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.