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February 6th, 2013
09:00 AM ET

Should the U.S. de-federalize a ban on marijuana? Rep. Blumenauer explains new bill

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."

Filed under: Marijuana
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Yes

    If you look at the history of marijuana, up until about 100 years ago, it was essential to the daily life. At one time, people were highly recommended to grow it for its use in many things including medicine, rope, etc. The main reason it was made illegal was propaganda in which Mexicans were to be viewed as dirty and marijuana was the cause of it (I'm summarizing this all up) and this drug was a one-ethic drug. Another persuasion was that when a black man were to consume this drug, they would go on a rampage and find white women far more attractive and they will abuse them.

    Another thing, people claim this is a sports enhancement drug? Seriously???
    Look, the only sport you'll ever compete in while under the influence of this drug will be eating and sleeping. I highly doubt it'll enhance you in any sport at all.

    April 1, 2013 at 10:29 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. adam

    Spare me! Have you ever read "Marijuana Driver Kills Five"?No ,Not once! The fact is pot smokers don't commit violent crimes,nor a fraction of the other crimes, committed by people on Alcohol.Let's get real.Why are the two most devastating drugs legal?I'm talking about Tobacco(which we know flat-out kills) and Alcohol (which has caused more harm and misery than all others combined,and will also kill you,(( good luck overdosing on Pot!))Anyone with two brain cells to rub together knows it's about old-school Money!Watch the dominoes fall as the revenue flows in,then we'll all order Pizza and add to the economy even more! God Bless Washington State for having the courage to lead the way!

    March 19, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Carl

    I smoked 1 ounce a week for the last 6 months and stopped for a few months now. I got to ask.. Where was my withdraw and or shakes. IM sorry but its not addictive. Chronic pain users are dependent on it to relive pain. Dependent is no more then someone being dependent on heart meds.
    Second question. Why is the DEA the ones making decisions weather it has a medical use and not the food and drug administration or a lab better knowledge then someone who faces loosing a pension or jobs. The DEA has a job reliability to its employees and in their interest to keep it ill legal for job security.
    I would rather have marijuana then a real addictive medication like the ones that causing home invasions and drug store robberies.
    Fact: Gods animals eat it in many forms. Deer, cows, rabbits, birds, rats, cats and can be made into foods, pills and even liquid reducing cancer and other harms. Its ok for all them government officials to send someone out in dc to get them legal weed but not paying Americans.
    Last of all i found alcohol at age 8. mommies drink, ciggs age 13, and marijuana at age 15. HUmmmm wasnt a gateway drug for me. Our government needs real facts not bs.

    March 15, 2013 at 11:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Greg

    Of course we should de-federalize the ban on marijuana. Don't be afraid. Reefer Madness is fiction. The barrage of images showing swarthy, dirty-fingernails types hanging out on street corners smoking pot is propaganda. Why in the world would you prevent me from consuming marijuana, if it helps my cancer or arthritis? Our federal government is supposed to promote life, liberty, and happiness, not prevent it.

    March 10, 2013 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Jay Dee

    It is past time to end the insanity. Due to marijuana prohibition, shortsighted, self-righteous lawmakers have inadvertently caused the deaths of countless people involved on all sides of the "war", including law enforcement and bystanders, they have wasted 100's of billions of our dollars, invaded our civil liberties, helped fuel tremendous multinational criminal networks, and have generated a public mistrust and disdain for our legal system, all without any significant reduction in usage or availability. Don't be fooled, the overwhelming majority of problems associated with marijuana are a result of it's prohibition, just as it was with alcohol prohibition.

    Marijuana prohibition is truly a case of the "cure" being worse than the "disease". Marijuana must be legalized, taxed and regulated similar to alcohol before more damage is done. Let's end federal marijuana prohibition now.

    LEAP – Law Enforcement Against Prohibition – www. leap. cc – "Cops say legalize"
    NORML – National Organization to Reform Marijuana Laws – norml. org
    MPP – The Marijuana Policy Project – www. mpp . org
    DPA – Drug Policy Alliance – www. drugpolicy. org
    Regulate marijuana like alcohol – www. regulatemarijuana. org

    March 6, 2013 at 9:05 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Just say YES

    It will crush the black-market and bring jobs and LOTS of money.You can control the production make it like beer 21 and older.No matter what people will use this plant.


    February 28, 2013 at 10:58 am | Report abuse | Reply

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