John Hickenlooper, Bob Beauprez, Manu Raju
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, right, gestures while his opponent, Republican candidate for governor Bob Beauprez, left, waits for his turn to speak, during a moderated by Politico reporter Manu Raju, center, in Denver, on Monday. Gov. Hickenlooper is facing one of the toughest re-election fights of his political career. Several polls suggest he’s in a close race against Beauprez, a former member of the U.S. House. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper during a debate Monday called the vote to legalize recreational marijuana in his state “reckless.”
Hickenlooper, a Democrat who opposed the 2012 constitutional amendment legalizing recreational marijuana, said voters lacked data to make an informed decision, reports the International Business Times.
Hickenlooper was asked at Monday’s Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce debate what he would tell other states considering legalizing marijuana.
“Any governor that looks at doing this before we see what the consequences are, I would view it as reckless,” he said.
He was then asked if the voters were reckless for supporting the amendment.
“I think for us to do that without having all the data, there is not enough data, and to a certain extent you could say it was reckless. I’m not saying it was reckless because I’ll get quoted everywhere, but if it was up to me I wouldn’t have done it, right. I opposed it from the very beginning. In matter of fact, all right, what the hell — I’ll say it was reckless.”
Hickenlooper, according to the IBT, said he worries about the drug’s impact on young people.
“In the face of inaction from the federal government, Colorado voters had no choice but to act on their own. While the governor believes it was reckless for Colorado to be the first state to violate federal drug laws, it is clear that Colorado voters saw no other choice — and we are committed to carrying out their will, as democracy demands.”
Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Ferner that Hickenlooper’s remark was a “a pretty reckless statement.”
“Gov. Hickenlooper was elected by 51 percent of the state’s voters, whereas 55 percent approved the marijuana initiative in 2012,” Tvert told Ferner. “Some of them might now be thinking they made a pretty reckless decision when they voted him into office.”
A Quinnipiac University poll released in July found 54 percent of Colorado voters still support legal pot.
— Noelle Crombie