I am US Representative Jared Polis (D-CO), today I introduced the "Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act!"

I'm co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus, fight for FCC Broadband privacy, net neutrality, helped defeat SOPA/PIPA. I am very involved with education, immigration, tech, and entrepreneurship policy. Ever wonder what it's like to be a member of Congress? AMA

Before Congress I started several internet companies, charter schools, and served on various non-profit boards. 41 y/o and father of two (2 and 5).

Here's a link to an article about the bill I introduced today to regulate marijuana like alcohol: http://www.thecannabist.co/2017/03/30/regulate-marijuana-like-alcohol-federal-legislation-polis/76324/

Proof: http://imgur.com/a/C2D1l

Edit 10:56: goodnight reddit, I'll answer more tomorrow morning off to bed now

Edit: It's 10:35 pm MT, about to stop for the night but I'll be back tomorrow am to answer the most upvoted questions from the night

Edit: 8:15 am catching up on anwers

Edit 1:30 pm well I got to as many as I can, heading out now, will probably hit a few more tonight, thanks for the great AMA I'll be back sometime for another!

Comments: 2287 • Responses: 100  • Date: 

My3rdTesticle1688 karma

In cannabis-legal states like yours, the industry has created many jobs. If legalization on the federal level occurs do you feel those small businesses will be forced out of the market by a small handful of large corporations?

jaredpolis2905 karma

dunno. Markets are markets. I'm sure there will be some big players and some small players. We have to make sure that any laws and regs are easy for small players to navigate. There are lots of small liquor stores but also some chains it will probably be like that.

iwrotedabible863 karma

Gotta quibble with your last sentence there. The repeal of alcohol prohibition set up a system wherein manufacturers could not also directly own retail outlets (more or less). In CO your alcohol sales laws are different than in my state, so I'm not exactly sure how it would shake out given a state by state basis, but the original question seems to imply producers too. Your reply mentions the existence of large and small retail outlets, but that is not really the question at hand.

I'd urge you to look into the trend of consolidation in beer distributors over the last 10 years and how the craft beer movement has played out in your state and others. There are a lot of lessons to be gleaned about how the end of cannabis prohibition might play out.

I think OP's question isn't about where retail jobs might land (of course there will be all sorts of business sizes to fit local markets) but more about how wealthy interests (like Big Tobacco, AB Inbev, etc) might be able to swoop into a fledgling industry and quickly squash the independent producers that made this market possible in the first place. I don't think it takes an economist to understand that, in terms of creating quality jobs, it is more beneficial to have a lot of small-medium sized "players" than a few well oiled corporate entities that leverage their existing infrastructure and lobbying power to achieve market hegemony.

jaredpolis1160 karma

yes what I mean is that it will play out at the state level and states will have different laws. Some will prohibit vertical integration (grower and dispensary) others might require it. Some won't give more than a certain number of permits to a particular company. in some states like PA the state actually runs the alcohol stores (weird but true). So the interaction of markets and local regs will determine the outcome but I think it's likely a few larger players will emerge.

iwrotedabible856 karma

Agree Agree Agree. Wow, you've made my day!

This is the first interaction I've had with a congressional representative that wasn't a pre-filled letter. So cool.

BTW I have family in your district and I guarantee they probably voted for you. :)

  • Shout out to the pedantic police I triggered with my "guarantee probably" wordplay! Hey guys! In Language, you can subvert the expected context of your wording for comedic effect! Hey! Wowzers!

jaredpolis721 karma

say hi to them for me!

jaredpolis1621 karma

ok It's 6:45 MT and I'm here, let the party begin!

dtfgator1727 karma

I lived nearby your office last year and would frequently park in your lot on the weekends - 10/10 would vote for you again.

jaredpolis1466 karma

yeah weekends are fine, but during the week you might get towed ;)

You probably saw me walk my dog sometimes too

Hoodrich282764 karma

Well we need the obligatory picture of your dog now

twaxana71 karma

+1 for geek cred

jaredpolis148 karma

haha hieroglyphic Star Wars :)

allsortsashit77 karma

/u/jaredpolis we seriously need a pic of you and your dog or just your dog.

faco_fuesday78 karma


jaredpolis444 karma

and heeeeeeeeeeeeere's Gia: http://imgur.com/a/VOxnq

faco_fuesday113 karma

Dog payment satisfactory. Mob has quieted. You may proceed to the next quest.

jaredpolis207 karma

yeah it took me a while to transfer from my phone to computer because nothing is ever as easy as it's supposed to be

CinderCinnamon20 karma

What breed is she? Also please boop her snoot for us

jaredpolis32 karma

she's a terrier mix, almost 8 years old, adopted her as a puppy

bjaydubya85 karma

I'm recently returned to CO (grew up here) from Oregon; I'm super happy to have someone like you representing us. What can I do to help?

jaredpolis175 karma

welcome back to CO! Say hi if you see me around. our state is going well, not that we don't have our challenges but it's a great time to be in CO!

thrashpants1043 karma

JARED!! So happy to have you as my representative. I know you support the concept of single payer nationally, will you join the current bill as a cosponsor?

Keep up the good work!

I also can't wait to see you in April once the house is in recess!

Second question: in your opinion why is the democratic leadership (and Democratic party as a whole) so unpopular?

Third: do you still play LoL?

jaredpolis1476 karma

hope to see you soon! Our tactic is rather than bring forward our plans for health care, we want to first defend what we have. It is under immediate fire. There is no chance with the current Congress to move towards Medicare for All.

