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John Hickenlooper opposing marijuana Amendment 64, both sides react

john hickenlooper 126x126.jpg
Hickenlooper.
Late yesterday afternoon, in the biggest surprise since the sun rose in the east, Governor John Hickenlooper announced his opposition to Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act. Amendment proponent Mason Tvert responded with a statement charging Hick with hypocrisy -- a theme that echoes reaction to the negative ruling in a Blue Book lawsuit a few hours earlier -- while the No on 64 forces touted his stand. Read all their comments below.

Hickenlooper, who's always had a finely tuned sense of perception, began his announcement with a reference to reputation before segueing into a drugs-are-bad rap -- and tossing in a sop to reformers at the end. His statement reads:

Colorado is known for many great things -- marijuana should not be one of them. Amendment 64 has the potential to increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are okay.

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. While we are sympathetic to the unfairness of burdening young people with felony records for often minor marijuana transgressions, we trust that state lawmakers and district attorneys will work to mitigate such inequities.

mason tvert and brian vicente board hearing july 2011.jpg
Amendment 64 proponents Mason Tvert, left, and Brian Vicente.
In response, Tvert opens up with both barrels, blasting Hickenlooper for attacking marijuana use despite a past as a tavern owner, where he made money dispensing a product cannabis advocates and plenty of others regard to be more dangerous than pot. He writes:

Governor Hickenlooper's statement today ranks as one of the most hypocritical statements in the history of politics. After building a personal fortune by selling alcohol to Coloradans, he is now basing his opposition to this measure on concerns about the health of his citizens and the message being sent to children. We certainly hope he is aware that alcohol actually kills people. Marijuana use does not. The public health costs of alcohol use overall are approximately eight times greater per person than those associated with marijuana. And alcohol use is associated with violent crime. Marijuana use is not.

I personally started working on this issue in 2004, following the death of two Colorado college students from alcohol-overdoses. My work, including this campaign, has been dedicated toward improving public health, not diminishing it. We do not believe adults should be made into criminals for choosing to use a less harmful alternative to alcohol, if that is what they prefer. We are not sending the wrong message by saying adults should not be punished for using marijuana. Governor Hickenlooper is sending the wrong message by telling all Coloradans that they should only be allowed to use alcohol.

Like these words, Tvert-associate Brian Vicente's broadsides against the aforementioned Blue Book ruling -- e.g., "We've seen decades of propaganda and government actions trying to prevent people from educating themselves about marijuana prohibition" -- suggest that the campaign's tone will now be harsher toward elected officials and representatives trying to prevent the amendment's passage. After all, it's now as clear as can be that the vast majority of the powers-that-be think maintaining the marijuana status quo will be a lot challenging than making a bold move in opposition to federal policy.

As for Smart Colorado, the No on 64 campaign, the organization rushed out its statement so quickly after Hickenlooper's dropped that it's not actually attributed to anyone in particular, although it was sent by spokeswoman Laura Chapin. It reads:

We want to thank Governor Hickenlooper for doing the right thing and opposing Amendment 64 today. Colorado is a wonderful place to raise a family and do business, and Amendment 64 would negatively impact both. As Governor Hickenlooper put it, "Colorado is known for many great things - marijuana should not be one of them." He is absolutely right, and we believe voters will come to the same conclusion and vote No on 64.
The message here is that Amendment 64 backers shouldn't expect many high-profile Colorado electees to risk their political futures by publicly expressing their support for the act. They'll have to rely on the voters to do that.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: Amendment 64 backers lose Blue Book fight, rip government deception."


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69 comments
starknature
starknature

Hickenlooper is committing treason against our state by not doing the will of the people.  We voted on it, it passed, he should do his job, or be tried for treason.

Ryan
Ryan

Booze is fine though, right governor Hickocrite?

pabelena
pabelena

Please vote no amendment 64. Marijuana makes more crime. Michael Adolf Kollarits assaulted one of my friends in January. He was arrested and jailed. His marijuana dispensary pay for fancy lawyers to get his freedom. DA dropped charges last month. New he is free selling marijuana. I hear hear about attoreny general closing pot shops because owners break the law. I think that medical marijuana is a big trick to get you to make it legal.

kwame
kwame

It pisses me off that people compare Marijuana to Alcohol. It has both the undesired effect of making alcohol the enemy in a fight it didn't pick, and demonizing Marijuana by association. I would like to be able to enjoy craft beer, and marijuana, as separate entities. You dont need to call him a hypocrite, just call him an idiot. 

