INTRODUCTION OF A MARIJUANA BILL; Congressional Record Vol. 161, No. 24
(House of Representatives - February 12, 2015)

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                    INTRODUCTION OF A MARIJUANA BILL

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentleman from 
Oregon (Mr. Blumenauer) for 5 minutes.
  Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, for more than 70 years our government 
has followed the most spectacular failure in policy since the 
disastrous 13-year experiment with the prohibition of alcohol.
  Forty-three years ago, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug 
Abuse released a report, finding that the Federal ban on marijuana is 
unjustified and inappropriate. Yet, for most of that time, Federal 
policy has been frozen in amber.
  Countless lives have been ruined for the use of a substance that a 
majority of Americans think should be legal; untold billions of dollars 
have been spent on a failed effort at prohibition; and still 25 million 
adults use it every month.
  Despite a finding in Federal law that marijuana is a schedule I 
controlled substance with no therapeutic value, 213 million Americans 
live in 34 States and the District of Columbia where medical marijuana 
is recognized and legal in some form, and over a million people use it 
as medicine.
  In 1996, voters in California marked a significant change in course 
when they legalized medical marijuana with a vote of the people, and 
almost three dozen States have followed. In the fall of 2012, voters in 
the States of Washington and Colorado approved the adult use of 
marijuana, and it should be noted that the sky didn't fall, big cracks 
didn't appear in the Earth, and problems with marijuana didn't get 
worse. In some instances, they became more manageable.
  For the Federal Government, the tide continues to turn. Last session 
of Congress had six successful votes on the floor of the House to 
rationalize our foolish policies, including reining in Federal 
enforcement and opening opportunities for legal industrial hemp 
cultivation. Last fall, voters in my State of Oregon, looking at the 
evidence and experience like in Colorado, approved adult use by an even 
larger margin than in the previous States.
  The marijuana reform train has left the station, and it is time for 
the Federal Government to redouble its efforts on developing policies 
that work. Congressman Jared Polis and I will reintroduce this week our 
legislation to establish a Federal framework to end the failed Federal 
prohibition.
  It will pave the way for States to chart their own course to 
legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana according to what individual 
States want to do--just like they do with alcohol. We will save tens of 
billions of dollars on failed enforcement, incarceration, and lost 
revenue. We will choke off a profit center for drug cartels that has 
been enriched by our failed policies, and we will make it easier to 
enforce laws to keep marijuana out of the hands of our children and 
have money for government services rather than waste money on failed 
policy, arresting people for something that a majority of Americans now 
thinks should be legal.
  For those of us who have worked in this field for years, it is an 
exciting time. My legislation will deal with the taxation of marijuana, 
and we look forward to refining it, to being able to have the tax at a 
proper level to support government services but also reasonable enough 
to choke off black market supply.
  It is time for us to enter a new era of marijuana policy for 
research, for protecting our children, for economic development and 
individual liberties. I strongly urge my colleagues to examine the 
legislation that we have advanced and be part of this long overdue 
effort at reform.

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