The 2015 legislative session is still months away, but already the smoke signals are starting to rise from certain legalization camps.
State Rep. Bill McCamley, a Democrat from the southern part of the state, said in an interim Health and Human Services Committee meeting that he would like to see the state seriously discussing pot legalization this session.
“Let’s talk about the facts,” he told the committee. “Let’s talk about what’s actually happening in terms of public policy, and let’s not get caught up in stereotypes about what this is or isn’t.”
McCamley said that the state should really begin to talk about the drain on law enforcement and the lost tax revenue from keeping marijuana illegal. He plans on submitting legislation this session, but says that he is still drafting the language.
“If you look at prohibition, it’s basically a failure both in terms of alcohol in the 1920s and the drug war now,” McCamley told the AP this week. “We’re spending all of this money enforcing marijuana laws and prosecuting people for smoking marijuana. That can be used in other law-enforcement efforts like prosecuting rapists and murderers — and that’s important.”
A bill last year failed to gain support in the legislature, but after a year’s worth of tax revenue data and crime data from neighboring Colorado shows that the sky has not fallen lawmakers may be more receptive to the discussion.