Image of Rep. Diana DeGette (D - Colorado)
Bruce Kennedy ~ WeedWorthy ~
U.S. Representative Diana DeGette says while cannabis reforms have progressed regionally, the campaign for marijuana legalization has a long way to go.
National and multi-state approaches to marijuana laws were a major theme on Tuesday, at the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) business summit and expo in Denver.
Along with the appearance of a presidential candidate from a major political party,  NCIA members heard from U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (D - Colorado); whose First District, as she noted, has more legal marijuana-related businesses than anywhere else in the country.
“The cannabis industry…has a robust presence here, partly because legalization did not return Colorado to its Wild West roots,” she said during her welcoming address at the conference. “Through sensible regulation and tax policies, Colorado is really demonstrating to the rest of the country that this industry can and is operating as responsibly as any other industry, if you give it the right regulatory framework.”
DeGette described herself and her colleagues in other states with marijuana legalization as being part of a vanguard, when it comes to their work in trying to get the federal government to reform its cannabis laws – and especially when it comes to changing marijuana’s listing as a Schedule One controlled substance.
She also noted the resistance that she and other pro-cannabis lawmakers have experienced in Congress.
“Whenever we would approach our colleagues on both sides of the aisle, they would turn and run away from us,” she said. “They didn’t want to talk about this issue, because they didn’t think that this issue affected them in their states. And as you know most of them were wrong, because most of their states either have legalized medical marijuana, or are moving – like California and other states – towards complete legalization of marijuana.”
That being said, DeGette told WeedWorthy she has doubts whether 2016 – and the anticipated marijuana legalization ballots expected next year in anywhere from four to six additional states – will end up being the “tipping point” many analysts expect for the marijuana legalization movement.
“I still think that it would be hard to pass legislation at the federal level, that would completely legalize recreational marijuana,” she said after her NCIA address. “But I think this movement will come, as you’re seeing already, more and more in the states. “

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