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Jared Polis on Drugs

 

 


Strengthen penalties for drug dealers peddling fentanyl

As Ben Franklin said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Data and common sense tell us that preventing a crime does more to keep people safe than solving a crime after it was committed. We also know that there are times when the swift arm of justice is the best solution, which is why I look forward to legislation to strengthen penalties for drug dealers peddling fentanyl in our communities. Coloradans are sick and tired of seeing this drug ruin lives and kill loved ones.
Source: 2022 State of the State Address to the Colorado legislature , Jan 13, 2022

Signed law allowing mass pardon for minor marijuana offenses

A new law will go into effect giving Colorado's governor the ability to mass-pardon those convicted in the state of possessing two ounces or less of marijuana. When he signed the bill Governor Jared Polis confirmed that he would be using his new power. "We hope that this measure will be the first step toward new opportunities for thousands of Coloradans who should not be living with a cloud over their heads simply because they were a little ahead of their time," he said at the signing ceremony.
Source: Denver Westword on 2022 Colorado gubernatorial race , Sep 25, 2020

Treat marijuana like alcohol; end Drug War on states

Q: Keep marijuana legalization?

Jared Polis (D): Yes. The only candidate who supported legalization in 2012. Treat it like alcohol. Opposes Justice Department's war against states with legalization.

Walker Stapleton (R): Unknown. But is concerned about unintended consequences of legalization, including mental health issues.

Source: 2018 CampusElect.org Issue Guide on Colorado Governor race , Oct 9, 2018

Expunge records for first drug offenders after probation.

Polis co-sponsored Federal First Offender Improvement Act

Congressional Summary: Amends the federal criminal code to extend the pre-judgment probation and expungement procedures for simple possession of a controlled substance to individuals who are convicted of drug trafficking or of attempting or conspiring to commit a drug offense. Sets forth requirements for granting pre-judgment probation for drug trafficking or of attempting or conspiring to commit a drug offense, including that:

  1. the offender did not use violence or credible threats of violence or possess a firearm or other dangerous weapon while committing the offense;
  2. the offense did not result in death or serious injury to any person;
  3. the offender was not an organizer, leader, manager, or supervisor of others in the offense and was not engaged in a continuing criminal enterprise; and
  4. the offender has not been previously convicted of a crime of violence or other offense punishable by a prison term of more than one year.
Provides for a period of such probation of up to two years. Eliminates the requirement that an offender seeking expungement of a record of a disposition be less than 21 years old at the time of the offense.
Source: H.R.2567 11-H2567 on Jul 15, 2011

Exclude industrial hemp from definition of marijuana.

Polis co-sponsored Industrial Hemp Farming Act

Sponsor's Remarks:
Rep. PAUL: Nine States allow industrial hemp production or research in accord with State laws. However, Federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these States growing what may be a very profitable crop. Because of current Federal law, all hemp included in products sold in the US must be imported instead of being grown by American farmers. Since 1970, the federal Controlled Substances Act's inclusion of industrial hemp in the "schedule one" definition of marijuana has prohibited American farmers from growing industrial hemp despite the fact that industrial hemp has such a low content of THC (the psychoactive chemical in the related marijuana plant) that nobody can be psychologically affected by consuming hemp.

The US is the only industrialized nation that prohibits industrial hemp cultivation. Industrial hemp is a crop that was grown legally throughout the US for most of our Nation's history. In fact, during World War II, the Federal Government actively encouraged American farmers to grow industrial hemp to help the war effort. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government has stood in the way of American farmers competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our Nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited Government.

Source: HR1831/S3501/HR525(2013) 12-S3501 on Aug 2, 2012

Sponsored no federal enforcement against legal state marijuana.

Polis co-sponsored Respect State Marijuana Laws Act

Congressional Summary:The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act: The provisions of [federal law] related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.

Proponent's argument for bill: (PolicyMic.com): While the bill does not attempt to legalize the drug in individual states, it would immunize individuals in states taking measures to reform marijuana laws from federal prosecution. Currently, 18 states allow patients with qualifying conditions to use medical marijuana with recommendations from their physicians. Support for the bill arises from not just moral, but practical and financial grounds: The marijuana industry costs U.S. taxpayers roughly $42 billion annually in enforcement costs and lost tax revenues.

