where they still have the idiocy of drinking alcohol prohibition bootlegging leads to murder, rape, kidnapping, torture and impersonation of police oaficers. Why would we want to risk stripper poles and illegal buffets when we can have that lovely way of life?

    These reports were published in 2011, not 1930:




  • Anonymous

    No need to single out obama, they ALL break their campaign promises.

  • Anonymous

    I favor de-criminalizing it for small quantities and even home growing, but would keep it illegal for minors and for large quantities that could be presumed intended for sale. That’s what most EU countries do and it seems to work. Find out what works somewhere else and copy that. We keep reinventing the wheel but making it square every time because of our completely unjustified overblown ego. Want to see how to really fuck things up? Look at the 8 bush years.

  • Iconoclasm

    I MUST again ask this question which no one can answer, they instead attack the messenger:

    If I have no natural born (or God given) authority to command you, and you have no natural born (or God given) authority to command me, then how do two people combine their NON EXISTENT authority and command anyone? Zero authority + zero authority = ZERO AUTHORITY!

    Furthermore, what gave anyone the right to make marijuana illegal? The illegality was based on fraud via the Hearst and Dupont empires in the 1930′s. Here is the story that tells all about marijuana and Hemp and it is quite an eyeopener. Pass it around:


    Oh, and about taxing it. Taxation is just a euphemism for ARMED ROBBERY! What gives anyone the right to vote on taxation? In fact, what gives anyone the right to vote at all? Voting is a criminal act whenever it infringes upon another person.

    How many men does it take to vote the panties of your unwilling wife, daughter, sister or mother? If enough vote does that make it okay?

    Please answer these questions and try not to let your total indoctrinations and/or brainwashing shine through too brightly!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FRHVHDAEGMWTNUSYM7X2WSURKU russell

    Have you forgotten that our tax dollars have been given to the wealthy in the form of subsidies? Did you know that factories here get tax dollars to open plants in other countries and shutter plants here? Duncan, my guess is that you are a “I’ve got mine, forget you” kind of human. Neither christian nor pro American! Your way of life is that you think EVERYONE has the same opportunities as you and that is just totally false. My guess is you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth and you think everyone else was to. Your way of the “strong survive and ther weak fall” is borderline barbarianism. It’s called “evolution”…I though you clowns didnt believe in “evolution”…..

  • tz

    Your opener paragraph is a brainwashed repeating of a right wing talking (shall we say propaganda) point.
    Tell that to a worker at Wal Mart.
    Is wealth not created by people doing work? Does the uppermost moneyed classes really do all the work themselves to create their wealth independent of the rest of society? Not! They game those who labor under them via tax codes, laws, economic extortion ,and other methods.
    A housekeeper is a more noble human being to my mind than a Donald Trump kind of man.

  • Anonymous

    “Try teaching the people how to fish.”

    And the massive failing of the commons to understand how the game is rigged to begin with, is the core problem. Yes, we should teach people how to fish.. so they go and fish at the only place available, a place owned by 1 person who’s family happened to settle in the area 250 years ago and staked a claim to all the water within 100 miles. 250 years ago, no one cared because there were only 4 million people in the country… now there’s 100 times that, and the area around the lake/water supply has inhabitants… so the guy, who through nothing but dumb luck, who owns the lake makes you give HIM 1/3 of all fish you catch for access to HIS lake. Sure, you taught the poor to fish, and now he fishes.. and the guy you won’t tax, the rich guy who owns the lake, gets richer and richer having an abundance of fish to sell/trade for goods, from say his buddy that owns a forest and collects 1/3 of all meat hunted there. Pretty sweet deal for those guys, but the poor are basically slaves to them.

    And, what then, if the guy that owns the lake decides certain people just aren’t allowed to fish there? What do those folks do for food? Move to the forest and hunt? And if the rich buddies conspire to prevent that person from accessing either location?

    Though, I know I’m wasting my time. You’re not an educated person who’s contemplated all of these things. You’ve not bothered to actually look at “solving any problems”, but you sure have a lot of ideas you want to toss out there. Every single one results the same way… you get to abuse others to have a better lot in life, and fuckall to everyone else, right? And at the same time, you screech about those “professional thieves!” while you assure they have no other options to survive with.

  • Anonymous


    You keep asking and you keep getting an answer, but you don’t like the answer so you ignore it and pretend like you only get insults heaped on you. Since you’re completely unwilling to even try to comprehend what it means/requires to exist in a civil society, there’s no point in trying to explain it all again. … and again and again and again..

  • Iconoclasm

    Sorry, but I must have missed that one! I would not ignore the response, I would point out where it would CLEARLY be wrong!
    Civil society you say? Hmmmm, would that be the same society that locks up people for “non-violent” drug offenses? The same society that allows full grown men in riot gear fully armed to the teeth to invade people homes routinely? The same society that invades other countries without provocation?

    I am directing the questions TO YOU to respond to. I want you to demonstrate where my statements are wrong.?

    The 13th Amendment states that there will be no involuntary servitude. I want you to tell me when and why you volunteered into your own “citizenry” and prove that I did the same, knowingly, intelligently and VOLUNTARILY!!!

    Have at it, Meanwhile I’ll be ROTFLHAY!!!

  • Anonymous

    I know someone who does IT work for the DEA. They are expanding their system in a big way. The agents are tested and lie-detected. Their talk around the break table has to do with keeping their arrest and crime numbers up. We are not going to see legal pot in the next 25 years so quit putting your energy into it. This dialog from the Dems is a way to get votes from those of us on the left who are looking for something to get better in some way. Like ending the War and the endless number of fortresses we support around the world, the Military is not going to let go of it’s cash cow and neither is the DEA.

    We are owned and controlled by the Coporations. There is not one thing that has turned around and is now based in a Constitutional protection. Get in line, go to church, take some pharma drug if you want to get high, and blame your plight on the Mexicans or the Moslems. That is the American way.

    For all the righties who have already signed on to the correct thinking, I was just in a small agri town in Cali. The largest grocery store there is Vallarta. It was filled with Mexicans, the signs are in Spanish and the announcements were also in Spanish. There is a large food court filled with families and kids. The meat and produce sections were full and well stocked with a variety of food. The parking lot had lots of new cars and trucks and the whole feeling of the place was happy and community.

    When I got home and went to the grocery store in my mainly white community it was obvious where the quality of life was better. The white formally middle class people are sour and depressed, less selection on the shelves and fewer new cars in the parking lot. Yet they are sure that the still are living in the pre-Raygun era of opportunity, education and quality of life.

    The point is that the corporations are using the US citizens for their military enforcement around the world and our land is to be used for growing crops to be sold around the world. The New World Order is not in the least bit concerned with personal rights of the US Citizen and who used to be the leader of the free world. The only thing that is free now is trade and we gave our soverienty away. Go against them and you will get to spend some time in the holding complexes that have already been built and there are guards and support mechanisms waiting to go to work.