(Some) Colorado Lawmakers React Angrily To Trump Weed Threats

Rep. Jared Polis (D).

As the Colorado Statesman’s Ernest Luning reports:

Word that the White House could begin cracking down on the marijuana trade in states that have legalized the drug drew swift rebuke Thursday from Democratic lawmakers in Colorado, the first state to cultivate a recreational pot industry.

“Whether it is building a wall or stripping protections for trans students, President Trump has already shown he’s willing to trample Colorado values to further his regressive agenda,” said state Sen. Steve Fenberg, D-Boulder, in a statement. “Now, he’s going to use his Department of Justice to trample states’ rights? The people of Colorado voted for the legalization of recreational marijuana, and the federal government needs to respect the will of Coloradans.”

…U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat and a founder of the bipartisan congressional Cannabis Caucus, invoked states’ rights and the burgeoning marijuana economy in his sharp criticism of Spicer’s statement.

“The president has said time and again that the decision about marijuana needs to be left to the states,” Polis said in a statement. “Now either the president is flip-flopping or his staff is, once again, speaking out of turn; either way, these comments leave doubt and uncertainty for the marijuana industry, stifling job growth in my state. The public has spoken on recreational marijuana, we’ve seen it work in Colorado, and now is the time to lift the federal prohibition.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper has a less strident but still fairly supportive tone, via Politico:

Hickenlooper also weighed in on the issue of legalized marijuana. Following White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s statement Thursday that the Department of Justice would be “taking action” on the recreational use of marijuana, Hickenlooper called legalized marijuana “one of the great experiments of the 21st century.”

He said while he was against legalized marijuana, the state has anecdotally seen less drug dealers and has not experienced an uptick in usage among teenagers.

Twenty-four hours since the Trump administration’s announcement of “greater enforcement” of federal law prohibiting recreational marijuana sales and possession, we’re struck by how little comment there’s been from Colorado politicians–especially Republican Colorado politicians who presumably would be opposed, and would have more pull interceding on Colorado’s behalf with Trump than Democratic lawmakers.

Yesterday’s announcement by White House spokesman Sean Spicer contained very little in the way of details on what the “greater enforcement” against marijuana would look like, and the administration has refused requests for more information. That vacuum leaves room for rumor and misinformation that further darkens the picture for this billion-dollar industry.

If we really do value the marijuana industry’s economic and public revenue benefits to our state, the time to speak up is right now. That includes, in fact it’s fair to say it depends on, Republicans with access to the new administration leading the opposition.

If they don’t? Well, there are going to be a lot of upset (and sober) stoners voting in 2018.

7 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Good comments by the Governor.  I would put a twist on his comments, not by saying this (ending Prohibition) is one of the great experiments of the 21st century. – I'd offer the Great Experiment was Prohibition.  It failed.  A miserable, trillion-dollar debacle that has left a wake of personal destruction (and a robust private prison industry complex). 

  2. Meiner49erMeiner49er says:

    Spend millions fighting it, or make millions taxing it's legal use. Even Trump should get this.

    • CaninesCanines says:

      I strongly suspect that Trump is only interested in the cannabis industry if it can provide him with money. Let's just speculate for a second: if Christie's New Jersey pharmaceutical industry buddies can get Trump to reschedule marijuana (from a Schedule I controlled substance to a Schedule II) so that they alone are allowed to sell pot to the people (and Trump gets a cut), he'd quite likely be pleased as punch.

  3. allyncooper says:

    The "Nobel Experiment" was indeed a monumental failure and the repeal of the federal alcohol prohibition largely returned the control of alcoholic beverages to the individual states where it belongs.

    With a $20 trillion national debt, a war on terror, a failed immigration system, a dysfunctional health care system, and an affordable housing crisis, the federal government has enough on its plate without worrying about the stoners.

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