Opponent's argument against bill: (USA Today 8/29/13 and the Drug Free America Foundation dfaf.org): The Justice Department will not attempt to challenge state laws that allow for the medical and recreational use of marijuana as long as the drug sales do not conflict with eight new federal enforcement priorities. "We are very disappointed that Eric Holder's not doing his job,'' said the executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation. "It is his job to enforce our nation's laws. He has created what will become a tsunami that will most likely result in far too many young people becoming victims of chemical slavery."

Peter Bensinger, former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, said Holder's action amounted to a violation of the law. "He's not just abandoning the law," Bensinger said, "he's breaking the law; he's putting the people of Washington and Colorado at risk. He's violating the treaty obligations of this country. He's telling the world we don't really follow the law here."

Source: H.R.1523 13-H1523 on Apr 12, 2013

Exempt industrial hemp from marijuana laws.

Polis signed Industrial Hemp Farming Act

Congressional Summary:Amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of "marihuana." Defines "industrial hemp" to mean the plant Cannabis sativa and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3%.

Argument in favor (Sen. Ron Wyden):

Members of Congress hear a lot about how dumb regulations are hurting economic growth and job creation. The current ban on growing industrial hemp is hurting job creation in rural America and increasing our trade deficit. This bill will end this ridiculous regulation. Right now, the US is importing over $10 million in hemp products--a crop that US farmers could be profitably growing right here at home, if not for government rules prohibiting it. Now, even though hemp and marijuana come from the same species of plant, there are major differences between them. The Chihuahua and St. Bernard come from the same species, too, but no one is going to confuse them.

Argument in opposition (Drug Enforcement Agency):

Argument in opposition (DrugWatch.org 10/30/2013):

Source: S.359/H.R.525 14_H0525 on Feb 14, 2013

Rated A+ by NORML, indicating a pro-drug-reform stance.

Polis scores A+ by the NORML on drug reform

OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2016 NORML scores as follows:

About NORML (from their website, www.norml.org):

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.

NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.

NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession & responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."

NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."

NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.

NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.

Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.

Source: NORML website 16_NORML on Nov 8, 2016

Immunity for banks offering services to marijuana businesses.

Polis signed immunity for banks offering services to marijuana businesses

Congressional Summary:This bill provides a safe harbor for depository institutions providing financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business insofar as it prohibits a federal banking regulator from:

  1. terminating or limiting the deposit or share insurance of a depository institution solely because it provides financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business; or
  2. prohibiting, penalizing, or otherwise discouraging a depository institution from offering such services.
Immunity from federal criminal prosecution or investigation is granted, subject to certain conditions, to a depository institution that provides financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business in a state or one of its political subdivisions that allows the cultivation, production, manufacture, sale, transportation, display, dispensing, distribution, or purchase of marijuana.

Argument in Favor: [Cato Institute, March 31, 2016]: Marijuana is now legal under the laws of [several] states, but not under federal law. And this creates huge headaches for marijuana businesses:

Source: H.R.2076 & S.1726 16-HR2076 on Apr 28, 2015

Voted NO on additional Drug War funding for synthetic drugs.

Polis voted NAY Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act

GovTrack.us Summary: (SITSA): There are more than 400 known types of synthetic--or "artificial"--drugs, which mimic the effects of substances including cocaine and ecstasy. They've largely begun to flood the market in recent years. The bill outlaws 13 different synthetic drugs of the most pernicious varieties. There are more than 400 known types of synthetic--or "artificial"--drugs, which mimic the effects of substances including cocaine and ecstasy. They've largely begun to flood the market in recent years.

GovTrack Pro/Con: Supporters argue the legislation will tackle a growing scourge in a far more timely and immediate manner than what the lagging DEA is usually able to accomplish. Opponents argue the bill would too greatly expand Attorney General Jeff Sessions' ability to criminalize drugs and impose unnecessarily punitive mandatory sentences, according to a letter signed by dozens of organizations including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Human Rights Watch, and NAACP.Opponent's argument to vote NO Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY): The bill would explicitly impose mandatory minimum terms of supervised release which undermines the discretion of judges who are in the best position to make such determinations based on the facts and circumstances of each case.