Clayton Capra
Clayton Capra

This has nothing to do with Coloradians just himself and his future political aspirations and how 64 would affect them. Another politician sells his soul in hopes of a higher seat.

JK47
JK47

Yo, amendment 64 proponents: It's time to get your asses to each of Hickenlooper's restaurants POST HASTE and call the press. Protest the poisoning of hundreds of thousands of Denver citizens by demon alcohol! Cite traffic fatality statistics and DUI checkpoint numbers showing what a "concerned" individual this ass puppet really is. Buy his product and pour it down the sewer on live television! Use their underhanded tactics against them and show on television that the REAL enemy is a governor who'd poison you with demon alcohol just to make a buck and pay off his divorce lawyer! Do it for the children, or they may wake up one day and have a beer......a crappy craft beer made by one of Howdy Doodie's crappy craft restaurants. Get your asses out there and call the press! Protest booze as a killer!

Jane Mast
Jane Mast

smart guy. our guv doesn't want any competition with the drug he's peddlin' to us.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

This really blows my mind . I knew the Gov before politics and he certainly didn't hold this stance against marijuana back then . We' d leave our drinks on the bar and hit the alley for a toke. His staff took turns joining us. I remember on a number of occasions he even watched the bar while we stepped out to blaze a fattie ...

NO , he NEVER joined us & I wouldn't say if he did . But I truly see this as a stab in the back to voters who rode w/ him thinking he's pro-legalization .

This really hurts my feelings & puts into question my evaluation of the man . Does he believe he need only wear Hilllary's boxers to coverup his REPUBLICAN heart ???!!!

I hope he reads this and listens . He KNOWS Juan Leg . I'd like for him to stand up and be honest about his direction toward this amendment . There is some motive behind this NEW stance of his .

PERHAPS  a 3-some w/ Romney & Ryan ???...

Who knows ??????

freetheplant
freetheplant

I hope this passes, I am voting on it, pessimistic but still keeping some hope.I wonder how many  MMJ dispensaries will close due to rapidly falling prices of MMJ. This relaxing of marijuana prohibition should it pass will definitely cause more production and home cultivation by MANY new growers resulting in dramatic price drops. I wouldn't think that the MMJ dispensaries would be too happy about amendment 64 passing as the same feelings against Prop.19 in California were ranted by MMJ dispensaries out there over fears of profit loss.

 

It should be about the benefit of us all, instead of the extreme profiteering of the few. With mass cultivation of industrial Hemp, that will bring in many jobs and taxes as well. Tourism will increase bringing in even more taxes and jobs. Amendment 64 has great potential to put Colorado at the top for the state with the best economy.

Lee1210
Lee1210

Listen he's planning a run for President in 2016 so he doesn't want this as something the Republicans can hammer him for.  He has higher aspirations and as such, is willing to sell out the very people who got him elected.  This makes sense no other way given his history with alcohol and his statement supporting that Marijuana stays as a Schedule one federal drug.  Shame on you Hick.

John
John

He spent a large part of adulthood getting people drunk off of craft beer but this he doesn't want to be associated with.  Hypocrisy, Mr. Governor you just lost a supporter.

Blake Morrison
Blake Morrison

He's wrong. He doesn't even need to have an official position on it so he's sticking his foot in his mouth.

RobertChase
RobertChase topcommenter

I oppose Hack and all the other hacks Colorado elects as leaders.  Cannabis is valuable medicine, food, fuel, and fiber.  It is also a mild euphoriant, and the safest drug known.  To deny ourselves the benefits of this plant and to continue to criminalize the many citizens who choose to use it, Hack is willing to take a stand -- for injustice and the failed policy of Prohibition pursued over the past seven decades!

