Congressman Jared Polis: "Just as The Policy of Prohibition Failed Nationally With Alcohol – It's Now Up To States And Counties – I Think We Should Do The Same With Marijuana"

United States Congressman Jared Polis, a Democrat representing Colorado’s second congressional district, is quickly establishing himself as one of the most outspoken federal critics of marijuana prohibition. This week he appeared on CBS’s Political Hotseat to discuss the success of Colorado’s medical marijuana law, and the futility of federal marijuana prohibition.

Rep. Jared Polis: Federal government shouldn’t be banning marijuana
via CBS News
Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis said Wednesday that the federal government should not be in the business of regulating marijuana use by Americans.
“I don’t see a federal role,” he said in a “Washington Unplugged” interview, noting that his state is among those that allow medical marijuana use. (There is also a push in Colorado for full legalization.) “I don’t think that the federal side should be coming in and second guessing what states are doing.”
“Just as the policy of prohibition failed nationally with alcohol – it’s now up to states and counties – I think we should do the same with marijuana,” he said.
… Polis said it’s apparent that “we are not winning the drug war,” pointing to increased drug abuse and the flow of drugs across the southern border from criminal cartels.
“Drug abuse is fundamentally a medical issue, a health issue, more than a criminal issue,” he said.
The lawmaker asked people to ask themselves how they would want someone close to them to be treated if they were struggling with drug abuse.
“Do you think that person would have been better served by being in jail for several years or getting the help they needed to end their chemical dependency?” he asked.
Polis also pointed to a recent study finding that marijuana is already a $1.7 billion industry.
“It’s already created thousands of jobs in Colorado, several millions dollars of tax revenue – I really think that’s just the tip of the iceberg with regard to the potential of the industry in terms of job creation, revenue creation for the government,” he said.

You can watch multiple video clips from Polis’ interview here.
Like what you hear? You can hear more from Rep. Polis at NORML’s upcoming national conference, April 21 through April 23 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Denver, Colorado. Congressman Polis is this year’s Conference keynote speaker and will deliver Saturday’s luncheon lecture.
You can learn more about this year’s NORML Conference agenda and social events online here. Conference registration information is online here.
We look forward to seeing you in Denver.

79 thoughts

  1. I am from Boulder, meaning Jared Polis is my Congressman. I couldn’t be more proud! This man is going to help us win this debate and ultimately end the prohibition of cannabis. Hang in there, Congressman! Keep fighting, because your constituents are rooting for you!

  2. Prohibition has never succeeded, but instead of realizing that and progressing with a new approach that could actually target the concerns that the government has, they hide behind a blanket a.k.a. prohibition. Its time to take the blanket off, face the facts and the truth, and deal with it properly. No more games, no more lives cut off because of ignorance. End prohibition!!!!!

  3. ONLY 12 DAYS UNTIL 4-20 @ 4:20
    You say – you want – “A Million Man March.” Here’s your million! Wouldn’t it be a sufficient number to conduct a simultaneous “The 420 Invasion” – April 20, 2011 at 4:20 p.m. – “NATIONAL HEMP DAY.” This is what happens when every single Genesist in – 3141 Genesist Colonies – clones themselves with one other – and – each of them do the same – in others who share the same belief..
    1. 1 + 1 = 2 “That’s two of us.”
    2. 2 + 2 = 4
    3. 4 + 4 = 8
    4. 8 + 8 = 16
    5. 16 + 16 = 32
    6. 32 + 32 = 64
    7. 64 + 64 = 128
    8. 128 + 128 = 256
    9. 256 + 256 = 512
    10. 512 + 512 = 1,024
    11. 1,024 + 1,024 = 2,048
    12. 2,048 + 2,048 = 4,096
    13. 4,096 + 4,096 = 8,192
    14. 8,192 + 8,192 = 16,384
    15.16,384 + 16,384 = 32,768
    16.32,768 + 32,768 = 65,536
    17.65,536 + 65,536 = 131,072
    18.131,072 + 131,072 = 262,144
    19.262,144 + 262,144 = 524,288
    20.524,288 + 524,288 = 1,048,760
    “That’s 1,048,760of us.”

  4. Jared Polis for pres. whare are all the rest of the true representives of the pepole. Its about time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. thank you Congressman Polis, your forthright honesty in dealing with cannabis is much appreciated. just wished you represented my state.

  6. We need to start “Branding” our position and keep it historically accurate. We need to immediately and continuously call it “RE-Legalization”!
    The other side knows how to brand their argument and they are on the wrong side of the issue and history.
    Calling it Re-Legalization will even prompt some to actually look up the facts.

