Representative Nancy Pelosi: I Think State Marijuana Laws Have to Be Respected; I Think Tax and Regulate

In an interview with the Denver Post, published this week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke about the marijuana legalization initiatives passed in Colorado and Washington in November.

When asked, “What are the measures in Washington (DC) that might address states that legalize marijuana and what is your view of federal policy?,” Minority Leader Pelosi expressed her support of state laws regarding marijuana and encouraged a tax and regulate policy:

Q: What are the measures in Washington (DC) that might address states that have taken steps to legalize marijuana and what is your view of the federal role?

Rep. Pelosi: I support the leadership of Jared Polis, who has been a leader on this issue as well as other members..I understand some of the Republican members support the law now that is passed, even if they didn’t before.

But in any case, to answer your question, what is my position regarding the states that have medical marijuana or recreational marijuana as the law of their states: I think that has to be respected. I think tax and regulate.

In order to do that, there has to be a level of respect for the fact, that if you are going to have recreational marijuana, someone is in business to do that and they have to have tax treatment in order for them to function as a business.

How the state of Colorado interacts with the federal government on the taxation issues is something they have to work out, but I think they should.

You can view the full interview here.

Representative Pelosi now joins the growing list of prominent politicians who are coming out in support of rational marijuana policy. Take a minute of your time and click here to easily contact your Representative and urge him or her to support Representative Polis’ legislation, HR 499: The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013, and put an end to our nation’s war on cannabis consumers.

74 thoughts

  1. Respect is good. Taxing a person for self ownership…not so good.

    [Paul Armentano responds: ‘Tax’ in this context is on the acts of commercial retail production and retail sales, not on non-retail activity.]

  2. We must not lose focus on people like the mayor of New York. He was on Letterman last night. He likes to use phrases like “drug dealers and substance abusers should not own guns.” He is implying that those people are dangerous. But he never mentions alcoholics should not own guns. But yet he wants to prohibit large sodas. These type of pro-being drunk around children, anti-marijuana smokers are the reason our country is is in chaos.

  3. I have to say this is the only thing Nancy Pelosi has ever said that I agree 100% with. Living in a very conservative state I will never see legalization before I die. I hate that conservatives talk about the constitution and freedom and what America should be yet do everything in their power to restrict an individuals right to do as they wish AS LONG AS THEY HARM NO ONE ELSE. They choose to legislate morality.

    The liberals are just as bad but in the opposite context and serve to limit the rights that the conservatives hold dear. Until we actually have politicians that respect the constitution and the freedoms we are supposed to have, in their entirety without injecting personal opinion and morals, we will continue to fight back and forth over common sense topics.

    Restricting personal choice (in all things that do not harm another directly) should be illegal. Politicians that vote to restrict ANY personal choice should be removed from office. I know this is a sensitive subject but since we live in a police state we have to start someplace.

  4. I am disappointed that this was posted as a headline on the website spearheading the movement for legal marijuana. Although this news presents more support for the legalization of marijuana, it does not promote the principles that legal marijuana represents. Marijuana should be legal because people should be able to do whatever they want, including putting anything into their bodies, as long as it does not hinder anyone else’s pursuit of happiness. Nancy Pelosi’s logic, however, is alarming and disgusting. In this interview, Pelosi reveals her ignorance for individual liberty by saying marijuana should be legal because it can then be “taxed and regulates.” This outlook on the legalization of marijuana is flawed and should not be promoted by anyone that takes legalization of cannabis seriously.

    [Editor’s note: OK….sure…the most powerful Democrat in the House of Representatives comes out publicly in favor of legalization, and you whine because you don’t like her rationale.

    Drop the puritanism, embrace the base politics…

    Get politically real!]

  5. What we have here is political movement. Nancy Pelosi is not making these statements in a vacuum, that is not how politics work. Her statements were not “out of the blue”, they were carefully constructed in advance. Ms Pelosi wields power and respect in D.C. and she is paving the way for further political discussion and smoothing it over so other more prominent politicians can step forward and safely air their views as well.

    Things just got more interesting.

  6. There is light at the end of the tunnel. At long last, political capital is being spent on legalization. The established order is not easily displaced; change such as legalization won’t occur overnight. We must keep up the drumbeat by speaking out whenever possible. All of the proponents of legalization should take a few seconds to use NORML’s system for petitioning their Congressional representatives. The train is leaving the station. Hop aboard, Ms. Pelosi!

