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Colorado Senate Candidates: Feds Should ‘Butt Out’ Of State’s Marijuana Policies


uncle sam marijuana federal charges landlordIn a debate last night between the two major party candidates in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race in Colorado, there was really only one issue Sen. Mark Udall (D) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R) agreed on: the federal government should get out of the way of the state’s legal cannabis industry.

When debate moderator Brandon Rittiman of 9NEWS asked the candidates if they believed Colorado’s legal cannabis businesses should be granted an exemption from federal laws regarding marijuana, both candidates responded positively.

“We need to work together as a [Congressional] delegation to make sure the federal government butts out,” Udall stated in the debate.

“Congress should [grant an exemption],” Udall continued. “I’m working on that. We should do it for a number of reasons. Particularly, the cannabis industry needs access to the banking system. Right now, since marijuana is a Schedule I drug, that access is not available. It’s a public safety hazard, and we will get the job done.”

Gardner agreed, saying, “I don’t know that you could specifically do that for Colorado; there are other states that are doing it. But Congress overall has to take a look at the regulatory system to make sure that Colorado is allowed to follow what it passed, and do so in a way that addresses banking issues and other regulatory issues as they arise throughout the entire system.”

The Respect State Marijuana Laws Act (H.R. 1523) was introduced in the House by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) in 2013. That bill would amend the Controlled Substances Act so that its provisions related to marijuana would not apply to any person acting in compliance with state laws regarding cannabis. This change would help address the many unsustainable conflicts between federal marijuana policy and state mandates that have created legal, regulated marijuana systems. One of the most prominent of these conflicts has led to many legal cannabis businesses being denied access to basic banking services due to the federal regulation of the banking industry.

“Even the bitterest political opponents agree that the federal government is wrong to stand in the way of states taking a smarter approach to marijuana policy,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “The responsible and hard-working small business people who make up this industry deserve to be treated fairly, and it speaks volumes that both Senate candidates in Colorado publicly declared their support for that tonight.”

[A video clip of last night’s exchange on cannabis policy can be found here – go to Part 3: Short Answer Round, and start at 1:50.]

Source: National Cannabis Industry Association


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Johnny Green


  1. Where does it say Gardner wants the federal government to stay out of Marijuana policy in Colorado? He said: “But Congress overall has to take a look at the regulatory system to make sure that Colorado is allowed to follow what it passed” and he doesn’t believe Colorado IS allowed to follow the law! He wrote a letter in protest condemning the justice department for NOT going after the state for the law AND he voted in FAVOR of keeping federal funds for marijuana eradication in Colorado.

  2. Kathleen Chippi on

    have you wondered why cannabis business owners and their employee’s cannot use a bank to launder their illegal ‘drug’ ‘profits’/pay but the state CAN launder millions in marijuana application fees/ licenses fee’s and taxes through JP Morgan Chase?

  3. Kathleen Chippi on

    neither support cannabis legalization. How many years was Udall in Congress before the Senate and also did nothing for CO pro cannabis voters. But what would Aaron Smith know about CO marijuana politics before 2010, except that his friends had too much competition from patients and caregivers.

    “NCIA executive director Aaron Smith. “The responsible and hard-working
    small business people who make up this industry deserve to be treated
    fairly, and it speaks volumes that both Senate candidates in Colorado
    publicly declared their support for that tonight.””

    And, please, Aaron, no small business person can afford to enter the ‘elite’/unreasonable/extortion fee’s/rules/regs to start up or comply thanks to your group and all the Soros funded groups who bought state statutes that violate our constitution and cut 99% of the CO population out of ‘legalization’.

  4. The federal Goverment needs to stay out off all people’s lives when it comes to marijuana. Prohibition is a joke, it’s a waste of tax money , it breads corruption in our police, our Goverment, our corporations that support probition. What we the people need is the freedom to decide if we want to use marijuana for medical use or as an intoxicant. Our government tried to ban alcohol and every politiction during that time drank it. Just like now most government officials have at one time used marijauna, most lie about it. Like they do everything.

  5. I believe he is referring to the lack of banking access for the cannabis industry as the public safety hazard, not marijuana. Any business that is known to hold large amounts of cash on hand is at an increased risk of becoming a target of criminals. Mark Udall is pretty cool if I recall correctly. I believe he is pretty pro-reform, and anti-NSA.

  6. Public safety hazard my ass. The real public safety hazards are nicotine, alcohol, and tylenol. The dupont asshole played a big part in running this ruse on the american public.

  7. I’m glad to hear the young ones understand other issues . “Personhood”, in particular is probably the most egregious legislation of them all. It would be so very odd if Colorado votes in a Gov.that supports marijuana repeal (Beauprez has said that he does) and approves practically the same personhood amendment that voters down in Mississippi took it out with the trash two years ago. Thanks for your reply.

  8. CO has to do the progressive GOTV efforts big time. The younger folks know what’s up on this, and other issues like Personhood, the Patriot Act, etc… They want to control women, control pot smokers, punch hippies, and basically be the redneck daddy party.

    Sad thing is how well it works. If liberals would just get off their lazy asses, we’d never lose another election.

  9. canna-medded, i can see
    true war starts in our own heads, and is best fought through understanding of what causes our unhappiness in the first place, correcting that, in our own heads, as that way no one gets harmed, ideally, too, as it takes no arms, its so easy
    Indiana is my home town
    i no longer have a frown
    as long as their are swell folks as you
    the world is destined to feel the same way too:-)

  10. If Gardner is actually elected he’s only a handful of suburban “save the children” phone calls away from supporting repeal. Plus that hair-cut alone should have disqualified him.

  11. Corey Gardner is full of it. He says there is no personhood amendment at the federal level, but he is a co-sponsor of it.

    Same deal with medicinal weed:


    > Republican opposition votes even came from those who hail from Washington and Colorado, which legalized marijuana completely, and from California, which is one of 22 states with a robust medical marijuana program. California Republican Reps. to vote “no” included Paul Cook, Jeff Denham, Doug LaMalfa and David Valadao. Republicans from Colorado to rebuff the amendment were Cory Gardner, who is running for Senate, and Scott Tipton. Dave Reichert from Washington also voted “no.”



    > In Pierre’s view, “the worm has turned” due to increasing popular support for marijuana legalization in Colorado and nationwide, and as a result, “it’s likely that we will have the ability to direct people to these votes” — particularly in the case of Gardner, whose race against Udall “has huge national implications.”

    So, as usual, a Republican says one thing and does another on this issue.

  12. but then again, we can not look up to those who admire words such as Si vis pacem, para bellum.
    how can any people believe that is the only way, makes for people being awfully sore

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