  7. I completely agree with Polis. I just hope they don’t regulate marijuana like they do liquor. If they regulate it like alcohol can we expect to be jailed like boot leggers if we grow it ourselves? That is what concerns me the most.

  8. Really good to see some positve media input concerning mj.I live in Marijuana Mad Montana. Where our Gov. sits with a repeal bill to stop mdmj. on his desk waiting to be signed.It has been an all out war against it here.With some low down sneaky abuse of power.Useing the media,children and the Feds to try and make a mockery of the medical marijuana.Taking away a 62% of what the people voted for.I am a patient with very serious spinal injury and all this talk has made my condition worse.If I am to be forced to stop I will probably die in jail.

  9. Jared Polis rocks. He also does a lot of good work with non profit organizations in CO. I personally have seen the donations (computers and computer services) in play making a difference. He’s been brave and honest when talking about cannabis and I’m so grateful to have a representative that is actually speaking some sense. Wish I had the extra cash to get into the NORML conference and hear that speech, but alas I’m doing the student thing on a tight budget.
    I hope that more rep’s start following Jared’s lead. We need more people speaking out on this issue to represent the millions of cannabis users who are being unjustly persecuted.

  10. I love how politicians always talk about sending the wrong message to kids. What about doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results? Isn’t that both the definition of insanity and what we’re doing in the drug war? Are we teaching kids to be crazy by keeping marijuana ILLEGAL?

  11. All this bullshit is bringing the “Kick Ass American” out of me. Don’t fuckin’ tread on me. If prohibs think that they’re going to violate my Constitutional right to “have my God and my God’s Sacrament” – or my freedom – they’re severely brain damaged – and – should be institutionalized immediately.
    “Prohibitionist’s actions and words speak loudly for the essence of their souls.”
    So! – now we know with certainty [what] prohibs are made of – the content of their character. They are absent character and unmoved by the suffering of others. God have mercy on what little, if any, soul they have left – or – are their souls too far gone to receive mercy. Reality says – the only mercy they deserve, after so disgracing we the people, is to allow them to quietly leave the office we placed them in – with their skin intact – because – prohibs souls are missing in action (MIA) – more likely absent without leave (AWOL). Reflecting on the emotions of all their victims – if they leave with their “heads hung in shame” – without a kind word for the results of their vile actions – that will be too good for them. As far as political correctness is concerned – I am as politically correct as can be.

  12. How you donate to Congressman Jared Polis reelection campaign? I will gladly donate to help him get reelected. He is a champion of the people against an intrusive Federal Government and the DEA who violate our states rights.

  13. I too am proud to live in Colorado. I feel I live in a marijuana paradise. It seems like everyone smokes marijuana, and there are head shops and grow shops all over. And it does not feel like the cops are out to bust you for weed. It feels like the cops are our friends. I can visit any number of dispensaries close to my home and get a variety of strains, hash, edibles… We just had the first Medical Cannabis Cup earlier this month, and we have other marijuana events throughout the year like Kushcon. I feel Colorado is leading the world of legal cannabis and politicians like Jared Polis are the FUTURE.

  14. @Stengel
    Re-legalize is an awesome term and would spark interest in those who are intellectually inquisitive.
    They are the only chance we have… the rest are too stupid to understand the truth, or too intolerant of us as a group to give the truth a chance.
    The DEA is not ignorant of the truth… They just hate you. They do not believe they should have to tolerate your (our) behavior and are going to impose their will on you no matter what facts you show them.
    The DEA/ONDCP is not going to solve this and should be ignored. Congress, the President and US Attorney General all individually have the power to reschedule. They should be targeted accordingly imo.
    There are so many reasons to legalize I think it makes us sound like nutjobs to alot of people. KISS right?
    It should be legal because the government can’t tell me what I can put in my body any more then they can what I put in my mind.
    Makes sense to me.

    Potimism-[pot-uh-miz-uhm]- noun
    . The belief that marijuana will become legal no matter how unlikely it seems and there are positive ways around the excuses people give saying it can’t be legal.

  16. we have heard all this before. when will words become action and not in another 10 years but NOW!!!politicians know how to play us pot people for votes.but we don’t care about their hidden agenda we want what we want and we want it NOW!!LEGALIZE!!

  17. Ok I’m thinking that more pols are going to start lining up behind the brave like G Johnson n J Polis and we all need to feel good about that. I wonder what the Trumps position on canabis is. Cause if he really wants to make america great again then true freedom n common sense needs to return to US.

  18. @25 – Trump believes that marijuana should be legalized and taxed. So – if we get the chance, he is clearly someone we should consider making our next President!
    Generally speaking, he makes a lot of sense on a variety of national issues – especially when compared to the average Republican politicians currently in office.

  19. What “totally amazes me” is how prohibs have prevailed for so long with so little logic and reason. It also “amazes me” that prohibs don’t collapse under the weight of their own arrogance. What really pisses me off is how they manipulate science to fit their political agenda. Evil will always prevail when good people do nothing. Do something on 4-20 @ 4:20 – it’s only 10 days away.

  20. 9. Stengel.
    21. Chris in WI.
    To all Genesists.
    Re-legalization is exactly what we are pushing for – so! – why call a diamond a piece of glass. Give it a lesser status – and – you get a lesser result. Come on ya’ll – let’s give cannabis the respect it deserves.
    4-20 @ 4:20 “Re-legalize.”

  21. Jared Polis……… what !
    I’m twice as smart as him and i say legalize Cannabis and i don’t get even close to the same media coverage as, Mr. Polis . Is he suppossed to be better than everyone ?

  22. 30. Anonymous
    If your post is any indication of how smart you are – I’d say – the only thing “smart” about you is your “ass” – which you have shown to be “dumb” – and – that makes you “twice as smart” as yourself – but – you do have a perfectly good right to your opinion.

  23. @30 – Mr. Polis probably is better than you! You must be seriously weighed down by your arrogance!

  24. “Jared Polis……… what !
    I’m twice as smart as him and i say legalize Cannabis and i don’t get even close to the same media coverage as, Mr. Polis . Is he suppossed to be better than everyone ?”
    no he is not smarter or better, but he is an elected official in Washington and a decent human being. If you want to help him get this done, get elected to some kind of public office, like police chief, DA, Sheriff, congress, senate, president.

  25. Historically, prohibition has never worked since in the Garden of Eden – the ultimate authority (God) prohibited a Forbidden Fruit with threat of the highest penalty (Death) and his prohibition empowered Satan to have influence over man. Those who advocate for prohibition now are committing the sin of empowering Satan here on Earth. The sin of prohibition must end.

  26. The Feds are interested in only one thing. Profit. If they didn’t profit from prohibition, they wouldn’t want anything to do with it. It’s that simple. End the FED. After the FED is gone, things in America will start to make sense again.

  27. The FED will consider legalization only when they’ve secured a system to Profit from it’s legalization. They are trying to do that right now as I type this. So give the dum dums a little more time! They have agents out in CA right now, buying strains from growers! They want to control the industry! Once they control it, they will support legalization in full. I promise.

  28. 35. Duane Grindstaff
    Being the omniscience God that he is – perhaps God knew that Satin concealed himself in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil – that’s the evil part of good and evil – and – that’s why God prohibited/commanded his creation “not to touch it or they would die.” Death did not mean “immediate death” – it meant the loss of innocence, eternity, and eviction from the garden – remember his creation could eat of the Tree of Life. It meant that God would introduce his creation to time/life – which they would run out of, in death. Anyway – no more eternity only life as we know it today. But you’re so right! –
    prohibition has never been successful – that’s because God gave us “free will” – just ask God. Now – evil wants to take our “free will” away from us again.
    Have a great CDXX Communion.

  29. Re ; #33 & your comment(s) .
    It doesn’t matter if your the Sheriff,Member of Congress, Rocket scientist, Doctor, illegalization is here to stay . You mean you haven’t figured that out ? Your Country ( America ) is exactly like Gaddafi of Libya. It’s his way not the peoples way . Don’t like it and I’ll imprison you and some of you will be killed . There’s not much difference from a dictatorship in America than any other Country ruled by a Dictator .
    DB – California

  30. Thank you ever so much, Representative Polis.
    A few federal politicians from New York state need to step up to the media to announce their support, and draft some legalization legislation with him. Co-sponsor something with the man already. Why? Because when NYC wants to have medical cannabis outlets the debate moves forward. and when NYC stops arresting for cannabis there is also room for movement to outright legalize cannabis for recreational use. If orchestrated well the objectives should be to obviate a crackdown on the DC medical cannabis outlets due to go into effect this April 15.

  31. Mr. Polis’s opinion is no better than the next person who advocates legalization of Marijuana .
    [Editor’s note: Wrong. Polis is a member of an exclusive 435 member ‘club’ called Congress, the political body that created Cannabis Prohibition and some day soon will have to vote to end the failed policy. Therefore, his opinion matters more than most in fact.]

    Only 9 days until 4-20 @ 4:20 – National Hemp Day. Frankly speaking – we ought to create a national referendum to make National Hemp Day a “national holiday.” But – until we can do that – “We must defend the garden” against all trespassers and invaders. We’ve got to tear down the yellow crime zone tape that surrounds it, and stand guard at its entrance. We’ve got to defend our freedom – which we are being denied. We’ve got to use it [freedom] or lose it!

