Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Marijuana Takes Heat in State of the State Speech

Marijuana was mentioned, but not in a friendly fashion, in John Hickenlooper’s State of the State address.

He opened by stating he hadn’t supported the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2012, but the state had mastered regulating it, including addressing continuing problem areas of edibles endangering children and the need for education on underage use.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, State of the State address
Photo: Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite
But then he shifted to the bad news. He pointed out that, contrary to the claims of drug advocates, organized crime is flourishing in a home grow “gray market” and action must be taken to fight it. Finally, he linked the spread of marijuana in Colorado to mental illness and chronic homelessness, and advocated using marijuana money to service the victims.

Governor’s list of major problems:
  • Endangering children
  • Underage use
  • Organized crime
  • Mental illness and chronic homelessness
Just as four more states legalized recreational sales of marijuana, Colorado’s leadership, from the state to local level, appear to be becoming aware of the ill consequences of commercialization of marijuana. In Colorado, the public may also be becoming more attuned to the problem. A majority (53%) in a DU/Korbel School poll was against the increased sales of recreational marijuana in their community.

Eight states and Washington D.C. have now legalized commercial marijuana. California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada joined the number with Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington. Numerous other states are considering legislation or initiative to legalize commercial sales. The question in Colorado is no longer legalization, which a majority of the public favors, but retail sale and use in neighborhoods and communities. On this issue, the public is becoming much more skeptical. Will the forces of opposition get organized?

The Hill: Marijuana reforms flood state legislatures
The Buzz: Colorado Voters Appear Reluctant to Expand Use of Recreational Marijuana
The Buzz: End of Marijuana Holiday? El Paso County Says “No” to Marijuana Expansion

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