 

The Governor is unwilling to meaningfully confront any entrenched interest and has no plan for the future of Colorado, other than vague notions of making it a place friendly to restaurateurs, brewers, and distillers, where more of the natives are given high school diplomas (signifying nothing).  He'd better be right about fracking not posing a threat to our limited supply of groundwater (despite evidence already emerging of chemicals from fracking migrating substantial distances vertically through strata supposed impermeable) -- natural gas is providing a windfall to extraction companies due to Colorado's disproportionately low severance taxes, all too little of which is trickling down to the people who live in Colorado.  Besides cheering on the looting of our natural resources without even trying to raise the severance tax so that we get as much for our oil, gas, and minerals as Wyoming or Montana do for theirs, and making the State friendly to alcohol-peddlers, Hack's hopes for our future would seem to depend on someone building a "spaceport" to accomodate horizontally-launched rockets to whisk imaginary space tourists on sub-orbital flights.

 

Hack is a hypocrite who pushed alchohol to tourists in our booze-friendly state and now ignores scientific evidence (see e.g. http://ftp.iza.org/dp6592.pdf ) demonstrating that medical cannabis laws have not increased teens' use of cannabis.  Cannabis is a safer choice than alcohol for adults, and fewer people are dying on Colorado highways as a direct result of drivers' substitution of cannabis for alcohol.  Hack stands with the prohibitionist parasites, all the police, DAs, and the rest of the oppressive apparatus which funnels supposed miscreants into our corporate prison system.  He is one of the primary reasons I left the Democratic Party after thirty-five years of membership.

 

Hack's pronouncements -- how can any thinking person credit anything this clown says?  This is the man who less than a year ago beat his breast at an afternoon press conference about his concern for the First Amendment, declared that Lincoln Park would be open at 6AM for free speech, but that those camped would have to leave, closed the Park, arrested protesters for being in the Park after 6AM, and had it ringed by State police in full riot gear and closed to the public by 8:30AM the next morning when I surveyed the spectacle.  I will take Hack's commitment to the wellfare of children to be on the same order as his commitment to free speech -- too bad Colorado has no journalists to challenge Governor Hypocrite's outrages!

Mark Slaugh
Mark Slaugh

Very Very wrong. Hypocritical considering he built an alcohol empire and very stupid since we need jobs and revenue. Economic gardening is a democratic concept and despite the Gov. Support for his own party, he is going against what the majority of the public believes. Amendment 64 has the support of the democratic party - this is a dumb move by John probably from some prohibitionist cabinet member.

Isaac Glenn Newton
Isaac Glenn Newton

If it get legalized tax the shit out of it cause when they allowed it medical aka recreationally everyone was like we are okay with you taxing it then when they did everyone cried about. Then use the taxes for after school.programs so are young people came grow up to know there is Alot more to life then pot. Just saying

Dustin Hoeft
Dustin Hoeft

Hey Mayby we can start lockin up all the stoners and fill are jails, hell weight have to build a new one just for them. Spend a couple hundred thousand man hours a year arresting and prosecuting a couple hundre million on a new jail to fit em ... Or legalize and regulate helping the economyv

Dustin Hoeft
Dustin Hoeft

Hey Mayby we can start lockin up all the stoners and fill are jails, hell weight have to build a new one just for them. Spend a couple hundred thousand man hours a year arresting and prosecuting a couple hundre million on a new jail to fit em ... Or legalize and regulate helping the economyv

Dustin Hoeft
Dustin Hoeft

Any tax revenue is good for the state. Since being able to go to a dispensary I have not been offered any blow by the cashier, which is common from a neighborhood weed man.,,, yes on 64

Tim Tindle
Tim Tindle

I think decriminalizing industrial hemp should be the priority. But Co is owned by big oil and gas so it is a long shot.

Tim Tindle
Tim Tindle

I think decriminalizing industrial hemp should be the priority. But Co is owned by big oil and gas so it is a long shot.

Rachel K. Gillette
Rachel K. Gillette

He fervently supports the beer industry, but not marijuana, which is much, much safer than alcohol. He's clearly a hypocrite, and his reasoning is flawed---the best way to keep marijuana out of the kids hands is through regulation. As a parent of a 17yo and 15yo, I support regulation of marijuana and will be voting YES on Amendment 64!

Truth-Force
Truth-Force

LIARS! This is NOT LEGALIZATION! How can it be "legalization" for one ounce, but you can still lose your job or have your children taken away for that one ounce? "Legalization" means removal of ALL penalties, not just some. These lying liars are getting a dose of their own medicine. Reap what you sow, puerile pot clowns!

