Civil Liberties

Two Congressmen Will Introduce Legislation Tomorrow to Radically Overhaul Federal Marijuana Laws


Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Or.) and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) will introduce legislation tomorrow to radically overhaul federal marijuana laws. Based on a bill previously introduced by former Reps. Ron Paul and Barney Frank, the Blumenauer-Polis legislation would establish a federal tax-and-regulate scheme for marijuana

In states that legalize pot, growers would have to obtain a federal permit. Oversight of marijuana would be removed from the Drug Enforcement Administration and given to the newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, and it would remain illegal to bring marijuana from a state where it's legal to one where it isn't.

Advocates who are working with the lawmakers acknowledge it could take years for any changes to get through Congress, but they're encouraged by recent developments. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell last week came out in support of efforts to legalize hemp in his home state of Kentucky, and U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., is expected to introduce legislation allowing states to set their own policy on marijuana.

Polis is part of a growing coalition of marijuana policy reformers in the House. He rose to fame last year after an intense back-and-forth with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart: