Democrats Introduce Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana

Wednesday, 06 Feb 2013 04:28 PM

By Dan Weil

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A group of 10 House Democrats has offered a bill to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and regulate the drug through a new Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana, and Firearms.

A separate bill would tax marijuana producers and importers at the rate of $1,000 a year to compensate for the cost of federal regulation.

"This legislation doesn't force any state to legalize marijuana, but Colorado and the 18 other jurisdictions that have chosen to allow marijuana for medical or recreational use deserve the certainty of knowing that federal agents won’t raid state-legal businesses," Colorado Rep. Jared Polis, who sponsored the bill, wrote on his web site.

"Congress should simply allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit and stop wasting federal tax dollars on the failed drug war."

In a CBS News poll conducted at the end of 2012, after statewide referenda in Washington and Colorado legalized recreational pot use, 47 percent of Americans favored legalization, matching the number who are opposed. A year earlier, 51 percent opposed legalization, while 45 percent supported it.

"We are in the process of a dramatic shift in the marijuana policy landscape," said bill co-sponsor Earl Blumenauer of Oregon, according to The Hill.

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