When I look at the Democratic Party being so unpopular, you have to also consider that the Republican party is just as unpopular. I think people (particularly younger people) just strongly dislike parties in part because they are seen as top-down power structures. So it's not so much the Democratic Party as parties in general.

I love LoL but haven't played in a few months!

thrashpants329 karma

Follow ups!

I take that as a no to join as a co-sponsor? :( I feel that line of first defending Obamacare (which is fantastic, but flawed!) comes from the leadership as it's a line commonly hit by all congressional Ds. Why not take the lead on this? 81% of Dems support it, 58% of public do. So what if it can't be passed; this is what the people support and in my eyes can help to repair the Party image and give the grassroots energy (a win! which are few and far between, especially to those of us on the left of the party) to truly resist trump.

Regarding unpopular parties, do you believe that the image that neither party truly represents the people plays into that unpopularity? Senator Sanders was able to speak to the individual and that is why his campaign flourished. He stood for all of us, not corporations/big money interests. How can we combat the popularity issue in your eyes (ie, ensure Dems turn out)?

Also a new question: do you consider yourself progressive? Liberal? Is there a difference to you?

jaredpolis881 karma

1) Well there are a lot of issues we want to lead on. Yes healthcare is one. How about immigration reform? how about a carbon tax or cap and trade? I can think of so many things. The danger isn't so much in this one bill as in if we focus on all these things that we can't pass with the current Congress we are taking our eye off the ball in stopping the bad stuff.

2) yeah I think that Senator Sanders has a lot of personal popularity but that doesn't make the Democrats any more popular. Same with Republicans. There are many people who love Trump but dislike the Republicans. I think people see them as top-down and run by elites and not responsive to the people. I think we can combat the lack of popularity by showing people the HUGE difference. Like all the horrible stuff Republicans are passing daily. Democrats wouldn't do that. We can certainly talk about our ideas for the Country too and how they differ.

I don't know what I call myself, obviously others call me all sorts of things (including 4 letter words). Liberal to be is an older-sounding term and it also has another meaning in "classic liberal" than today's liberal. Progressive also has one meaning from the early 20th century and a related, but also different, meaning now. I love progress and moving forward and am very future oriented so I guess I would pick progressive over liberal.

thrashpants191 karma

Thanks for taking my questions!

jaredpolis252 karma

see you in a week or two!

moana88712 karma

Sounds like you're one of the few super achievers out there. My question is, what drives you?

jaredpolis2027 karma

My Chauffeur! (just kidding I don't have one I drive myself)

coryrenton515 karma

which low-profile reps hold more power due to committee chair positions etc... than most people would think?

jaredpolis789 karma

I would say Kevin Brady (R-TX) in charge of all tax issues (Chairman, Ways and Means) and Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) in charge of spending (Chairman, Appropriations) and I'll add the Chairman of my committee, the Rules Committee, Pete Sessions (R-TX)

daryk44351 karma

Mr. Polis, as a citizen from CO, I would like thank you for taking the time to speak with your constituents as opposed to a certain senator from CO.

What type of support for cannabis regulation to you see from your fellow members of Congress? Do you see this act gaining any major support from specific legislators that people wouldn't expect?

jaredpolis351 karma

There is much more support when a representatives home state has moved forward with legalization. It's a theoretical issue if it's not happening at home. Now so many states have moved forward we have a lot more allies on both sides of the aisle.

Lorbmick323 karma

Thanks for being my rep Mr. Polis. What are your plans to fight President Trump's recent executive order on climate change and the EPA?

jaredpolis635 karma

Doing everything I can... Today introduced CLIMATE Act along with several colleagues to prevent these new executive orders from being implemented. Of course it's more an effort to use our soapbox because obviously he wouldn't sign these bills even if they somehow passed. There might be some opportunities in tax reform too. The real battle will be to defend funding for EPA and renewable research, and then work hard to elect a Congress that cares more about the environment and climate issues.

iwascompromised316 karma

Since the rule about broadband privacy protection was rolled back as part of Congressional Review and that supposedly means the same rule can't be passed again, what does the future of internet privacy as it relates to the votes that cleared this week look like? Could Congress, or the future FCC, pass similar rules/legislation that provide the same protections that were reversed? Or can the current Congress/FCC pass rules/legislation that can at least restrict what ISPs can do with the data?

jaredpolis536 karma

Congress could certainly pass a law that resembled the rule- but keep in mind this is the same Congress composed of people who overturned the rule so not likely. But yes, if members of Congress change their minds or a future election gives us a more privacy-minded Congress we can make broadband privacy the law of the land

iwascompromised242 karma

a future election gives us a more privacy-minded Congress

That's my hope. I'm about to turn 30 and have only voted in 3 (4?) federal elections and have never really actively looked into my candidates. I've simply voted Republican up until November when I voted for Johnson and a couple of other libertarian candidates on the ballot.

I recently discovered the New Democrat Caucus and it seems to be much more aligned with where I find myself politically these days. It's so frustrating to me that privacy, of all things, is such a partisan issue.

jaredpolis738 karma

yeah both parties are very large coalitions, and privacy is one of those issues that has some very good Ds and some very good Rs working together, so it's important to dig deeper than party.

