Why Congressman Jared Polis' run for governor of Colorado is important for nationwide reform – Herb (blog)
After ten years in Congress, vocal cannabis reform advocate Jared Polis is now looking to become the Governor of Colorado. Polis, currently a representative for Colorado’s second district, is running on an ambitious campaign to provide the state with 100% renewable energy by 2040 as well as implement a single-payer health care plan. But as governor of the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, he would also preside over a cannabis market which has set the tone for the rest of the country.
Since Colorado legalized in 2012, reform advocates have cited Colorado’s tax revenues and falling crime rates as a reason to legalize nationally while opponents have claimed that out of state smuggling has flooded surrounding states with organized crime. As a result, the success or failure of Colorado’s recreational market could define national policy and a pot-friendly governor like Polis could make all the difference.
In April, Polis won the state Democratic party’s endorsement, coming in second just behind former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy. He now faces Kennedy in a primary election on June 26th to become the Democratic candidate for governor in November.
Polis has been pushing for smarter drug policy since he was elected in 2008. He’s also the co-founder of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, a group of lawmakers devoted to pushing for cannabis reform that includes legalization icons like Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).
Most recently, Polis spent hours facing down one of Congresses’ most hardline legalization opponents, Texas Rep. Pete Sessions, to protect states where marijuana is legal from federal interference. As chair of the House Rules Committee, Sessions has blocked nearly every pro-marijuana proposal from reaching a vote on the House floor and Polis has fought him every step of the way.
(Photo by Evan Semón)
In 2015, Polis sponsored a