john hickenlooper marijuana colorado
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Colorado Governor: Marijuana Is ‘Not As Vexing As We Thought’

john hickenlooper marijuana colorado
(via wikipedia)

Colorado’s Governor has been a bit wishy washy when it comes to how he feels about the roll out of recreational marijuana in his state. For awhile he was making it sound like he wished he could put Pandora back in the box. But it seems that he has evolved quite a bit on his stance. Marijuana policy is the public policy of this decade, with Colorado being the poster child for what marijuana legalization looks like America.

I think at first Governor Hickenlooper was scared of the unknown, but as he’s learned more about the marijuana industry, and positive stats have been released, he is seeing that marijuana legalization is not as hard to implement as he once thought. Per The Cannabist:

“Again, it’s not as vexing as we thought it was going to be, but at the same time it hasn’t been the economic boon that some promoters thought it would be. I think we are slowly, through hard work, building a regulatory system, making sure we keep it out of the hands of kids, making sure we keep our streets and roads safe, making sure we kill that illegal black market — drug dealers don’t care who they sell to. And we’re getting there.”

“The people who used to be smoking it are still smoking it. They’re now just paying taxes. The people who didn’t smoke it still aren’t. We haven’t seen a spike. But I think there is a real expectation from people even that don’t smoke it: You shouldn’t go to jail, and it isn’t that much worse than whiskey or beer.”

While I like that Governor Hickenlooper recognizes that marijuana legalization is not ‘as vexing’ as he thought, he still has a ways to go on this issue. For starters, saying that marijuana is not an economic boon is weird. Apparently a Colorado marijuana industry worth upwards of $700 million is not an economic boon. I know a lot of states in America that could use an extra $700 million, especially considering the fact that that number is likely going to rise this year.

Also, I like that Governor Hickenlooper respects that no one should go to jail for marijuana, but marijuana is not ‘that much worse than whiskey or beer.’ Marijuana is far safer than alcohol. A recent study found that alcohol is 114 times worse for you than marijuana. But with that being said, these statements are much better than what Governor Hickenlooper was saying in 2012 and 2013, and I think he will continue to evolve on the subject. Marijuana legalization works. Marijuana legalization is good for states that allow it to occur. Marijuana legalization creates jobs, improves local economies, and allows law enforcement to focus on fighting real crime, among many other benefits.

 

  • I don’t really know what scale he’s operating on if 700mil isn’t an economic impact, maybe not what’s considered a “boom.” The toughest portions of the rollout seemed to stem from packaging content and proper labeling for those that were trying marijuana for the first time. It always seemed to be in the news that a child got a hold of an edible or someone ended up incoherent to the point requiring police intervention. Now that those experiences have been exposed rollouts in other states will definitely go smoother. CO and WA need to receive a tax break or something for having the courage to be the guinea pigs.

  • jarmstead

    Any State in the Union would be providing “tax credits” for any business that created the economic BOOM that Legalized/Medical Cannabis has provided in Colorado.
    If you were a regular businessperson and went to FL and presented a 5 year plan that would allow for job creation and the re-circulation of $700 in revenue each year, they would kiss your backside and the politicians would be deferring taxes. Just because it’s cannabis, they’ll still take your money instead of providing the tax credits (or reductions) that they should.
    Do we pay those kind of taxes on Alcohol? Cigarettes? Prozac? Heck no… cannabis entrepreneurs are being “rode hard and put away wet.”

    • Bongstar420

      There is nothing but movement of capital from the black market to the legal market.

      This is not “new” spending.

      • jarmstead

        Bongstar420… in business terms and by definition, the legalization of cannabis in CO was strictly “business.” This was really a significant “total shift” from the black to the legal market… but; that wasn’t my point. This new legal revenue stream is now creating jobs and spending in the local economies… and not being trucked back to Mexico in 18 wheelers to the cartels.
        My point was simple: If you went to a non-legal or a non-medical cannabis State and presented the politicians with a $700 Million per year enterprise that created jobs and tax revenue… those same politicians would be deferring or abating taxes for several years to permit the company’s stability and long-term prospects. Example; a tech company that turns water into a hydrogen fuel that can power a vehicle or an acetylene torch… or; replace propane gas at a glass manufacturing facility.
        If a municipality is now raking in revenue from taxes… it is not a shift from the black market to a legal market. IT IS “REVENUE” and this is something no politician can afford to ignore. That is my point.

  • khh

    Colorado is doing well relative to other states. Its welfare spending is $400 per capita. The average of all states is $700. Colorado’s growth rate is 3.6%. The average of all states is 2.1%.

  • khh

    The Colorado Department of Numbers says CO’s unemployment rate is 4.2% vs 5.5% nationally.

    • Bongstar420

      Looks like a bunch of pot heads not willing to pass a piss test got a job vending drugs. I don’t see how legalizing wouldn’t do result in what you reported.

      Just like me in Oregon…oh, wait. I’ve had this job for a decade now..its just that now its being actually counted.