As Washington and Colorado work out the details of how to handle the state's new cannabis legislation, two Democratic Congressmen have introduced a pair of bills that would decriminalize marijuana on the federal level and set up a tax code to capitalize on it.
A similar bill was proposed back in 2011 by Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul, but it died before a vote was held.
Oregon Rep. Early Blumenauer is one of the co-sponsors of the current legislation and he joins Starting Point today to discuss the reasoning behind the bill and to explain how much money the federal government could earn by taxing marijuana.
"The goal is to try and rationalize America’s marijuana policy," Rep. Blumenauer says. "A drug that bizarrely is classified under federal law as something worse than cocaine and meth. We’re arresting two-thirds of a million people a year for something that half of Americans think should be legal and an overwhelming majority think should be left to the states. This would change that equation, be able to bring it out of the shadows, and ultimately change a situation that is costing us billions to something that would save money on enforcement and collect money, much like we did during prohibition."