  33. Prohibitionist debunkers have worked tirelessly and diligently to villainize cannabis as a matter of science and faith. So! my question to the American backbone is – “Just how long are we going to allow ourselves to be continually ‘lied to and abused’ by ruthless prohib dominators. Not one more f’n minute! Prohibitionists are rotten to the core – and – it’s time for them to receive their just rewards, or in this case punishment – consequence – the results of their actions.

  34. ……and Pharmaceutical & alcohol through lies and deception is telling us
    ” it’s about the Children “when it comes to Marijuana & thanks to them ” it’s the Children ” they should be concerned about .They are truly the Devil themselves with all their lies .
    Mexican drug cartels targeting and killing children
    * ( PEDRO PARDO / AGENCE FRANCE-PRESS VIA GETTY IMAGES ) – Children with candles and dressed in white march for peace during a 2010 protest against violence in Acapulco, Mexico.
    SAN LUIS POTOSI, Mexico — On a sunny afternoon last week, when the streets of this mountain mining city were filled with schoolchildren and parents hurrying home from work, gunmen entered a tiny apartment and started firing methodically.
    * Weigh In
    * Corrections?
    The assassins killed everyone: the family matriarch and her adult son; her daughter and son-in-law, and finally, her 22-month-old granddaughter.
    The child was not killed by mistake. Preliminary forensics indicate that the gunmen, unchallenged, pointed a pistol at Scarlett Ramirez and fired.
    In Mexico’s brutal drug war, children are increasingly victims, innocents caught in the crossfire, shot dead alongside their parents — and intentionally targeted.
    According to U.S. and Mexican experts, competing criminal groups appear to be killing children to terrorize the population or prove to rivals that their savagery is boundless, as they fight over local drug markets and billion-dollar trafficking routes to voracious consumers in the United States.
    “It worries us very much, this growth in the attacks on little children. They use them as a vehicle to send a message,” said Juan Martin Perez, director of the Child Rights Network in Mexico. “Decapitations and hanging bodies from bridges send a message. Killing children is an extension of this trend.”
    The children’s rights group estimates that 994 people younger than 18 were killed in drug-related violence between late 2006 and late 2010, based on media accounts, which are incomplete because newspapers are often too intimidated to report drug-related crimes.
    Few of the crimes are solved. “What worries us is the impunity in all of these cases,” Perez said. “If there is impunity, this use of children to send messages will grow.”
    Government figures include all homicides of people younger than 17, capturing victims whose murders might not have been related to drugs or organized crime. In 2009, the last year for which there is data, 1,180 children were killed, half in shootings.
    Recent, sensational killings of children — shot in a car seat, dumped in a field with a bullet in the head, killed as their grandmothers cradled them — have shocked Mexicans and shaken their faith that family is sacred, even to the criminal gangs.

  35. It is the opposite of what they are making the masses believe . Illegalization is causing all this crime to occur against Children yet, they have no heart . ………they are only concerned over their lust and greed for money .Only Satan the Devil could be responsible for these horrible atrocities to occur and Pharma & alcohol have taken the front seat to ride with the Devil .

