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Bills Could Legalize Marijuana

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 04:12 PM CDT

Legalizing marijuana at the federal level and taxing it like alcohol and tobacco. That could be the result if two new bills introduced this week in Washington become law. This comes just a short time after voters in Washington and Colorado legalized pot in their states.
   
Rep. Jared Polis, a Congressman from Colorado introduced the Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act on Tuesday. If it passes, it would take pot off the schedule of controlled substances and prevent the DEA from regulating it. States would then be able to create their own marijuana laws without worrying about a federal crackdown.

Another bill from an Oregon rep would tax pot like alcohol or tobacco. Rep. Earl Blumenauer claims it would save $10 billion per year in law enforcement costs alone.

In Texas, two bills, if they become law, could mean changes to the marijuana laws. Rep. Harold Dutton (D-Houston) has introduced a bill that would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana a Class C misdemeanor, on par with getting a traffic ticket. That would mean no jail time and up to a $500 fine. Right now it’s a Class B misdemeanor, which carries a penalty of up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Rep. Elliott Naishtat (D-Austin) has introduced a bill that would protect doctors who discuss or recommend marijuana with their patients.

While most people we talked to Wednesday morning were for legalization in some form or another, one woman we talked to, who told us she used to smoke pot, said she was against it. She worries about more people using it if it’s decriminalized or legalized and driving under the influence.

A recent national poll shows around 58 percent of Americans favoring legalization. In Texas, a poll put the number around 41 percent.
   
By Adam Bennett
    Bills Could Legalize Marijuana


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