Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper Has Become A Marijuana Consult For Other Governors

According to the Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, you don’t always get control of your legacy. As a man who once opposed the idea of legalizing marijuana, Governor John Hickenlooper had no idea he would become a marijuana consult governors of other states would confide in for advice on how to handle marijuana legislation within their own states.

Per the Los Angeles Times, it was four years ago today that Colorado became the first state in the United States to pass legislation which made it legal to use marijuana recreationally. Just hours after this monumental milestone in U.S. marijuana legislation, Governor John Hickenlooper noted a few humorous words of caution.

“Don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”

When the state voters – overwhelmingly – approved the initiative to legalize recreational marijuana, the Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper found himself in the unique position of being the first governor in the United States having to wrestle with how to best implement this new law. The fact that Hickenlooper himself was opposed to the law only made things more challenging for him.

Governor John Hickenlooper
Governor John Hickenlooper [Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]

Weeks before California residents were slated to vote on whether or not recreational marijuana would become legal, Governor Jerry Brown reached out to Hickenlooper for a consultation on marijuana legalization. Similar to the situation Hickenlooper had been placed in, Brown also did not endorse this law.

Hickenlooper typically gives the same – very specific – advice to governors who reach out to him as a marijuana legalization consult. He encourages them to focus on marijuana-infused sweets such as gummy candies, brownies, and lollipops. This was the same advice he gave to the governors in Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine which had all joined California in legalization recreational marijuana this year.

“We didn’t regulate edibles strongly enough at first,” John revealed during an interview. According to the Colorado Governor, there was a spike in the number of children being taken to the emergency room for accidentally consuming marijuana products. In a few cases, children even died.

In the past few years, Hickenlooper has taken the necessary steps to help the state of Colorado launch an extensive advertising campaign which focuses on the dangers marijuana edibles can pose to children and teenagers. In the state of Colorado, very specific laws have been passed which require marijuana products to include labels showing they contain marijuana.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is not afraid to admit learning the ropes of recreational marijuana being legal within his state is still a work in progress.

Marijuana legalization in Colorado
Marijuana legalization in Colorado [Image by Matt Benoit/ShutterStock]

Just last year, marijuana retailers in the state of Colorado brought in $996 million in sales. This resulted in a turnover of more than $135 million in fees and taxes to the state of Colorado. The sale of marijuana in the state of Colorado is taxed at 10 percent while the regular sales tax in the state is just 2.9 percent. John believes the taxing of marijuana products is still an area that needs some adjusting.

“One of our goals is to get the taxing level right. This will help our goal, which is to drive drug dealers out of the marijuana business completely.”

Gary Herbert, the Governor of Utah, regularly consults John for advice on marijuana legalization. Unlike John, however, Gary was more supportive of the idea of legalizing marijuana.

Per Hickenlooper and other governors where marijuana has now become legal, there are still a few hiccups states must dance around despite marijuana being legal. Namely, certain federal restrictions. John had recently requested that Congress pass legislation to prevent federal regulators from penalizing financial institutes that serve the marijuana industry. Hickenlooper believes it would be nice for state-charted banks to be able to bank in the marijuana industry without risking their charter.

The banking conundrum these states where marijuana is legal faces has made it difficult to implement marijuana sales.

Today, the topic of marijuana follows Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper where ever he goes. His biggest concern and regret is not that marijuana has been legalized, but that a better system wasn’t put in place before it happened.

Do you find it ironic that a man who was against legalizing marijuana has become somewhat of a poster boy for it? Share your thoughts on Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper and his position as a marijuana consult in the comments section down below.

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