Legislative outcome: House Bill Passed 239-142-46, Roll Number 268 on June 15, 2018

Source: Congressional vote 18-HR2851 on Jun 8, 2017

2021-22 Governor, House and Senate candidates on Drugs: Jared Polis on other issues:
CO Gubernatorial:
Bob Beauprez
Cary Kennedy
Cynthia Coffman
Donna Lynne
Doug Robinson
Ed Perlmutter
George Brauchler
Greg Lopez
Heidi Ganahl
John Hickenlooper
Matthew Hess
Michael Bennet
Mike Johnston
Steve Barlock
Tom Tancredo
Victor Mitchell
Walker Stapleton
CO Senatorial:
Alice Madden
Andrew Romanoff
Angela Williams
Cory Gardner
Dan Baer
Darryl Glenn
Ellen Burnes
John Hickenlooper
John Walsh
Jon Keyser
Michael Bennet
Mike Johnston
Peg Littleton
Ryan Frazier
Tim Neville
Republican Freshman class of 2021:
AL-1: Jerry Carl(R)
AL-2: Barry Moore(R)
CA-8: Jay Obernolte(R)
CA-50: Darrell Issa(R)
CO-3: Lauren Boebert(R)
FL-3: Kat Cammack(R)
FL-15: Scott Franklin(R)
FL-19: Byron Donalds(R)
GA-9: Andrew Clyde(R)
GA-14: Marjorie Taylor Greene(R)
IA-2: Mariannette Miller-Meeks(R)
IA-4: Randy Feenstra(R)
IL-15: Mary Miller(R)
IN-5: Victoria Spartz(R)
KS-1: Tracey Mann(R)
KS-2: Jake LaTurner(R)
LA-5: Luke Letlow(R)
MI-3: Peter Meijer(R)
MI-10: Lisa McClain(R)
MT-0: Matt Rosendale(R)
NC-11: Madison Cawthorn(R)
NM-3: Teresa Leger Fernandez(D)
NY-2: Andrew Garbarino(R)
NY-22: Claudia Tenney(R)
OR-2: Cliff Bentz(R)
PR-0: Jenniffer Gonzalez-Colon(R)
TN-1: Diana Harshbarger(R)
TX-4: Pat Fallon(R)
TX-11: August Pfluger(R)
TX-13: Ronny Jackson(R)
TX-17: Pete Sessions(R)
TX-22: Troy Nehls(R)
TX-23: Tony Gonzales(R)
TX-24: Beth Van Duyne(R)
UT-1: Blake Moore(R)
VA-5: Bob Good(R)
WI-5: Scott Fitzgerald(R)
Incoming Democratic Freshman class of 2021:
CA-53: Sara Jacobs(D)
GA-5: Nikema Williams(D)
GA-7: Carolyn Bourdeaux(D)
HI-2: Kai Kahele(D)
IL-3: Marie Newman(D)
IN-1: Frank Mrvan(D)
MA-4: Jake Auchincloss(D)
MO-1: Cori Bush(D)
NC-2: Deborah Ross(D)
NC-6: Kathy Manning(D)
NY-15: Ritchie Torres(D)
NY-16: Jamaal Bowman(D)
NY-17: Mondaire Jones(D)
WA-10: Marilyn Strickland(D)

Republican takeovers as of 2021:
CA-21: David Valadao(R) defeated T.J. Cox(D)
CA-39: Young Kim(R) defeated Gil Cisneros(D)
CA-48: Michelle Steel(R) defeated Harley Rouda(D)
FL-26: Carlos Gimenez(R) defeated Debbie Mucarsel-Powell(D)
FL-27: Maria Elvira Salazar(R) defeated Donna Shalala(D)
IA-1: Ashley Hinson(R) defeated Abby Finkenauer(D)
MN-7: Michelle Fischbach(R) defeated Collin Peterson(D)
NM-2: Yvette Herrell(R) defeated Xochitl Small(D)
NY-11: Nicole Malliotakis(R) defeated Max Rose(D)
OK-5: Stephanie Bice(R) defeated Kendra Horn(D)
SC-1: Nancy Mace(R) defeated Joe Cunningham(D)
UT-4: Burgess Owens(R) defeated Ben McAdams(D)

Special Elections 2021-2022:
CA-22: replacing Devin Nunes (R, SPEL summer 2022)
FL-20: replacing Alcee Hastings (D, SPEL Jan. 2022)
LA-2: Troy Carter (R, April 2021)
LA-5: Julia Letlow (R, March 2021)
NM-1: Melanie Stansbury (D, June 2021)
OH-11: Shontel Brown (D, Nov. 2021)
OH-15: Mike Carey (R, Nov. 2021)
TX-6: Jake Ellzey (R, July 2021)
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Page last updated: May 27, 2022; copyright 1999-2022 Jesse Gordon and OnTheIssues.org