In 2014, Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper famously called cannabis legalization “reckless” and added he “wouldn’t have done it” if it were up to him. While Hickenlooper’s stance has since progressed to the extent other states come to him for cannabis reform knowledge, the brewery-owner has been quoted saying, “you don’t choose what you’re legacy is.”
While Hickenlooper has softened his outlook on marijuana, he stated in March, “smoking [cannabis]is very bad for you,” so he doesn’t support cannabis clubs in Colorado. Now, over three years into legalization, Colorado still doesn’t have cannabis clubs or cafes and the topic has become a lingering ailment without a perfect resolution (Initiative 300 should go into effect this Summer, but has limitations).
Hickenlooper’s term won’t end until January 2019, but when it does, at least one potential candidate promises to embrace the role as cannabis ambassador and help social-use move forward. That candidate, Representative Jared Polis, is a long-time cannabis supporter who continually helms a federal bill to declassify marijuana and regulate the substance like alcohol.
More recently, on May 3, Polis helmed the capital’s first “Marijuana Big Thinker Talks”; Polis brought scientists and experts from Colorado to Washington D.C. to discuss the “need for federal cannabis legalization.”
The Westword caught up with Polis, who offered his support to Colorado’s adult-use future. When asked whether or not he shared Hickenlooper’s social consumption concerns, Polis bluntly responded,
Well, no. Colorado has led the way and will continue to lead the way and to the extent we can encourage safe-use habits and safe driving and provide a better way to get it out of our public spaces, I think the clubs could provide a viable alternative if they’re allowed in municipalities and counties….There’s nothing in federal law that prohibits that.
Moreover, Polis — who just finished showing politicians in D.C. proof that cannabis reform works — wants states and even local government to make these determinations on their own. Polis added that
“We have to get the federal government out of this and let people decide in neighborhoods and cities in our great country exactly how they want to license these.”
Should Representative Polis run to replace Hickenlooper, there’s no doubt he’s batting for team green.
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