  7. Can I make suggestion that NORML starts ranking members of congress the same way they did with presidential candidates during the campaign. It would help supporters of reform know who has our back and who we can thank through donations and maybe even grassroots support depending on which member it is and where we live. We can also start working against prohibition defending members of congress if we can get a handful of strong pro-reform candidates to run either in primaries (if the district is solid blue/red) or general elections against those incumbents.

  8. Any kind of legalisation is better than none !
    Decriminalisation of users just gives a legitimate market for organised crime and basically institutionalises it – which is a bad thing for all of us (no matter how cannabis is involved in our lives).
    If legalisation is not quite right for you then you can probably still do what you have always done outside the law (grow, sell, consume, import – whatever) but with much less fear and risk. Cannabis would no longer automatically be seem as a crime and any indiscretions against a less then perfect law would probably be treated more lightly or just with fines (late collection of taxes).

  9. I just hope taxing would not be used as a weapon. You can lose everything by not paying your taxes.

  10. I am not sure what to realy think at this point in the game. I am seeing the fence being mowed over by the people forceing the aged old question of” were you (the government ) realy in a position to prohibit something that has only caused harm because of the prohibition ?”
    The reasons may go on forever but the fact remains that cannabis has only been taken away not destoryed or became extinct. The same government that decieded to prohibit our use of cannabis is going to be the same one that sets it free for the consumption in any form.
    Regardless of which side of the isle we can gain greater access to the house floor to even be considered a real situation,we need all that apply, so we can get a fair dicussion on eliminating prohibition on a federal level.
    It’s not going to happend over nite. Even with help from those we may not like on certain issues doesnt mean we can turn their help away if they offer it.
    A soon as a problem arises, were a smart enough and functional society that we can worry about thoses bridges when we get to them. The great people at NORML have a group of lawyers who are and have stood up for our rights this long, they’re not going to let us down now.
    Good luck with everything you(everyone) do for the end of prohibition, its only pushing America under the bus further , by allowing it to stay in place.
    Type in “War on drugs cost”
    The world became a different place when we can go stright to an source of information and see for yourselves how much money were throwing away mainly on a war over cannabis.
    The war on drugs should never end………
    The items places on the list should……..
    cannabis should be allowed for the people by the people.
    as always
    thanks for reading

  11. Not good. When “Senior” representatives from either party speak(Pelosi, Reid, Boehner, etc,) the opposing party typically responds with contradictions. Just saying.

  12. I dont want to be cynical,but Pelosi has been pro-medical cannabis for years now,that should not be that suprising.And i agree with OldGuy – all they seem capable of is creating more laws and almost never repealing them.The democrats play a defensive role while the republicans go on attack mode, all for the same end result.

    But who knows, maybe this could be seen in a whole different light,if- taxing and regulating could fill the void for the’ Sequestrian cuts’,even just a little bit…legal cannabis to the rescue.

  13. Wow. This is the first thing I’ve heard Nancy Pelosi say that make sense 100% of the way through. Not her usual arrogant, divide and conquer bullshit.

    She actually sounds balanced!!! Of course marijuana should be taxed, but there should be no “sin-tax” on it as unlike alcohol, tobacco and gambling; marijuana use isn’t a social problem nor does it lead to other problems unlike those other three.

  14. Nancy has never met anything she didn’t want to tax and regulate. This is not a surprise, nor is her ‘support’ given the demographics and location of her district.

  15. “Ms Pelosi wields power and respect in D.C. and she is paving the way for further political discussion and smoothing it over so other more prominent politicians can step forward and safely air their views as well.”

    You smoked it! You are right this is BIG. Thank you Nancy Pelosi for embracing rational marijuana ideas; and we welcome more politicians who are bound to step forward. Thank you. Thank you.

  16. Once again, here come all the negative statements. I honestly don’t understand some of the posters on these boards, other than that they must have some serious axes to grind.

    My god, like the editor explained to someone, this is one of the top government officials in the nation saying they should respect Colorado’s and Washington’s legalization votes! What more do you want? (I get it, you want MJ legalized yesterday–but, hey, guess what, it ain’t!)

    Instead of seeing statements expressing joy, or even hints of happiness, we see the usual crescendo of complaints (and whines). Unbelievable.

    I’m beginning to wonder if we deserve legal pot. Maybe more opposition from the politicos is what some of you actually want, deep down inside, to prove your points, huh? Maybe it’d just be better if we continued to get busted for smoking a J–is that what you’d prefer?

    I don’t know if some of you are just young and naive or old and jaded, but it’s already tiresome.

