COLORADO: Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper did not support marijuana legalization before voters in his state gave it the stamp of approval at the polls in 2012. Four months into this “great social experiment” he tells us he still wouldn’t have supported it despite tax revenues coming in higher than officials thought and a burgeoning new industry.
“You don’t want to be the first at something like this,” he tells us in the accompanying video interview, taped at the Milken Institute Global Conference Tuesday. “It’s hard to create laws and regulations when no one has done it before,” he says. “Plus, Colorado becomes the butt of a lot of jokes…It comes with the territory, but we want to make sure there are no adverse consequences. It’s a great social experiment; we have an obligation to do it right.”
Gov. Hickenlooper announced his opposition to Amendment 64 in September 2012. The Nov. 6 ballot measure sought to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, and went on to pass.
“Colorado is known for many great things –- marijuana should not be one of them,” he said at the time in a statement. “Amendment 64 has the potential to increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.” While Hickenlooper voiced sympathy towards the inequities of felony records for young people with “often minor marijuana transgressions,” he looked to state lawmakers and district attorneys to mitigate these issues.