Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), one of the House Democrats' chief deputy whips, sent an email to her supporters Monday night with glowing praise for her state's recreational marijuana sales, which began New Year's Day.
"It was a big week in Colorado," DeGette wrote. "Across the state, recreational marijuana was sold for the first time. And guess what? The world didn’t end."
Colorado voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana for adults in 2012, but it wasn't until New Year's Day 2014 that state dispensaries could start selling it legally. The new retail market has been characterized by peaceful long lines and high revenue: Denver's 9News reported that pot sales exceeded $1 million around the state on the first day alone.
DeGette is the sponsor of H.R. 964, the Respect States' and Citizens' Rights Act, which would amend the federal Controlled Substances Act to provide that the federal marijuana prohibition would not pre-empt states' laws regarding the drug.
"Colorado and Washington voters made their position clear when they passed laws to legalize recreational marijuana," said Lisa Cohen, DeGette's chief of staff. "That led Congresswoman DeGette to author bipartisan legislation, H.R. 964, to ensure state laws regarding marijuana are not pre-empted by the federal government. H.R. 964 would ensure the will of voters is respected and does not address legalization on the federal level."
"As Colorado and Washington lead the way, many other states are watching closely as they contemplate their own efforts," Cohen added.
Here is DeGette's email from Monday:
It was a big week in Colorado. Across the state, recreational marijuana was sold for the first time. And guess what? The world didn’t end.
Colorado is leading the way, and we can’t let the federal government override Colorado voters and regulate our recreational marijuana sales. I’ve introduced the Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act -- legislation that will help prevent the federal government from imposing its own marijuana regulations on states like Colorado. Can I count on your support?
We need to take this on from day one: make an immediate contribution to send a strong message: respect Colorado voters and respect states.
If there’s one thing I know about Coloradans, it’s that we’re fiercely independent. It’s my duty to protect the decisions that voters in our state make, and that’s a job I take very seriously. 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.
Thank you for joining me in this important fight.