Colorado Governor “Cautiously Optimistic” About the State’s Recreational Marijuana Program


Gov. John Hickenlooper gets pressed in interview with Katie Couric about his state’s marijuana industry.

After two years of legalized recreational marijuana in Colorado, the state’s governor seems to be warming to his state’s new cannabis industry, though he still shows some skepticism about the program’s future success.

During a two day press tour to promote his new book, “The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics”, Gov. Hickenlooper sat down to chat with Yahoo Global News anchor Katie Couric. When introducing Hickenlooper, Katie Couric pulled from some of the topics mentioned in the book, saying, “John Hickenlooper has shoplifted, smoked pot, been a geologist, a brewer, a mayor, and a governor…”

When Hickenlooper last sat down with Couric in 2014, the governor had many reservations regarding his state’s new recreational marijuana law. Although he had prefered the state’s voters had not passed the ballot measure, the governor said, “It’s going to be one of the great social experiments of the century.”

“At the time you opposed it, you even called it reckless,” Couric starts the recent interview. “What were you most worried about initially, and have your concerns been allayed?”

The governor lists a few issues on his mind, including ongoing conflict with federal law and worries over kids getting increased access to marijuana.

The children have always been Hickenlooper’s primary concern. The governor claims the state has seen an uptick in teenage cannabis use since the program’s start. However, recent studies show a negligible decrease in use among teens, even as use rises among adults.

Edibles have also been a concern, regarding kids getting into them and the related ER visits, something that Hickenlooper discussed with Couric back in 2014. Colorado has taken steps since the start of legalized marijuana in the state to regulate the sales and packaging of marijuana edibles to prevent accidental use by children and unaware adults.

All in all, Hickenlooper still suggests other states hold off a couple years to see how legalization plays out over time in Colorado. However, his stance has seemed to soften since 2014. That perhaps could be due to the tax money rolling into the state from both local users and tourists. In 2015 alone, Colorado sold just under a billion dollars in recreational marijuana, netting the state $135 million in taxes and fees.

To learn more about Colorado’s cannabis laws, visit our education page.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]