  17. Very interesting and going to get a lot more interesting. I’ve been saying this for a while now, and I do believe things are going to change faster than previously thought. The truth always bears itself out.

  18. I have a letter from this two faced bitch where she says that marijuana can’t be legalized because it is against Federal Law. I’ve got to pull that letter out and scan it for you all. She and Feinstein are the biggest embarrassments to come from California since Ronnie Regan.

    [Editor’s note: Drop the overt sexism (it is not at all necessary in trying to make a point in public…ie, like you can lose half the audience instantly…)? Do you care more about a form letter you received in the past or what Minority Leader Pelosi just told the media? Is the past more important and relevant to you than the future?]

  19. Frankly I never understood the 2 party system. Why do some states get to ignore when another party starts up like libertarians. Why are there not a hundred different parties. More conflicting of ideals is a good thing. The reason we are in so much stale mate in our government is it is just black checkers or red checkers.

  20. Tax and Regulate baby! The “it’s free from the earth man” people are a relic holding us back. You gotta give to get in life- I’d gladly pay a tax if it meant I could walk into a corner store, know what I was getting and know I could get home safely.

  21. Message to Paul Armentano…

    I applaud your effort, and NORML. Many of us work tirelessly to bring about a better world and you are one of those people.

    However the issue isn’t about being granted “permission” to own ourselves for some of us. It is about being able to exercise the natural right of self ownership, on OUR terms. A tax on self ownership is better than a jail cell, but it undeniably falls short of true self ownership. Peace.

  22. Many kudos to Nancy Pelosi for evolving on this issue! SALUTE!!!

    Let us all pray that more politicians come to understand the wisdom of ending the failure that is known as prohibition.

  23. These politicians are only saying they are on board because here very soon they will have no choice. All they see is dollar signs. I can already smeel the cheap schwag ( i.e. budweiser) burning everywhere. Cant wait till they control what chemicals get sprayed all over cannabis. Just like to tobacco.

    [Editor’s note: Consumers, not corporations are in control. If you don’t want cannabis with chemicals, don’t buy it. If others feel the same way, then there is no market for ‘chemical cannabis’.

    Make cannabis policy about what CONSUMERS want, not about how much can corporations benefit via product manipulation.]

  24. Norml. I need your guidence here in Iowa. The House republicans have started a bill and it has PASSED the house, that would make Iowa law state that marijuana is only a Schedule 1 drug. I have read some of the laws and it turns out that Iowa has marijuana as a Schedule 1 and 2 drug. What does this mean? It is my understanding that if it is a Schedule 2 drug, that it has recognized medical benifits and that it should be available by Drs prescription. How do I get this bill killed? I dont think it will make it thru the Democrat controlled senate, and if it doesnt, couldnt that mean that the Iowa Board of Pharmacy can legalize it medically? Going over state Congress? I know 68% of Iowans want medical cannibas legal, and the fact that Republicans want to worsen restrictions makes Iowa no longer a democratic state. Please help me get the word out about this bill. If it passes, I fear Iowans will be arrested more and more.

  25. I haven’t always agreed with Ms. Pelosi but this time she got it right! I appreciate that she has spoken out on this important issue in a way that all of us should be very happy about. Like some of the others that have posted here, it is time to stop whining when things seem to be going our way! This is the sort of thing we should be celebrating.

  26. I think a quick salute to the editor is in order! Very professional, to-the-point remarks on some rather unfortunately ignorant replies to the post.

    A special thanks to Pelosi for taking a step in the right direction.

    And a quick note for those who like to whine and cry: Rome wasn’t built in a day! And like Rome, “perfect” marijuana legalization will not be either…if “perfect” legalization will ever exist; that is up to the hard-working men and women of congress! If you want to respond to the posts on NORML, I strongly suggest actually reading (and remembering) other articles posted here as well, such as is seen here: (I would have quoted the article, but I could not figure out how to get a nice blockquote to show…do you allow HTML elements here?)

  27. NORML has continually represented the marijuana smoking community in a positive manner, for that I am thankful. Individuals who can benefit medically should legally be able to get those benefits from cannabis and responsible smokers should be able to enjoy smoking when and where they want, just as alcohol drinkers can.

    We need more politicians to speak up on this matter, my hat is off to Nancy Pelosi and any others who are not afraid to voice their opinion in support of legal marijuana laws and ending this prohibition once and for all.

    Thanks to everyone associated with NORML for the great job you have done, I know you will continue to do so.