Libertarians are really good (better than Ds and Rs) on the government side of privacy (preventing gov from having your private info) but not as good at protecting against privacy from big corporations. Theoretically, the market should take care of privacy but the problem is that in something like broadband most consumers don't really have a choice.

ImnotfamousAMA268 karma

Can I just say I decided to try "Sort by controversial" and I'm very impressed you're taking the mean spirited questions?

Sorry, I can't vote for you as I live in NC, but I would if I could

jaredpolis355 karma

oh, I try to respond to them all, especially constituents, part of my job!

SoraMarch255 karma

Hey Mr. Polis,

Have you ever seen this video of you singing about our lovely state? I absolutely love it.


Thanks, Jesse

jaredpolis314 karma

yes it's a really catchy tune! Love it! I showed it to Rep. Flemming and I'm not sure he knew what he was looking at

LancerX195 karma

Mr Polis,

I love Boulder County and prize the shared values we have here. But... we live in Longmont which means instead of having a cool high-tech progressive Representative, our family is stuck in The District That Time Forgot. I need some Real Talk here: Is there any chance at all of either the district swinging moderate anytime soon or Longmont moving to the 2nd District after the next census?

Don't get me wrong, I'll all about fighting the good fight, but I'm old enough now to know when to pick my battles.

Thanks, and nice job on the bill today!

jaredpolis279 karma

haha, well you can consider me your honorary rep. There will be a new census in 2020 and redistricting, so you never know! Because CO has increased in population we will add a seat and therefore all districts will shrink. Even though the 2nd District will shrink, who knows maybe it will include all of Boulder County?

In any event, your district did have a wonderful Democratic Rep Betsy Markey for one term, 2008-2010 so it IS possible in the right year!

Romnonaldao167 karma

What will it take to get congress to leave the internet alone?

jaredpolis558 karma

new congress?

TomBradyWinsAgain159 karma

Thanks for being accessible. Can you ask your colleague Cory Gardner to do the same?

I support your "Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act!" How can we solve the concern of driving under the influence of marijuana? Alcohol intoxication can be determined by BAC. Current law tests of the presence of marijuana in the system using tests that only confirm the presence of marijuana in the bloodstream. Science says that it may be detected in your blood up to 30 days after consuming marijuana. It is unlikely that anyone is under the influence 30 days after the fact. What science can be used to determine intoxication? Follow up: How can we get more research going in Colorado on how to better determine marijuana intoxication?

jaredpolis142 karma

there are actually some good testing technologies, but nothing is perfect!

An article about my efforts in this area: http://www.westword.com/news/lucid-act-update-details-about-federal-stoned-driving-bill-proposal-6767074

BungalowDweller123 karma

Mr. Polis, thanks for your service! I was sad to move out of your district, but am happily supporting Rep. Degette as my new Rep.

Hot-potato question re Rep. Devin Nunes. Do his actions with the Intelligence Committee potentially rise to the level of being exposed to investigation by the Ethics Committee for conflict of interest?

If you can't answer that... Behind the scenes, do most fellow committee members (Schiff & Nunes) have the type of rapport that allows them to, behind closed doors, say "dude, WTF?"

Thanks, and keep up the wonderful work on our behalf!

jaredpolis195 karma

On your second question, I think that most of the members are more friendly and informal with one another behind the scenes. If I had a problem with the Chair of my committee I would definitely approach them informally and see what's up.

river0tt3r104 karma

Hi Jared,

I am a constituent of yours and I just wanted to thank you so very much for signing the bipartisan letter to the DEA urging them to halt their scheduling of kratom. I emailed and called your office and I definitely felt that my voice was being heard and represented. As someone who has used kratom for over a decade, I really, from the bottom of my heart thank you for protecting my rights and freedom. This plant is enormously beneficial to me and many thousands, if not millions of Americans. I appreciate that you are looking out for people like me and the rest of our community.

Had you heard about kratom before the DEA completely overstepped their authority and brought it into public discourse?

jaredpolis91 karma

It really came to my attention then. I had read maybe an article about it and vaguely heard about it before, but then I had to spring into action when they surprised us and I'm so glad it worked (for now)

ChesterAMillardPolk103 karma

Congrats on seemingly being both a decent human being AND a Congressman ;)

What are your thoughts on Universal Basic Income?

jaredpolis142 karma

I want to see more data and information on it, it's an intriguing idea

Kharn097 karma

Can we use the weed money to give our awesome state single-payer healthcare? I don't want to be uninsured anymore :/

jaredpolis225 karma

it's not enough $$$$

It is helping build and repair some schools though!

ncraniel88 karma

Hi, big fan of marijuana legalization (not just for the fun aspect) but I am a big believer that hemp and marijuana is an untapped industry and will create tens of thousands of jobs as well as cripple cartels, allowing us to decrease some expenses in the DEA and other departments. How have other reps in congress reacted to the jobs and savings arguments and aspects of legalization of marijuana? To me, it seems between tax revenue and jobs, we'd be stupid to continue to deprive the market and personal freedoms associated with legalization.

jaredpolis137 karma

we've already created tens of thousands of jobs in Colorado! Growers, dispensaries, products, but it's also pumped money into alternative newspapers (ads) and real estate (leases). It's been good for our economy.

Autodidact278 karma

waves from Denver Keep up the good work! Two questions:

(1) How do you think this developing Trump/Russia scandal is going to play out? (Do you think President Trump will last a full term?)

(2) What is the best way we Coloradans can resist and combat the Trump regime?

