Pot advocates storm Capitol Hill

Pot, Marijuana, Legalization, Legalize It
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The marijuana industry is storming Capitol Hill Thursday in a push for legalization.

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is demanding marijuana legalization, tax cuts and banking access as part of a fly-in lobbying day with some 150 pot business owners.

The pot business owners will speak with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle in an effort to build momentum for marijuana-related amendments in government spending bills.

They were joined by a handful of pot-friendly House Democrats, including Reps. Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Jared Polis (Colo.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes-Norton (D.C.).

“It is smoked all over the United States,” Norton told supporters at a rally to kick off the lobbying day. “Unlike alcohol, people can outgrow marijuana, and it doesn’t ruin their lives — and yet we don’t keep people from drinking themselves to death.”

In recent years, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have been more receptive to marijuana reform, with the House passing various amendments to government spending bills that would break down barriers.

Despite a growing interest from some GOP lawmakers, many Republicans remain opposed to marijuana reform. This has stalled the pot movement.

“It’s only a matter of time,” Polis said at the rally.

The marijuana supporters are pushing for pot to be removed from a list of federal list of banned drugs, which would allow states to move forward with legalization efforts.

Only a handful of states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska — and Washington, D.C., have legalized recreational marijuana, but they are facing fierce resistance from the federal government.

The pot activists also want banking access and tax cuts. They are currently prohibited from storing their money in a financial institution, because the profits are generated from an federally banned drug. 

“It’s an invitation to money laundering, it’s an invitation to tax evasion, it’s an invitation to violence, theft, robbery,” Blumenauer said at the rally. “It’s outrageous.”

— This headline was updated at 2:40 p.m.

Tags Earl Blumenauer

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