As far as pro-weed lawmakers go, Jared Polis is the cannabis king. Representing Colorado in the House of Representatives since 2009, Polis has been one of the nation’s leading advocates for the legalization movement. And now he plans to run for Governor of Colorado in 2018.
Jared Polis, The Cannabis King
Last Sunday, Polis announced his plans to enter Colorado’s gubernatorial race next year. He said his campaign will focus on three main things:
- Moving Colorado to 100 percent green energy by 2040,
- Giving parents free access to preschool and kindergarten,
- Getting Colorado companies to provide employees with stock options.
While none of these are directly related to cannabis, if Polis wins he will bring a distinctively pro-weed perspective into the state’s capitol. In fact, Polis is one of the most vocal supporters of legalization in the nation.
Throughout his time in Congress, he has introduced several bills to help loosen federal anti-weed laws. In particular, he has pushed for the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.
This bill would move cannabis off the DEA’s list of Schedule I drugs. It would also create ways for the government to regulate weed the same way it regulates alcohol.
This past February, Polis helped create the Congressional Cannabis Caucus. This group of lawmakers works together to advocate for pro-cannabis legislation. In March, they issued the “Path to Marijuana Reform.”
This document made a formal call to change federal weed laws. In particular, Polis and has pro-cannabis colleagues suggested a series of changes designed to protect businesses in the legal weed industry.
Pushing Back Against Trump’s Administration
A lot of Polis’s pro-weed work this year has come in response to the Trump administration. In particular, he has focused on protecting weed-legal states from federal crackdowns.
In February, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said that “greater enforcement” of federal cannabis laws could be coming. Trump’s selection of Jeff Sessions for Attorney General seemed to support Spicer’s statement.
Sessions has been just as outspoken against weed as Polis has been in support of it. In 2016 he said that “good people don’t smoke weed.”
Then, earlier this year he spoke out against cannabis when he said that weed is “only slightly less awful” than heroin. He went on to tell law enforcement officials that medical marijuana “had been hyped, maybe too much.”
In light of all this, Polis and the rest of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus have rallied to protect states that have legalized weed. Now we will wait and see if Colorado’s cannabis king can pull off a victory in next year’s state elections.