  28. @Evening Bud,
    its so true……..being tired of all the negative, it was funny because i read what people post before i see who posted it, and i came across yours and laughed at how true it is…..then scrolled back up only to see it was your post….made me laugh, I agree its tiresome to listen to all the negative, but however sometimes good points come from angles we were never going to look from, just like Ms. Pelosi, im sure was at one point on a different angle maybe even been a negative one and now look, her position in our government my play a big part in this movement of ending prohibition,if her intentions are true, im glad she convenced herself there might be other options to choose from, maybe even from a negative outlook from her begining on the issue, that has changed her now to a positive one.
    so all in all good with the bad sometimes can be overwhelming to deal with, but when cannabis prohibiton is over we wont have any more overwhelming feelings again……
    but honestly enjoyed the laugh
    as always
    thanks for reading

  29. This is your grand bargain. Why should the investor class crank up the economy when the feds are still of the mindset they have money to waste? Cannabis prohibition demonstrates that they are of the mindset that they still have money to waste.

    Step 1
    De-fund by sequestration cannabis prohibition enforcement.

    Step 2
    Congress nudges things by removing cannabis from that blasted schedule.

    Done! Now it’s up to the states. Feds manage legal import export of it, declarations and duties, whatever.

  30. Not sure if this was the same link as the other story or not , but I just contacted this Link provided by Norml as well. If it’s the same link then they got contacted twice from me. 🙂 Legalize it already Feds.

  31. Load the boat on pot related penny stocks these things are going too explode… MJNA CBIS RFMJ

    Do your own research but these seem to be the most solid ones…

  32. “I think” to me that means unsure of .Like 50/50 or is the glass have empty or half full. Lets just keep on like we are.Prohibition will work i just no it will “I think “

  33. [Editor’s note: Consumers, not corporations are in control. If you don’t want cannabis with chemicals, don’t buy it. If others feel the same way, then there is no market for ‘chemical cannabis’.

    Make cannabis policy about what CONSUMERS want, not about how much can corporations benefit via product manipulation.]

    Not really guys. There isn’t any “market” for non-chemical sprayed tobacco exactly because our government has let private and corporation interests run the whole show without even the tiniest bit of safety for the consumer in mind.

    The government issues these assholes the licenses and they are then free to poison their tobacco and sell it to anyone above a certain age. That is literally crazy. If these clowns got their hands on pot, they would ruin it too and poison plenty of people for years to come before we start up another push for safe marijuana.

    That already is what their plan is. Then they would actually have data showing how marijuana causes this or that disease.

    I can already see the ads, “There is no such thing as a ‘safe marijuana’ cigarette. Since we put poison on it.” Well, they’ll just leave out that last part.

    [Editor’s note: The ‘government’ and the ‘people’ are one in the same. If more people are involved in policy making, ‘government’ will be more responsive as being a function of the ‘people’.

    This can be a vicious or virtuous cycle for society..but, this is largely determined by how much power do people want to cede to centralized governments.

    In effect, don’t we deserve the governments we elect into power?]

  34. @ Chris,

    Thanks, Chris. It’s funny, after I posted, I immediately thought of you! I was thinking, oh no, here I am again, going off on someone. I suppose I just get so tired hearing others complain when things are actually going good for our cause.

    Seems they’re so intent on getting their personal gripes about life aired, that they can’t even see the good when it happens.

    Take care, friend. E. Bud

  35. Make a big deal of the conclusions and recommendations that academics, experts and attendees of the UPenn Mid-Atlantic Conference this Saturday have.

    D.C. politicians need to hear what they have to say. The respective state politicians need to take them seriously. This isn’t the West Coast. Legalization is knocking on your front door here, Washington.

    Start an echo chamber between Boston and D.C., you know, and make legalization one of the major memes in the media. It has to be one of those things that keeps coming back, you know, like a bad ex.

    Make a recommendation for it to be a part of the grand bargain, so-called grand bargain. Say you’re going to do the grand bargain piecemeal.

    Piecemeal is nudging, lots of little nudges. Washington can’t do anything on a grand scale, so there will be no grand bargain done on a large scale.

    You gettin’ this Barry? Barry Obama. You gettin’ this?!

  36. I agree that the government is *supposed* to be one of the people and by the people, but that is not what we do have. Just look how the GOP tried stopping people from even voting in this last election. This is a government that feels it is better and on a different level from the people.