Thank you.

jaredpolis234 karma

1) I have no idea if Trump will last, it depends on what he actually did. There is a lot of smoke, we don't know if the Russian connection goes all the way to him or just a suspiciously high number of people around him. I do think that we will get to the bottom of it and if he committed an impeachable act he will be held accountable, but it could take time

2) all the calls and letters to reps have been helpful, peaceful marches too, but most importantly volunteer for good candidates and VOTE in 2018! If Democrats take the House back it's a different ball game entirely

GuruMeditationError43 karma

Do you think that all of the confidence on the Democrats' side with Trump's massive losses so far will create overconfidence in the 2018 Senate races? Basically are Democrats deluding themselves like in 2016? Same question regarding the 2020 redistricting also.

jaredpolis186 karma

Trump was unpopular when he won the election and yet he still won. So we should take NOTHING for granted. This could be a long haul.

aj_robinson2652 karma

How nervous were you on your first day?

jaredpolis80 karma

more excited than nervous!

thinkB4WeSpeak48 karma

What do you think should be done to stop gerrymandering? Also what are the pros and cons of term limits for Congress?

jaredpolis131 karma

someone mentioned this earlier, a ballot initiative like California passed would take districting out of the hands of politicians and give it to a non-partisan commission, I think it would pass in most places it was put on the ballot.

Term limits, pros are you get new blood in and have more opportunities for people to use their real world skills and knowledge cons are that it makes lobbyists more powerful as they become the institutional memory and you also lose historical knowledge

wrecksalot45 karma

What is your opinion on the electoral college?

jaredpolis154 karma

We should abolish it and directly elect our President

Xavdidtheshadow44 karma

I don't live in Boulder anymore so you were never actually my rep, but you're still one of my favorite! I've got a couple of quick questions. Thanks for doing this AMA!

  1. There's been a lot of talk recently (especially on the left) about the best way to contact our representatives. The idea that "oh actually they don't read emails, you have to call to have your voice count" is the basis for projects like https://www.callsforchange.com/ and https://5calls.org/. I figure it differs between reps, but is there a best or worst way to make our voice heard?
  2. With Republicans controlling both the legislative and executive branches (and having a lot of sway on the judicial with the current and any possible future vacancies), what does that say about the system of checks and balances we rely on? With a congressional majority in both houses, it seems like they can pass any legislation they want without democrats having a formal say. Is that the case, and if so, what do we do before 2018?
  3. Do you still play League of Legends at all? I remember first hearing about you through that subreddit years ago.

Again, thanks so much for your time. Take care!

jaredpolis78 karma

  1. I think calls and letters from constituents are both great. Petitions don't do much. Same when I hear from people in other states.

  2. We still have the judiciary! Also keep in mind that both parties are broad tents to we (Democrats) weren't able to pass everything we wanted when we were in the majority (no immigration reform or carbon emission reduction) and the Republicans so far can't even seem to repeal Obamacare which they have said they wanted to do for years.

jaredpolis63 karma

  1. oh and I haven't played in a few months

itwasquiteawhileago41 karma

Can you be my rep too? I'm stuck with Chris Collins. It doesn't seem fair.

jaredpolis114 karma

well I don't think that upstate NY will be added to my district anytime soon, but hey you never know! btw my mom is from Peekskill

Alpaca_Nixon38 karma

Hi Jared! CSU alum here who always appreciated you stopping by.

In these uncertain times, we all need to take comfort in our fermented beverages. So how's the kombucha bill you introduced doing?

jaredpolis94 karma

we are trying to get clarity for kombucha, the FDA at times has threatened to regulate it like alcoholic beverages (which would make it much harder to buy and put many small companies out of business)! We have good bipartisan support and I think we can get our "fix" into the appropriate bill. There's a similar law already on the books regarding apple cider. It turns out that if you leave cider out it also ferments (duh) so they have a special exemption. I actually had to talk to a fermentation professor at CSU to explain all this to me to help craft the bill!

Porkbut36 karma

Do you like sandwiches, if so, what's your favorite type of sandwich?

jaredpolis87 karma

don't love sandwiches, hold the bread. Or just bread and no sandwich also good.

titsandsoccer33 karma

Hello Senator!

CO resident here. I want to ask you your position/thoughts on off-grid living. I know that some people who live on their own land prefer to take their own responsibility when it comes to shelter and energy.

In many places, there are ordinances governing what can and cannot be done in this regard. In other places (like much of the San Luis Valley), there are fewer restrictions and usually just a permit required to live in a "non permanent" residence. I read a story recently that echoed concerns from citizens who were denied permits and essentially evected from their own land.

I believe the trend of living off-grid, in tiny home, earthships, etc. is growing exponentially. With this growth, there is at some point going to be a request from these people that their lifestyles are legitimate and should be permitted fully (at least outside of urban areas)

So, what do you think of this, and where do you see room for improvement or protection for this demographic?

jaredpolis91 karma

I think it's an interesting and responsible lifestyle, but it's also not for everyone. I don't know if it is a scaleable part of significantly reducing our carbon emissions. That being said I would support policies that make it easier for people to live off the grid if they want.

hello_sweetie_26 karma

Not a real political question, but I sat right above the Dems dugout at the congressional baseball game last year and we were screaming for you the whole night. How do you sign up for that? Is there like a sign up sheet passed around the House floor or something?

jaredpolis54 karma

last year I didn't hit as well as usual (neither did our whole team, d*mn knuckleballs)...

