Governor Voices Opposition to Bill That Would Legalize Marijuana in Colorado

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (pictured) has come out against a marijuana legalization measure that will appear on the November ballot, saying its passage would send the wrong message to children and detract from the state’s image as a hub of healthy living.

This is either positive or negative depending on which side of the marijuana bill you stand on.

Many professionals in the MMJ industry support the measure, believing the legalization of cannabis will open up and greatly expand the market. For these individuals, Hickenlooper’s comments seem hypocritical given that the governor used to run a microbrewery and built his fortune selling alcohol.

Others in the MMJ industry, however, think that legalization would simply invite the federal government to crack down on all marijuana-related operations in the state, including dispensaries and grow operations focused on the medical side of cannabis. These individuals hope the governor’s words will help convince enough people who are currently on the fence about marijuana legalization to vote against it. They share the same concerns expressed by Hickenlooper that “federal laws would remain unchanged in classifying marijuana as a Schedule I substance, and federal authorities have been clear they will not turn a blind eye toward states attempting to trump those laws.”

At this point, it’s impossible to guess what will happen to the medical marijuana business if Colorado legalizes cannabis, given that this is uncharted territory and there are so many unknowns.

The bill – known as Amendment 64 – would make marijuana legal in Colorado for adults over the age of 21 and allow the state to license and tax grow sites, retail stores and related facilities. If passed, it would set up a regulatory structure similar to the one governing the production, distribution and sale of alcohol. The bill has some solid support in the state, with a recent poll showing that 47% approve of the measure vs. just 38% who oppose it. Another poll taken earlier this summer showed support among likely voters at 61%.

Two other states – Washington and Oregon – have similar measures on the ballot this fall.