Colo. representative vows to fight for legalized pot nationwide

On the day Colorado began legally selling marijuana for recreational use, Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) vowed to continue efforts to legalize it in federal law.

He has introduced H.R. 499, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would instruct the U.S. Attorney General to remove marijuana in any form from the Controlled Substances Act and treat the drug the same as alcohol.

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“I applaud Colorado's efforts to implement the will of the voters and will continue my work to pass H.R. 499 to regulate marijuana like alcohol federally,” Polis said.

On Wednesday, Colorado became the first state to sell pot for recreational purposes. Washington state passed a similar law at the same time as Colorado, but its state-run shops aren’t expected to be operating until closer to spring. Other states such as Oregon are considering legalizing the drug for recreational use as well.

“Today Colorado becomes the first state to implement comprehensive marijuana regulation,” Polis said. “By regulating marijuana like alcohol, Colorado voters hope to reduce crime and keep marijuana away from kids.”

The Associated Press reported long lines in snowy weather at several pot shops in Denver on Wednesday.

Last year, the Department of Justice laid out strict guidelines requiring Colorado and Washington to keep the substance within their borders because it remains illegal under federal law.

Polis’s bill would change that. He has 16 co-sponsors, most of whom are from the 18 states and District of Columbia that allow medical marijuana use.

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