Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper Changes Stance on Cannabis, Says Legalization Can Work

To say that Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper has been less than excited about presiding over the legalization of recreational marijuana in his state would be quite an understatement. During campaign season last fall, he called legalization “reckless.” obviously, that opinion has not halted him from courting funding from NORML for his re-election. His inability to take a firm, positive stance on something with a broad foundation of followers  in his state has been overwhelming for marijuana activists, in Colorado and elsewhere.

In a positive turn of events, it looks like Hickenlooper may have finally come around on the problem of marijuana legalization. On the January 11th, 2015 edition of the long-running, highly-respected CBS news program 60 Minutes, the show’s focus was on legal cannabis in Colorado. CBS reporter Bill Whitaker did an in-depth review of the marijuana industry and its impact on Colorado, involoving touring the inside of Megan Sanders’ MiNDFUL industrial grow operation and a discussion with her about the social implication of legalization. The episode also featured a surprisingly positive interview with Hickenlooper.

Hickenlooper even states the damage of not having access to traditional banking systems does to the cannabis industry, a shockingly progressive idea. He also makes it evident he has slowly been switching his stand point on the matter. In his interview, he tells Whitaker,  “No. I opposed it (the legalization initiative)…and I think even after the election, if I’d had a magic wand and I could wave the wand, I probably would’ve reversed it and had the initiative fail…But now I look at it…and I think we’ve made a lot of progress…still a lot of work to be done. But I think we might actually create a system that can work.”

 The episode also shared an interview with Andrew Freedman, the state marijuana czar who has helped build the state edibles program. Edibles, or food infused with cannabis or marijuana extracts, have take in a lot of negative, hyperbolic media attention in the last year, from Maureen Dowd’s much-discussed edible overdose to the Denver Police Department’s horrible attempt at Halloween trick-or-treating reefer madness. Still, Freedman icarrys himself with pride for the work they have done to go over  the issue and the guidelines that have been put in place and the quickness with which they are implemented. He does warn, however, that if the next President is less helpful of the state’s great legalization experiment, that could be the end of the program.

 Those who did not see the CBS news program 60 Minutes special on cannabis can view the episode on the show’s website. The site allows non-subscribers to watch one episode for free without registering. This is just the latest in the national trend of major mainstream media outlets utilizing positive coverage to legalization and even backing federal legalization. As 2015 gets rolling, news coverage like this will help keep pots positive cultural momentum going.

For previous Ladybud Magazine coverage of cannabis legalization in Colorado, click here!


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