When asked if he would, he surprisingly says he wouldn't …
Before he became Colorado’s governor, John Hickenlooper made a fortune owning bars and breweries. Alcohol, of course, is that federally legal substance directly linked to over 88,000 deaths per year in the U.S. and holds a current financial burden on the country in excess of over $220 billion.
Yet, he’s still not sure if he would vote ‘yes’ on legalizing weed if it were put on the ballot again.
At least that’s what he told Chuck Todd on Meet The Press in an interview over the weekend. During the segment, Hickenlooper readily admits that he was (and still is) opposed to the change in Colorado’s constitution allowing for adults 21 years of age or older to buy and consume marijuana — even though the state has seen far more benefits than not, including a decrease in teen use, he says himself.
“If this were put on a ballot today — I know you opposed it before — if it were put on a ballot today would you now support it?” Todd asks at the end of the segment.
He wouldn’t …
“Boy I’m getting’ close,” Hickenlooper replies. “I mean, I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but we have made a lot of progress. We didn’t see a spike in teenage use. If anything it’s come down in the last year. We’re getting anecdotal reports of less drug dealers. If you get rid of that black market you’ve got tax revenues to deal with, addictions and some of the unintended consequences of legalized marijuana; maybe this system is better than what was admittedly a pretty bad system to begin with.”
Since 2012 (when Colorado’s Amendment 64 was voted in by a 55-44 percent win), the state has not only seen teen use decline, but marijuana arrests are also down, the state is collecting over $100 million per year in tax revenue, and in 2015 the industry created over 18,000 new jobs in the state. Legalization is also directly related to the nation-wide decrease in cartel exports of illegal weed coming into America.
So what more will it take for Hickenlooper to come to the other side? It's hard to say, but he's at least willing to fight the federal government if it plans to crack down as it suggested last week. "It's in our constitution," he says. "I took a solemn oath to support our constitution. … The states have a sovereignty just like the Indian tribes have a sovereignty, and just like the federal government does."