A bipartisan group of pro-marijuana lawmakers in the House officially launched the Cannabis Caucus Thursday.
Oregon Democrat Rep. Earl Blumenauer, California Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, Colorado Democrat Rep. Jared Polis and Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young said they established the group to promote a “rational approach” to federal policy on the drug.
Polis argued it is a states’ rights issue, saying that reforms could stimulate economic growth and lower crime rates.
“Our test case proves that allowing responsible adults to use marijuana if they choose can help provide money for classrooms rather than cartels, creates jobs rather than creates addicts, puts drug dealers out of business, and boosts our economy rather than our prison population,” he said.
“Our next challenge is to take the model established in Colorado and Oregon and Washington and Alaska, and enable all states to follow it free from federal bullying and federal interference.”
Blumenauer said it’s important the federal government doesn’t prevent the continuation of research into its medicinal use.
Rohrabacher echoed Blumenauer’s sentiments, adding he has personally benefited from medical marijuana.
“About a hundred days ago I had an operation on my arm here, it was real heavy arthritis. As a surfer I actually wore away all the cartilage in both of my arms. It was really painful,” he told reporters. “They gave me this candle and the candle was infused with cannabis and yeah, I put it on my arm and guess what—the pain went away for a couple hours and I got sleep for the first time in weeks after that.”
Polis said he would like to see policy reforms that would regulate marijuana similarly to how alcohol is treated.
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