Opposing marijuana is a faulty strategy for re-election

Governor Jay Inslee (D) Washington and Governor John Hickenlooper (D) Colorado on ‘This Week’

Today on This Week, George Stephanopoulos interviewed the governors of the two states with teams playing in the Super Bowl. Coincidentally enough, these two states love their weed almost as much as they love their football, clearly demonstrating such attachment by voting to legalize the substance in 2012. Inevitably, the subject of marijuana legalization came up during the interview, and as always, Colorado Governor Hickenlooper looked as disgusted as ever, dismayed that he should even be asked such a question. While asking the people of Colorado to give him four more years in office, he continues to be a very reluctant leader on marijuana policy in his own state. Perhaps that’s a good thing since he’s made it abundantly clear that he intends to “regulate the daylights out of it.”

Refusing to lead, refusing to acknowledge the positive impacts of the industry on the state, may not be the wisest political strategy in an election year.  In a state where Amendment 64 got more votes than Barack Obama, in a state that is seeing a great migration of young pro-cannabis voters, and in a state that abhors blatant hypocrisy of the sort we see in Hickenlooper’s unflinching support of the alcohol industry and unfailing opposition to the budding marijuana industry, continuing to whine about being forced to follow the will of the voters might not get you what you want in the upcoming election.

Continually reminding voters how foolish you think they are for voting for Amendment 64 is not the best way to convince them that they would be any smarter if they voted for you.

But we’ll let the voters decide.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Before you go, you know, later in the program we’re going to be bringing a panel of experts on this whole issue of legalizing marijuana. Your two states are in the forefront of that right now.

Governor Hickenlooper, let me begin with you. You opposed to referendum, but a few weeks into the experiment are your fears being realized? And what’s the biggest challenge going forward?

HICKENLOOPER: Well, I think that, again, anyone who opposed it — and there are a lot of good reasons to oppose it — we now have I think an obligation — the voters passed [it] 55-45 — to make [sure] we do it properly. And I think that means we make sure kids under the age of 21 don’t get it. A lot of those top scientists think that you can lose long-term memory if you’re taking this high THC marijuana. I have to make sure people are [not] driving when they’re high.

You know, make sure that we regulate it like we do alcohol, right. That we have the resources necessary to keep it out of the hands of kids and keep our community safe.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And Governor Inslee, your sales start later this year. You’re learning anything yet from the Colorado experience?

INSLEE: Yeah, a little bit. I think our states are doing a good job of having a very well regulated market. Both our governors are very interested in making sure we educate our kids about some dangers associated with this like with alcohol. And I think — I think things are going well in both states.

And I want to give a (inaudible) to the Obama administration who has been working, I think, in a very responsible way in allowing the states to move forward. States are the laboratories of democracy throughout American history. And I think we are now looking for a new approach to this issue. So I think both things are going well.

And I do want to say that we want to have a well regulated system. And it is going to be that in both states. I think we’re both going to achieve success here.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Good luck with that. And have fun tonight to both of you. Thank you, gentleman.

Via This Week on ABC: http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/week-transcript-rep-paul-ryan/story?id=22327723

Categories: Colorado, Policy & Politics, States, Washington State

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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