Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) raised eyebrows (and possibly disapproval ratings) when he called his state’s legalization of marijuana “reckless” and advised other governors against legalization in their own states.
“I would view it as reckless before we see what the consequences are,” Hickenlooper said. “I think for us to do that without having all the data, there is not enough data, and to a certain extent you could say it was reckless. I’m not saying it was reckless, because I’ll get quoted everywhere. But if it was up to me, I wouldn’t have done it, right. I opposed it from the very beginning. All right, what the hell—I’ll say it was reckless.”
While it’s fun to watch this schizophrenic exchange occur in real-time between his actual beliefs and his political instincts, in this case he may have done better to listen to the campaign manager in his head and keep his opinions to himself.
Many are calling this public admission ‘reckless’ since Hickenlooper is facing a close race for reelection next month, and legalization in Colorado passed by a 55% to 45% margin when Hickenlooper was only elected by a 51% to 49% margin. Furthermore, the running joke in Colorado is that legalization is more popular with voters than Barack Obama.
Kathy Green, interim spokeswoman for Gov. Hickenlooper, said, “In the face of inaction from the federal government, Colorado voters had no choice but to act on their own. While the governor believes it was reckless for Colorado to be the first state to violate federal drug laws, it is clear that Colorado voters saw no other choice—and we are committed to carrying out their will, as democracy demands.”
The governor’s admission has caused skeptics to remind the public that Hickenlooper cofounded the Wynkoop Brewing Company in Denver, effectively making his fortune by selling alcohol—arguably the major competitor of legal marijuana.
We’ll have to wait and see if this affects Hickenlooper’s chances of reelection in November; his Republican challenger, Bob Beauprez, agreed with the “reckless” characterization, so pro-legalization Colorado voters may not even have the option of voting for a major party candidate on their side.