We have begun baseball practice already and hope you can make it again this year. We practice most weekday mornings 7 am.

We recruit one another to play, no list to sign you just show up.

Fail_Panda25 karma

Representative Polis, I've been a fan of yours since you were on one of the late night shows a few years ago (the Daily Show maybe). Do you have plans to go on again? You are very well spoken.

jaredpolis36 karma

nothing planned right now but it would be fun to do again!

90sRapStar25 karma

How often to you speak with our Senators? Weekly? Never? Only Bennet?

jaredpolis54 karma

I spoke to Gardner last week, I'd say I speak to him about once/month.

Bennet sometimes I will speak with several times a week and other times it could go a month or more not seeing him or talking to him.

So on average Bennet once/week and Gardner once/month

MurrayPloppins20 karma

What's the tone of those interactions? Is it generally focused on getting particular things done for CO, or are there ever broader policy discussions at play?

jaredpolis63 karma

I wouldn't hesitate to call either one if there is a Senate vote coming up I think they should pay attention to, or a bill that I want to do with them. I would say our discussions are 75% Colorado issues and 25% general issues. I called Gardner last week on an education issue for instance.

MillionDollarCheese25 karma

Hi, Mrs Polis. Hope your evening is going well. Some questions:

  • would the decriminalization under your bill mean marijuana sellers could now deposit their cash in FDIC banks?

  • similarly, would the rule preventing "drug dealers" from deducting operating expenses (e.g. rent, utilities, advertising, salaries, overhead, etc.) on their taxes be circumvented?

  • if you had to entertain royalty by making sandwiches and hosting lunch, describe the sandwich you would make and the luncheon you would put on.

jaredpolis176 karma

also I'm Mr, not Mrs. but I'm flattered that my drag is so convincing.

MillionDollarCheese28 karma

Sorry! Typo on my phone.

jaredpolis211 karma

and i thought it was my high heels...

jaredpolis54 karma

1) Yes it would solve the banking issue (we also have narrow legislation to solve that issue, but it would be solved by the comprehensive bill) 2) the tax companion bill (Wyden and Blumenhauer) of which my regulation bill is a part would "fix" this tax issue 3) well having it be for royalty kinda limits it, aren't that many royals around... probably I'd host it for a bunch of Micro Nation kings they seem like an entertaining lot and I'd serve vegan food: http://www.haaretz.com/world-news/1.651244

MillionDollarCheese11 karma

Sure, but what kind of sandwich would you serve?

trebleclefjeff19 karma

Hello Jared,

Good work and thanks for being active and willing to face adversity. What has been your biggest frustration, mistake, and what keeps you positive?

jaredpolis58 karma

well I think so many of us thought Trump couldn't win, but then he did :( I did go to PA to campaign for Hillary but I guess I could have done even more if I knew where it was headed.

I stay positive because I believe in this country and I know that things will swing back at some point to rationality.

maxis1018 karma

Now that Trump has announced he wants to get rid of net neutrality, what should we do to stop that? How will we be able to build momentum for another large protest like in 2014?

jaredpolis39 karma

I think the best effort would be to win an election for another pro net neutrality President and a pro net neutrality Congress.

There are legislative efforts to create some compromise laws around net neutrality but we have to be very careful about those.

I think as long as providers know that net neutrality could be around the corner, they will be discouraged from implementing complex tiering and pricing systems because of the uncertainty around them.

kayonesoft16 karma

Hello! First of all, thank you for the work that you do.

My question is not so much related the things that you're fighting for/against but I'd like to see what your perspective is being someone on the inside.

Q. How do you feel about the increasing polarization (or partisanship if you will) between the two parties, its representatives and its constituents? Do you think it's healthy for our democracy for the two major parties to increasingly vote down the party lines regardless of what they or the people of the nation believe/want?

Q. How do you view the current political climate when it comes to lobbying by large corporations? Do you view a large imbalance in influence when it comes to what corporations want vs what the public wants? If you do see it as an issue, do you have any ideas on where to begin fixing it?

Thank you very much for taking time out of your no doubt busy schedule to talk to people on Reddit.

jaredpolis60 karma

Q. How do you feel about the increasing polarization (or partisanship if you will) between the two parties, its representatives and its constituents? Do you think it's healthy for our democracy for the two major parties to increasingly vote down the party lines regardless of what they or the people of the nation believe/want?

I think that the parties and the elected officials reflect the polarization of American society. people get their news from different sources, almost have different "facts." it's scary.

Q. How do you view the current political climate when it comes to lobbying by large corporations? Do you view a large imbalance in influence when it comes to what corporations want vs what the public wants? If you do see it as an issue, do you have any ideas on where to begin fixing it?

I think campaign finance reform would help this a lot, including public matching funds for small donations and getting rid of PACs, the arm of companies that can actually give to candidates. and overturning Citizen's United

nihaoshabi16 karma

Thank you Congressman for both doing this AMA and introducing the bill. As someone who is stuck with Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), I am pleased to see that some of my fellow countrymen get to be represented by someone who isn't a hack. My questions are as follows:

  1. What role does the pharmaceutical industry play in lobbying against legalization? In Arizona, the makers of Fentanyl donated to the opposition campaign in the state's legalization referendum that was on the ballot last November. My understanding (and I could be wrong) is that they were in the process of developing a synthetic form of THC that they wished to sell. Legalized marijuana would hurt their bottom line. Such an example is rather narrow, so I'm wondering if pharma, as a whole, tends to oppose legalization. How much?

