Colorado Gov Now Says Legalizing Marijuana Helps State’s Fiscal Health

COLORADO: Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper seems to be softening his anti-pot stance.

The Democratic governor recently told Fox Business Network that the issue is “not as vexing” as he feared it would be, and partly ties Colorado’s strong fiscal health to the popularity and economic opportunities connected with the legal pot industry.

“It’s all those young people coming and they look at marijuana and say, ‘hey, we can drink whiskey, why can’t we have a legalized system with marijuana?’” he said on FBN.

He added, “If you look back, it has turned out to be not as vexing as some of the people like myself” initially anticipated it would be.

 

Colorado OKs World’s 1st Pot Banking System

COLORADO: Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed legislation to try to establish the world’s first financial system for the largely cash-only marijuana industry.

The bill signed Friday morning seeks to form a network of uninsured cooperatives designed to give pot businesses a way to access basic banking services.

Banks that fear violating federal law do not allow marijuana businesses access to basic financial services. That has led to fears that the burgeoning marijuana industry can be a target for robberies.

Colorado became the first state to allow recreational pot sales on Jan. 1.

The legislation would allow pot businesses to pool money in cooperatives. However, that will only happen with the blessing of the U.S. Federal Reserve. That has prompted some to argue the legislation could be only symbolic.

Colorado Gov. Still Isn’t High On Legalized Marijuana

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.

Colorado Legislators Take It Slow On Pot Spending

COLORADO:  Legislators proceeded cautiously Tuesday when deciding how to spend marijuana tax money, the state’s biggest and most volatile new source of revenue.

Gov. John Hickenlooper has asked for $54 million in spending from marijuana taxes in order to fund law enforcement, anti-drug programs and health care for substance abusers.

But the Joint Budget Committee wants to wait to spend marijuana taxes the year after they are collected. That would leave the state with just $20 million to spend in the budget year that starts in July.

“If we don’t do this from the onset, we’re going to miss the opportunity to do this right,” said Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver.

Chafee Has Open Mind On RI Legalizing, Regulating Marijuana

RHODE ISLAND:  Governor Chafee attended the National Governors Association this weekend in Washington, D.C. and learned that legalizing and regulating marijuana may be a big source of tax revenue for Rhode Island.

Chafee listened to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and discovered that marijuana will generate more than $100 million in tax revenue and regulatory fees for his state this year.

Afterward, Chafee spoke to a reporter from Bloomberg News and said that Colorado’s windfall from marijuana sales “opened a lot of eyes,” and has fostered a discussion on whether to “regulate and tax it in these tough times.”

Rhode Island has the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 9.1 percent.

VIRAL WEB HOAX STORY OF THE WEEK: Colorado Governor Set To Release Those Convicted On Marijuana Related Charges, Expunge Records

HOAX ALERT: While we wish it were true, this trending web story is not true. REPEAT: THIS STORY IS A HOAX:

COLORADO:  With the passage of Amendment 64, Colorado residents proved themselves to be forward thinking, but while residents of the state are busy enjoying their newfound freedoms, little has been done for those serving time on marijuana related charges…until now.  Gov. John W. Hickenlooper (D) has proposed a bill that would have a major impact on the criminal justice system.  Under the new bill, convicts currently serving time on marijuana related charges will be released and the crime expunged from their records. [Read more…]