Your textbook (Texas Politics Today 2015-2016 Edition) describes one of the benefits of federalism as “the ability for individual states to serve as public policy laboratories, providing insights on how well different policies actually work when taken from theory to practice.”
Colorado legalized marijuana in 2014 – sort of. Colorado Amendment 64 passed in 2012, allowing adults to grow marijuana plants, and to possess up to an ounce of cultivated pot. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but the U.S. Justice Department outlined inthis memo that it doesn’t intend to enforce the federal ban.
Denver now has more marijuana dispensaries than liquor stores and Starbucks combined. The state government of Colorado is collecting millions in taxes and license fees. Still,employees can still be legally fired for testing positive for marijuana, and federal tax laws are written to punish sellers. At least one business is relocating to another state because so many employees came to work stoned.
Earlier this year, H.B. 2165, a marijuana legalization bill, was approved by the Texas House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence. It didn’t become law, but the fact that it was approved by a committee at all is significant.
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