  2. What are your views on decriminalization of other drugs? When should a drug be criminalized and when should it not be? Should all drug offenders receive treatment as opposed to jail time? If so, what about cost considerations? If not, to what extent should the penal system seek to provide treatment.

Thanks again!

jaredpolis41 karma

  1. I think that pharma has bigger fish to fry and generally has NOT been very engaged (with a few exceptions) in opposing legalization. that's just my observations.

2) Marijuana is a clear cut case. For highly addictive narcotics like heroin, I do think that there are times that the criminal justice system needs to be involved, but abuse is first and foremost a health issue (physical through addiction, and also mental health).

Piximon10 karma

Oh hey I live in fort Collins! Thanks for representing us! I've voted for you a number of times, just never expected you to pop up on my Reddit feed!

Anyway, how long per year do you spend fundraising?

jaredpolis22 karma


I think 4-6 hours/week fundraising is average for me

porkman3848 karma

Hi Mr Polis,

If your law were to hit the floor today, I believe it would be a very close vote. Most of your colleagues have made their position clear and would be very predictable. Who are the people on the fence we should be paying attention to?

Similarly, if the vote were to happen tomorrow, any guess as to the approximate yea's, nay's, and toss-ups? I'm sure you're tracking positions on this.

jaredpolis16 karma

It's really close. The last time we brought up our similar amendment we lost by 10 votes. Now there are new members and I think more of them support getting the federal government out of it than the retired ones.

I think the new reps in particular who haven't voted on it yet are great ones to reach out to the outcome will be in their hands.

ningrim7 karma

Why should Google be allowed to sell user data, but not ISPs?

jaredpolis55 karma

That's COMPLETELY different. for Search, which is just one of many activities that people do on the internet, competition is just a click away: http://searchengineland.com/googles-search-market-share-actually-dropping-237045 If you don't want Google having your data, use Bing or AOL or whatever other search engine you want.

With broadband, I have Comcast. They are the only provider in my area. I don't know how I would even have high speed access in my home and I would pretty much need to accept whatever (lack thereof) of a privacy policy they force on me.

codesForLiving7 karma

Hey Congressman,

What are the major obstacles to successful regulation of Marijuana?

jaredpolis30 karma

mostly just laws and political change. Colorado showed that it can be done. Nothing is perfect but our regulations are much better than prohibition.

loveablehydralisk6 karma


Since it looks like your colleague from the 7th is going to make a run for governor, who would you like to see replace him?

Also, what do you think it's going to take to win the 6th?

jaredpolis17 karma

I think if Ed runs there are a lot of great Dems in his district who would step up. No early favorite. Not evading or anything, it's just way too early to say.

I think 2018 is the time to finally win the 6th, hopefully we'll have a strong candidate up and going soon.

ningrim6 karma

should zero-rating services be outlawed?

they would seem to be a clear violation of net-neutrality

jaredpolis14 karma

that's a good question... the main difference is that the consumer receives the zero-rated services for free, so if something wants to provide something that isn't the internet (like access to a proprietary network) for free and charge for internet access, I think that's probably ok. What do you think?

I try to think of the various use/abuse cases but would love more input on this. I don't want to discourage free services.

ToplessKitten6 karma

which city in Colorado should I move to?

But more seriously, if you had unlimited amounts of money, how would you safe the world?

jaredpolis34 karma

Boulder and Fort Collins are great!

I think renewable energy tech is critical to save the world

chefcant5 karma

Do you feel that anything should be done to regulate the real estate in your state? From what I understand since legalizing marijuana you guys have seen a huge boom in prices that could put undue hardship on people already living there. I.e being priced out of an apartment you have had for years.

jaredpolis19 karma

I don't think that marijuana directly led to residential real estate price increases, but in general our economy is doing better and yes it's becoming hard to live most places like Boulder and Fort Collins in my district but also Denver. People have to move farther out to afford to live. There is no easy answer but I know our state legislature is considering some measures and local governments also have to make zoning and density decisions.

ciscodankonia5 karma

Why can't we just decriminalize cannibis based on the fact that the origin of the laws were all based on racist propaganda used to further the agenda of primarily the duPont family, to criminalize hemp and introduce inferior products like nylon for use in shipping and textiles?

jaredpolis22 karma


TalksShitAboutTotal5 karma

Mr. Polis,

Seeing how Colorado set the example for legalization, opponents of this bill might point to interstate marijuana trafficking en masse, or the uncertainty of testing THC impairment in drivers as a reason to vote against it. Do you have anything to say to naysayers in the House?

Also, there are plenty of veterans in our district that are happy you're our guy, so thanks! 👍

jaredpolis9 karma

yeah, there is marijuana use whether it is legal or illegal. By making it legal we take the money away from cartels and drug dealers and give it to legitimate people who are heavily regulated. It's safer and the taxes help other public projects.

Driving impairment is important to have laws on the books. Here's an article about some of my work in that area: http://www.westword.com/news/lucid-act-update-details-about-federal-stoned-driving-bill-proposal-6767074

Zskills4 karma

Do you think that people who disagree with you have rational points of view but disagree, or is it really all about the money? I happen to agree with you strongly on both of those issues. I think it's self evident that our view is the correct view and cannot imagine viewing either issue from the contrasting point of view.

jaredpolis16 karma

Well somehow, 40% of the country thinks Trump is doing a great job and is not only right but is a terrific President. So I don't think special interests have bought off all those people, somehow they rationalize it in their minds.

