Colorado gov joins others in defending state MJ programs

Just Released! Get realistic market forecasts, state-by-state insights and benchmarks with the new 2024 MJBiz Factbook member program, now with quarterly updates. Make informed decisions.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper has joined his counterparts in Alaska, Oregon and Washington State in defending his state’s cannabis regulatory regime and pushing back against the possibility of federal intervention by the Department of Justice.

Hickenlooper is the last of the four governors – who each received letters from U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in July expressing concern about the effects of marijuana legalization – to respond to Sessions.

Hickenlooper made it clear he believes Colorado has “worked diligently to … build a comprehensive regulatory and enforcement system that prioritizes public safety and public health,” the Denver Post reported. The letter was also signed by Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman.

Colorado’s MJ system, Hickenlooper wrote, “has proven to be effective” and is “a model for other states and nations.” But he added that the state is always looking for ways to improve the program and said Colorado is interested in collaborating with federal officials on industry oversight.

“We stand ready to work with our federal partners to fortify what we have built,” Hickenlooper wrote.

According to the newspaper, Hickenlooper specifically addressed in the letter how Colorado’s government has handled cannabis diversion to the black market, thus preventing MJ use by minors, marijuana-related traffic accidents, and emergency room visits due to cannabis use. But he also made a point of arguing that MJ businesses should have easier access to the banking system, to make the industry “safer and more accountable.”

First to respond to Sessions were the governors of Alaska and Washington, followed by the chief executive of Oregon. All made it clear they stand by their state legalization programs.