  37. What a great thing for ms pelosi to do bravo and for all you people who worry about a “tax”youre not getting it free now are you?as long as the price isnt totally unaffordable people will buy it who cares what the government gets from it i just recently just lost a job over a urine test which showed i had marajuana in my system i had worked at this job for 26 years and was very well respected by my co workers and most of the administrative staff there i just fell victim to ridiculous drug testing policies that blanket tested a group of people that should have never went through this it stinks pot should be legal in every state not just 2 being we are the “united” states of america i applaud ms pelosi no matter what people think her intentions are i could have retired from my job in 3 years with an absolutely great work record pot or not it needs to be legal

  38. I own me. You own you.

    Regulating and taxing self ownership is like a hand job, it gives release but calling it sex is a bit misguided.

  39. @Anonymous – I’m sorry to learn avout your firing. Your experience is a perfect example that prohibition causes more harm than good! I wonder if your employer was hoping to get rid of some employees to boost their bottom line…

  40. We also need to pressure Ca State Assembly and Senate members to use their supermajority to pass cannabis and hemp legalization now for our top cash crop.
    Farmers and the environment will benefit.
    The usda said in 1919 one acre of hemp will save 4 acres of timber.
    Save the salmon and steelhead, smoke cannabis instead of guzzling Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.

  41. Well played Bob Constantine, well played. 🙂

    I missed this one earlier:
    “Any kind of legislation is better than none.”

    Couldn’t be more wrong in my opinion, there are quite a few laws on the book that are not better then having no law at all, I’ll save the rant about that because it would skew off topic.

  42. Wow now Nevada, Oregon, and Hawaii are all introducing bills to fully legalize recreational use. The NCI recently did tests confirming the benefits of Marijuana in patients with various cancers which showed no side effects compared to prescription medications. The use of marijuana prevents future health problems. Let hope full legalization across the country.

  43. To Chris and Evening Bud. You sit and fuss about people fussing about a broken system. I hear what they are saying and agree that if you dont fix the root cause of prohibition you are just putting a bandaid on a bleeder.

    Let me give you an example. Would you be pleased that the slave master threw you his chewed and spit out scraps food? Would you put down the other slaves for daring to say the master is a … you fill in the blank. Or would you stand with the other slave and DEMAND your freedom. Why would you be satistifed with one politician throwing out a bone on one subject (which we all hold dear) when the system is heavily leaning in their favor on everything. We the people should not have to beg the government for scraps. Yet we do everyday.

    The editor said the government is the people. BS in every respect. As soon as they get elected they start failing the rest of us. The system works that way because THEY allow it to. We can bitch and petition and whine all day long and before long they make laws that prevent us from doing that legally.

    All of us that are not satisfied with the scraps we get now and then are voicing our feelings and opinions and we get told we complain too much and are not thankful for the scraps…you are part of the problem…complacency.

  44. Hey Norml Don’t you think this drug test thing is getting out of hand? I was just on craigs list looking at jobs in Washington state and alot of employers are drug testing. what good is legalization if every one drug tests? And if you’re un-employed smoking even one joint Screws your chances up even for pre-employment drug testing for at least two weeks or more. I’ll tell you it’s kind of scary with Obama care now the law. Will you have to test negative to get medical care? how about getting a drivers license, a loan or even renting an apartment! Then what if your apartment manager decides a pre-rental test is not enough and thinks he-she has the right to come to your door any time he wants for a random test! Oh and what about the next bozo at a job orientation that starts up with that if your dirty don’t waste my time shit? I’m NOT DIRTY and I can only grind my teeth so much before I lose my temper.

    [Editor’s note: Your questions and lament about drug testing are both valid and vexing. It is likely that cannabis testing could remain in the Fortune 1000-type companies and possibly government agencies as well post cannabis becoming legalized. Currently, despite their legality, hundreds of companies and governments test employees (and prospective employees) for legal drugs like nicotine, alcohol and prescription drugs.

    As cannabis prohibition abates, reformers and consumers need to also focus on changing secondary laws around cannabis prohibition as well (ie, civil forfeiture, DUID, child custody, security clearances, student loan denial, drug testing, restoration of voting rights, etc…).]

  45. I’m more concerned about the FDA and the Feds conducting Phase 3 human clinical trials RIGHT HERE IN THE US RIGHT NOW UNDER OUR NOSES WITH NO MEDIA COVERAGE to get Sativex approved fast track so they can show that there is a standardized, FDA approved cannabis pharmaceutical medicine superior to using “raw smoked marijuana” continuing the justification to keep the raw stuff illegal. This has already happened in the UK! England has created a special drug “Schedule” just for Sativex only and has kept the raw stuff in the same dangerous no medical value Schedule 1 status!

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