Wheres_The_Pepsi4 karma

Any plans on running for President in 2020, Mr. Representative? The Democratic Party needs a strong contender with mass appeal, and I think your views, policies, and career would be quite popular amongst many Americans.

P.S. I wish I lived in your district, even though I don't think I could personally afford it. Stuck down here with Lamborn instead.

jaredpolis18 karma

I doubt it. I have a 2 year old and 5 year old and want them to have a somewhat normal childhood.

sagemoody4 karma

Why is the lack of net neutrality viewed as a good thing among your peers?

jaredpolis12 karma

you would have to ask them. I think maybe they don't understand it, I have heard them call it a "government takeover of the internet"

LoafersOfNigget3 karma

In your view, what do you think is the biggest obstacle keeping the US from nationwide marijuana legalization? (like it is in Colorado)

jaredpolis10 karma

so far the states that have votes by the people (initiatives) are the ones that have moved forward. Politicians (elected state legislators) don't seem to want to do it. So 24 states have no initiative/referendum process and none of them (that I know of) have legalized marijuana!

annabel_lee_eap3 karma

Hello Mr. Polis! I had an internship with your office during my Junior year of high school at Mapleton Early College High School. For personal reasons, I regrettably could not continue the internship. I'd just like to thank you for the great opportunity since I never got the chance to do so. I learned an immensely valuable amount interning in your office and helping out with your constituents' immigration cases.

It's great to see you are doing well and still continue to be one of the good guys in politics. Your stances were progressive then, good to see you haven't changed. We need people like you in government more than ever now! Keep up the good fight!

My question is this, what do you think the young generations can do to have the most impact on our government right now? It seems that in the last election especially the younger generations' voices were drowned out, unfortunately.

Greetings from your former intern in Thornton! :)

jaredpolis8 karma

Great to hear from you! Did you work with Gina at our office in Mapleton? or our Boulder office? I am sorry you weren't able to finish it. Hopefully we got to meet!

Young people need to get involved and vote. I hope that watching Trump is helping people of all ages (and young people) realize what's at stake. Some people avoid voting and say there aren't any differences... well there are HUGE differences and we're seeing that now.

Chknfroglegs3 karma

Sorry I'm a little late to the Polis AMA party! I've been tracking how you vote and thank you for always properly representing us!

Our privacy laws (or lack there of) can impact our economy as seen when the EU invalidated the US-EU Safe Harbor agreement in 2015. US businesses, including many in Colorado, invest significantly in privacy programs and then our laws or actions of security agencies undercut all of their privacy efforts. What will it take for Congress to think through all of the consequences of surveillance and anti-privacy laws?

jaredpolis9 karma

Well repealing the broadband privacy rule is the wrong direction. Also there are a lot of trojan horses in "cybersecurity" bills that could also impact privacy. I constantly watch and monitor those and work with Ds and Rs to defend privacy. I think a lot of reps don't understand the importance of privacy laws to the internet ecosystem and the jobs it creates as well as the services provided for all of us.

MediocrityProdigy3 karma

You are a hero fighting for the right stuff. I went through a lot of comments to see if it was asked already but I want to get this question in: What is the plan for people currently incarcerated for marijuana related crimes or they have an offense on their record if marijuana were to become legally recreational?

jaredpolis8 karma

To be clear, there are still people prosecuted and jailed for marijuana crimes in CO. If you are caught smuggling or illegally growing or selling marijuana we are very serious about enforcing our laws and sending people to prison.

Mostly our state treated possession of a small amount or even dealing a small amount as a small crime, so I would be shocked if anyone is still in jail for that after so many years! There may still be people in jail for large scale smuggling or dealing, activities that are still illegal under current law.

I'm not sure a law can fix this, I think a governor carefully reviewing old cases and granting pardons if appropriate might be the best way.

Alwayssunnyinarizona3 karma

Go Jared! Former constituent of yours.

Would you ever consider moving to Maricopa County to serve?

jaredpolis9 karma

there are times in winter that I think of it....



Why has your wealth increased year over year when you claim to represent the people? Boulder County sold exactly 3 houses under 240k in 2015, yet you continue your campaign against the poor by your policies, never visit the poor in "Republican" counties you claim to represent, and only took a stance on any of this after you made your millions selling out your startup.

jaredpolis3 karma

not sure what you mean I visit all the counties I represent regularly, hold town halls, and never ask what someone is worth before or while meeting with them. I represent a diverse district with people of different economic means, and look to support policies that give every one the chance to succeed and live their dream!

Se7enEvilXs2 karma

How do we get more elected officials like yourself? ...Well you know besides the obvious, like voting for them

jaredpolis7 karma

yeah probably voting them in ;)

wuop2 karma

What is the equivalence between marijuana and alcohol? Which is more dangerous, and what, if anything, should be done about that?

jaredpolis5 karma

alcohol causes many more deaths than marijuana

we should have alcohol addiction treatment available, and marijuana addiction treatment too.

tominsj2 karma

Who are other Reps you enjoy working with?

If you don't say mine I will be sad.

jaredpolis4 karma

Who is yours?