  36. DEA to legalize marijuana chemical for Big Pharma but keep it a crime for everyone else
    (NaturalNews) Have no illusions about the true nature of the so-called “War on Drugs” and the actions of the DEA. The War on Drugs has always been about protecting the profits of the drug companies which have a long and well-documented history of copying street drugs, repackaging them as “medications” and selling them to children as FDA-approved drugs (see below).
    Today, yet another example More.. emerges as the DEA moves to legalize THC in Big Pharma’s pills while simultaneously making it illegal for anyone else to grow, sell or possess THC. The DEA, you see, is working to change the classification of THC from a schedule I substance (like street heroin) to a schedule III drug (pharmaceuticals). So if Big Pharma grows its own marijuana plants, extracts the THC and puts it into a “pot pill,” those pills will be perfectly legal. They’re already FDA approved, actually, when made with the synthetic version of THC.
    But if a guy grows the very same chemical in his backyard, then extracts THC from those plants — even for his own personal use — suddenly he’s guilty of committing a federal crime and will likely be subjected to an armed raid by DEA agents.
    The DEA answers to its pharma slave masters
    Why would the DEA decide to legalize THC only for pharmaceutical companies? Well, because Big Pharma requested it, of course! As the DEA says on the subject:
    “The DEA has received four petitions from companies that have products that are currently the subject of ANDAs (abbreviated new drug applications) under review by the FDA. …While the petitioners cite that their generic products are bioequivalent to Marinol, their products do not meet schedule III current definition provided above. Therefore, these firms have requested that 21 CFR 1308.13(g)(1) be expanded to include naturally derived or synthetically produced dronabinol.”
    You can read it all at the DEA’s own website:
    The DEA goes on to say:
    “This proposed action expands the schedule III listing to include formulations having naturally-derived dronabinol and products encapsulated in hard gelatin capsules. This would have the effect of transferring the FDA-approved versions of such generic Marinol[supreg] products from schedule I to schedule III.”
    Just so you can make total sense of this, the DEA’s loopy logic is that since Marinol (an FDA-approved synthetic THC drug) is already recognized as a pharmaceutical, the DEA is saying that other generic drugs containing natural THC from marijuana plants can also be recognized as a pharmaceutical. What they fail to recognize is that even the synthetic THC is, of course, based on natural THC grown in marijuana plants!
    It’s classic Big Government pseudoscientific quackery: Only “synthetic” chemicals are considered authoritative, even when those synthetics were stolen from nature in the first place.
    Your doctor is your new dealer
    So now, thanks to the DEA and its twisted position on THC, your doctor is now your dealer and Big Pharma steps in to take over the manufacturing and distribution of drugs that have traditionally been handled by street criminals and Mexican drug gangs. That’s what this was always about of course: Big Pharma taking over the drug trade, using its own private gang of armed enforcers known as DEA agents.
    It’s a lot like Mexico, in fact: Armed enforcers, drug profits, turf wars… except in the U.S., it’s all “legal” under the monopolistic protection of the FDA — an agency that has always sought to protect Big Pharma’s market monopolies.
    What’s astonishing about all this is the DEA’s insanity in saying that the very same chemical can be legal for corporations to sell you but illegal for you to grow yourself using a natural plant. THC is THC, after all, and if this chemical is so “incredibly dangerous” that the DEA must throw people in prison for daring to grow it, possess it or sell it, why is it suddenly okay for corporations to do the exact same thing?
    You already know the answer: The DEA’s position on marijuana and hemp has always been based on the king of warped logic you only get if you’re smoking crack.
    The DEA becomes armed enforcement branch of Big Pharma
    The real job of the DEA, you see, is not to protect people from dangerous drugs, but rather to protect the profits of Big Pharma by shooting, arresting or otherwise destroying anything that competes with Big Pharma. Namely, street dealers of marijuana.
    It’s not the first time the DEA has done this, of course. Drugs that used to be sold on the street as “speed” are now FDA-approved pharmaceutical medications for ADHD — and they’re being prescribed to children by the tens of millions!
    Every successful drug operation needs henchmen who run around with guns eliminating the competition. In a drug gang, that used to be the job of “Frankie” back in the Sicilian mob days. But today, with Big Pharma, it’s the job of the DEA.
    Hilariously, this announcement by the DEA was posted by their “Office of Diversion Control” (…). For once, they’re honest: It is a diversion! A diversion to prevent people from realizing the truth about the DEA, the War on Drugs and the pharmaceutical industry.
    Because the DEA, of course, is the armed enforcement division of Big Pharma. It works hand in hand with the FDA, of course: The FDA legalizes Big Pharma drug dealing, and the DEA targets the competition for elimination. It’s a bang-up job, a real one-two punch to protect the world’s largest drug dealers of all… the drug companies themselves.
    I wonder how long it will take before a few DEA agents will wake up and realize they are the armed mercs working for their corporate slave masters known as the pharmaceutical companies?
    The real criminals, you see, are not the joint-smoking hippies getting high in their basements but rather the Big Pharma CEOs whose entire careers are dedicated to addicting people to their patented, FDA-approved pharmaceuticals… even when they’re the exact same chemicals the DEA claims are “illegal drugs” on the street
    [Paul Armentano responds: I’ve written extensively on this development also. See:

  37. DB, the sensible way to resolve this conundrum which the DEA now presents, as well as to involve the States and Counties, is for US to demand this simple definition of marijuana to our representatives, such as Jared Polis:
    16. “The term ‘marijuana’ means all parts
    of the smoke produced by the combustion
    of the plant Cannabis sativa L.”

  38. Re #39, Anonymous,
    “It doesn’t matter if your Sheriff . . . illegalization is here to stay . . . ”
    Were you asleep during the recent vote to legalize MJ in Calif? The bill was defeated by old conservatives, tea partiers (hey, don’t tax my pot, man), medical MJ profiteers, and greedy growers. You wanna blame someone for pot not getting legalized in Ca this past year, blame THEM. Of course, I realize it’s far easier to be an intellectually-lazy cynic.

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