COLORADO: Less than a week after the first state-sanctioned sales of marijuana began in Colorado, a U.S. lawmaker from the state is using the issue to raise money.
Rep. Diana DeGette (D), who represents Colorado’s 1st district and is chief deputy whip in the House, sent an e-mail to supporters on Monday arguing that “the world didn’t end” after sales of pot for recreational use began on Jan. 1.
“I’m working hard to make sure that Congress passes legislation to respect states and the overwhelming majority that voted to legalize marijuana in 2012,” she says in bolded text in the e-mail.
“The Congresswoman is pleased that the first few days have gone smoothly,” a spokesman said in a follow-up statement.
That a member of Congress would feel comfortable touting the regulated sale of marijuana in an official communication is a reflection of a rapid shift in attitudes toward the substance, which could not be legally purchased for any reason just two decades ago. Support for legalizing marijuana reached a more than 40-year high in October, according to a Gallup survey. For the first time, Gallup reported, a clear majority of Americans —58 percent—supported legalizing the drug.
DeGette last year introduced the “Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act of 2013,” which would prevent the federal government from preempting state regulations on marijuana.