PapaSmurphy2 karma

Do you know Rodney Davis (R-IL)? And if so how much of a douche is he in real life on a scale of 1 to Summer's Eve?

jaredpolis5 karma

seems like a nice guy his office is near mine

PapaSmurphy3 karma

Well let him know I look forward to voting against him as I have since he was first elected.

jaredpolis5 karma

haha his policies and ideas don't overlap much with mine

RudieCantFaiI2 karma

Mr Polis, as one of your constituents, I am concerned about your views on rape on college campuses.

You have been noted as saying that those accused of rape should be removed from the school without contacting the police or having a fair trial.

How is this fair to students who didn't commit a crime, and how do you see it as a better choice than having the police involved?

jaredpolis2 karma

well I think you are reading something I mis-spoke at a couple years ago.

I support a campus process to ensure a safe campus environment. While ideally there would be a criminal prosecution, that isn't always the case for a number of reasons.

Readingwhilepooping2 karma

Hey Jared, what are your opinions of the destination based cash-flow tax that the republicans will probably be proposing soon?

jaredpolis2 karma

I assume you mean what we call the "border adjustment tax?" I think it's mostly bad, it's regressive (effectively a sales tax on imported goods) and also really bad for many businesses.

JewInTheModernWorld2 karma

Hey Jared!

We actually met a couple of years ago at the CU Boulder UMC. It was Election Day and you won later that evening. You're the most awesome politician I know!

What do you thinking states with legal/medical marijuana have to fear with Jeff Sessions' past anti-marijuana views? What can we be doing as citizens to help our local economies and stop his possible Justice Department rules? What can our legislators do?

Thanks and keep on being the best dressed congressman in the House!

jaredpolis3 karma

We simply don't yet know how much we have to fear. Theoretically, the AG could have some kind of mass enforcement action and round up people who own or work in dispensaries in CO and even go after consumers!

I think if he does bad things it will likely be more subtle. But I am worried and that's why I'm working hard on this bill. It becomes more urgent if there is some kind of action he takes. Our legislators can pass a law like this, but Trump is President and would need to sign it (unless we have 2/3).

and thanks for the compliment on my clothes lol

iwascompromised1 karma

In regards to this bill, given the past statements from Jeff Sessions on his opinion about marijuana -- “one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful” -- what is the realistic outcome of this? Is there growing support within the House for a bill like this?

jaredpolis14 karma

Jeff Sessions is one of the main reasons that we need this bill so urgently. We are worried about some sort of crackdown on legal businesses or consumers that he might be cooking up.

There is significant bipartisan support for this bill. It's hard to get it to a vote but if it were on the floor tomorrow it would be very close indeed, and might even have enough votes to pass. In the mean time we can force (if/when the CJS Appropriations bill comes to the floor) a vote on something called the Mcclintock/Polis amendment which would defund enforcement of marijuana laws in states where it is legal, and I'm confident we have the votes to pass that.

Sorry that all sounds kinda arcane and wonky but let me know if i need to explain any more

Kuiiper1 karma

Hello Jared, couple questions...

Colorado has been regarded as the best implementation of Rec laws by many, have other state law makers reached out for advice or tips?

How great was the new influx of tax revenue when Colorado went recreational, and how's it get divided?

With 8 states now having legal recreational marijuana, is the West coast really the best coast?

jaredpolis4 karma

1) on the first one, yes many others have come to our state and studied our regulatory system. Because we were first there were things we didn't think about at first (like packaging and warnings on edibles, etc) that now we have newer laws and rules about. We are happy to share what has worked and not worked with anybody.

2) The best coast is the Rocky Mountains :)

TheRealTrailerSwift1 karma


jaredpolis5 karma

1) I really hope that Sessions doesn't move against CO. I would plan on standing with and beside those who he goes after if he does. It will make the urgency of passing my bill even more critical. I would certainly appeal right to Trump if Sessions tries something to see if we could stop it.

2) I hope that we can take the majority back and start moving the country in the right direction (more inclusive, fair, and sustainable!) rather than the Wrong direction

JeBalon1 karma

My question is has the DEA been meddling around in states where it's legalized as Sessions seems to suggest may happen?

jaredpolis5 karma

Hasn't happened yet (that I'm aware of), but based on his remarks we are worried about it could happen any time

moreland011 karma

What do you think our chances are of ever getting an independent redistricting commission in Colorado?

jaredpolis2 karma

I think it would have a pretty good chance of passing if it got on the ballot as an initiative! (that's how it passed in CA).

The_Hero_of_Legend1 karma

How often do you smoke marijuana?

jaredpolis4 karma


CoDoc4565-1 karma

What is your perspective regarding Colorado's public health and safety disaster related to pervasive marijuana use and how that relates to the Cole Memo??

jaredpolis9 karma

I'm not aware of any public health or safety disaster. In fact, I represent one of the fittest and healthiest Congressional districts in the country!

After legalizing marijuana, underage use is down, revenue is coming in for schools, and there are less drug dealers.

Strange_Thingies-5 karma

Super unpopular question incoming: Do you really think selfish intoxication is really the issue your organization should be focused on, on the eve we all just lost privacy on the internet? Given your organization apparently had no power to stop that, why should we entrust the business of regulating marijuanna to you? I don't think pot as a recreational drug is a very important topic though I think the people, especially black people, who are sadly imprisoned for this frivolity are.

jaredpolis16 karma

by my organization do you mean the US Government? Yes, I would have a major problem if federal law enforcement starts arresting my constituents who are following state law, and I am doing everything I can to prevent that.