2013 could be a big year for pot legalization, if Reps. Jared Polis of (D-CO) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) have anything to do with it. They plan to introduce a bill in Congress on Tuesday that would legalize marijuana and regulate it in the same way as alcohol.
In practice that means states would be free to set their own marijuana laws. Growers would get a federal license in states that legalized. Oversight and enforcement would switch from the DEA to the renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms. And it would still be a crime to bring pot into a state that hadn't made the drug legal.
The bill would also raise tax revenue via a 50% tax on the "first sale," the sale of pot by its grower to a retail seller. It's received bipartisan input, and is based on older legislation drafted by Ron Paul and Barney Frank.
Marijuana advocates are feeling good about their chances, pointing to recent signs like legalization in CO and WA, and Mitch McConnell's turnaround in favor of hemp legalization in KY. "For the first time, the wind is behind our back," said Bill Piper, a director at the Drug Policy Alliance. But other DC insiders claim the bill has no chance of passing, since previous federal legalization measures have always failed.