John Hickenlooper

Colorado Marijuana reform wins over its most vocal opponent

As our politicians suddenly discover their voices on cannabis reform it might do well to note what Colorado’s governor has to say on the issue.

When Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana four years ago, one of the move’s chief critics was Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The moderate Democrat said that if he could “wave a magic wand” to reverse the decision, he would. Then he called voters “reckless” for approving it in the first place, a remark he later downgraded to “risky.”

“Colorado is known for many great things,” Hickenlooper said. “Marijuana should not be one of them.”

But the governor’s views have softened. During a recent panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, he said that despite opposing the legalization of pot, his job was to “deliver on the will of the people of Colorado.”

“If I had that magic wand now, I don’t know if I would wave it,” he said. “It’s beginning to look like it might work.”

It was the latest in a series of comments Hickenlooper has made signaling what looks like an evolution of his views on marijuana. In April last year, during an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, Hickenlooper said legal weed was “not as vexing as we thought it was going to be.”

And during an appearance on “60 Minutes,” he predicted that Colorado might “actually create a system that could work” in successfully regulating marijuana.

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The Governor who opposed legalisation of cannabis and what he thinks now

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The Governor of Colorado, John Hickenlooper, is a Democrat who opposed legalisation of cannabis in the state.

The voters however saw differently and voted for legalisation. Accordingly he then had to implement the wishes of the people.

Here are ten things he has passed comment on about the whole process.

1) As Colorado attempts to build its brand as a healthy state, marijuana “dilutes what you’re trying to do.”

2) “I think decriminalization would’ve been a wiser first step.”

3) One of the best things about marijuana legalization: “I think the black market has been damaged. I think people are willing to pay taxes and to go through pretty rigorous regulation.”

4) “Some of the anxiety has been laid to rest. We don’t see a spike in adult use. We don’t think we see a spike in youth consumption although there are some things that are disconcerting.”

5) One of the governor’s concerns: “This high THC marijuana, what can it do to a brain that is still developing?”

6) One of the governor’s complaints: federal rules that prohibit dispensary owners from putting their money in banks. “If you really want to introduce corruption into legal marijuana,” he said, “make it an all cash business.”

7) On unanticipated problems: There’s been “a dramatic increase in edibles.” And “no one had ever worried about dosage sizes. The original edibles that came out, once you took the packaging off there was nothing to show it was any different than candy.”   Read more »

Colorado scores big in first month of Weed Taxes

If you ever needed a reason to legalise cannabis it is this.

It turned illicit products with no taxes into legal products and massive hauls of tax.

Colorado, the first US state to legalise cannabis for recreational use, made just over $2 million in tax revenue from selling the drug in January, according to its first officially released figures.

The amount was not far behind the $2.7 million the state recouped in excise taxes on alcohol in the same period and is expected to exceed that in subsequent months.

More than $14 million worth of the dug was sold over counters to recreational users in the 30 days after cannabis shops opened on Jan 1.

Another $1.5 million in tax was collected from medical sales of the drug, the figures showed.  Read more »

So why isn’t National doing this?

The Atlantic

The Republicans have a stack of candidates lined up for 2016, and the primary will be bloody good. On the other side there is just doubt.

“Whew, man, that’s a tough one,” said Jeanette Baust, a 55-year-old educator and activist from Denver who was attending the progressive conference along with her partner, Evelyn Hanssen. “I guess I’d have to say Elizabeth Warren if she can get elected.” What about Colorado’s Democratic senators, Michael Bennet* and Mark Udall, and governor, John Hickenlooper? The women didn’t think they had national potential.

The bench of up-and-coming talent in the Republican Party is an instructive contrast. A recent straw-poll ballot for vice presidential choices at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Chicago featured 22 names, from retreads like Newt Gingrich to fresh faces like Rubio to newly minted political stars like Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker. Nine major Republican candidates participated in this year’s presidential primary, and while it was seen as a weak field overall, Republicans dismayed by the spectacle of Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain as momentary front-runners comforted themselves by contemplating the party’s many future stars in the Senate, House, and governorships. Many of those rising stars, like New Jersey’s Chris Christie, Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Virginia’s Bob McDonnell , have already begun building relationships with their party’s national base by appearing at party events outside their home states or on the busy circuit of conservative activist conferences.

The Democrats might have a shallow talent pool in 2016 but they are building.

Many Democrats acknowledge the looming talent gap and give the GOP credit for its candidate recruitment and training in recent years. They are trying to match that effort down the line: Numerous sessions at the Take Back conference focused on candidate development at the minor-league level, informed in part by state-level controversies that have recently made national news, from the recent Wisconsin recall to numerous states’ abortion-ultrasound bills. Even as they had trouble coming up with names for 2016, many at the conference were eager to tout up-and-coming candidates currently incubating at the state legislative or congressional-contender level.

The big thing is the Republicans have invested heavily in “down ticket” or “farm” candidates, the people that do the work getting elected at local or state level, and are training to take the step up. The last twenty years has seen a massive number of Republicans get elected on school boards, local councils, to their state congress or senate, other state positions, and build name recognition, campaign teams and donor networks that let them take a step up. More farm or down ticket candidates coming through mean more potential governors, senators or congressmen.

The Republicans have spent twenty years doing this.

So what has National done? Anything at all to help people win down ticket races? Training up local government candidates? Supporting the de facto National C&R and iCitz? Stopping stupid rebrands that mean nothing because organisations are competent to begin with? Helping these organisations become competent to get more good down ticket candidates?