Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, as a guest on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, downplayed the possibility that the Trump administration would take aim at Colorado’s recreational marijuana industry, saying legalization’s inclusion in the state Constitution makes it unclear whether the federal government could shut it down.
“Our voters passed it 55-45. It’s in our constitution,” Hickenlooper told “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd on Sunday.
“You don’t think it’s clear that the federal government could stop you?” Todd asked.
“Exactly,” Hickenlooper replied.
Prior to his confirmation as attorney general, Jeff Sessions suggested to U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner that enforcement of federal marijuana law in states that have approved recreational pot would not be a priority, Hickenlooper said.
“It wasn’t worth rising to the top and becoming a priority,” Sessions told Gardner, according to Hickenlooper.
Before voters approved Amendment 64 in 2012, the governor opposed legalizing recreational pot. Todd asked him if he would support the amendment if it were on the ballot today.
“Well, I’m getting close. I mean, I don’t think I’m quite there yet, but we have made a lot progress,” he said.
“There has been no spike in use by teenagers, and we’re getting anecdotal reports of less drug dealers. … Maybe this system is better than what was admittedly a pretty bad system to begin with.”
Todd introduced Hickenlooper, former Denver mayor who won gubernatorial terms in 2010 and 2014, saying his is a “frequently whispered name in the early stages of the Democratic presidential sweepstakes for 2020.”
Democrats seem to be uniting around a plan to oppose anything President Donald Trump wants passed, Todd said, asking if Hickenlooper believes such an attitude would “bite” the party at some time.
Hickenlooper said he didn’t know the answer to that, but noted that Republicans took every opportunity to block any legislative victories by Barack Obama. “You can’t blame anybody for being that upset. And also there’s been a lot of problems in the first month of this administration.”