Nick Murphy
Nick Murphy

He Is totally wrong and wrong for our state

Nick Murphy
Nick Murphy

He Is totally wrong and wrong for our state

Matt_in_Boulder
Matt_in_Boulder

"The message here is that Amendment 64 backers shouldn't expect many high-profile Colorado electees to risk their political futures by publicly expressing their support for the act."

 

So true.  That's why we need citizen-led ballot initiatives in the first place.  Politicians are too busy pandering to their corporate and union masters to bother enacting the will of the people...

freetheplant
freetheplant

I wouldn't be surprised that state officials resort to using shady tactics this November like the infamous Diebold Voting Machines which can be tampered and altered to give false vote counts.Just search the work of Bev Harris and Black Box Voting. The powers that be will stoop to any level to keep this plant illegal, even going against the will of the people.There are more than enough people who will vote FOR legalization this November. These votes need to be watched VERY carefully. Stalin once said > ( I care not about he who casts the vote- only about he who counts it).

 

The officials cannot be trusted to run an honest vote count. Should the results of 64 come back as not passing, it's very likely that something corrupt will have been done behind the scenes to make sure it failed. Paper Ballot voting is the method that Amendment 64 needs for Coloradans to cast votes on. If it's machines and the machines have Diebold on them, you can pretty much expect Amendment 64 to fail.

Josh Davidoff
Josh Davidoff

Dear Ross, since when did drinking alcohol not go well with smoking pot?

Matt Leising
Matt Leising

@Leah and Michael- you remember the last time made alcohol illegal? Also, since MMJ has begun here in Colorado, teen use of the drug is down and the economy is up.

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @Ryan A point made in just seven words. Thanks for the post, Ryan.

Ryan
Ryan

 @pabelena So marijuana should be kept illegal because one dispensary owner is a bad guy?  Marijuana didn't cause him to beat up your friend, by the way.  

kwame
kwame

 @JK47 I would never waste beer like that. Are you crazy?

JK47
JK47

 @Truth-Force Do you find it hard to talk with Liquorloopers DICK in your mouth?

Citizen80919
Citizen80919

 @Truth-Force Legal to posses an ounce is legalization.  You can lose your job and have you children taken away for alcohol too.  You call others liars, yet you seem to be spinning the biggest web of lies around.  Go back under your rock donkey. 

 

Colorado citizens would like to legally grow and posses our marijuana.  By the way, just to clear up your misrepresentation of the truth... You can keep ALL the marijuana that you grow on the site where you grow it.  Not limited to one ounce.  The one ounce limit is when you are out and about in possession.

 

Calling yourself "Truth-Force" does not mean that you are being truthful.

Matt_in_Boulder
Matt_in_Boulder

 @Truth-Force 

 

Welcome back Donkey!!  You are so right!  Alcohol is clearly not "legalized" either.  Why have we been fooling ourselves for so long.  That's why it is legal for children to drink, legal to drink and drive, illegal for employers to fire you for being drunk on the job, etc.  I had forgotten all about the great benefits of "true legalization'.  Thanks for the reminder!!

/sarcasm

michael.roberts
michael.roberts moderator editortopcommenter

 @Matt_in_Boulder Strong argument, Matt -- one we're going to make an upcoming Comment of the Day. Thanks for the post.

Monkey
Monkey

 @freetheplant"Should the results of 64 come back as not passing, it's very likely that something corrupt will have been done behind the scenes to make sure it failed". Or....... People don't vote for it because our existing medical laws are better. I do like the fact that you believe anyone who disagrees with you must have been corrupted, because we think you are the one who has been deceived.

Juan_Leg
Juan_Leg

 @IcePick  Of what ? That I smoke pot ? I didn't say he did .

You're just being a stupid , fucking , IGNORANT !

His establishment aren't near Colfax & Dayton ,

you're 'hood' .

You insult yourself EVERY TIME you break words .

You are the poster child for a Stupid Fucking IGNORANT !

Monkey
Monkey

 @Citizen80919When a cop thinks you're lying, you have to prove it in court. If a police officer believes you shoplifted, you have to prove them wrong by producing a receipt. When a cop believes you are drunk, you have to prove you are not. How will you prove you grew the weed on site, in excess of an ounce, when police claim they don't believe you? I can't wait for the seed to smoke tracking system our legislators will come up with if A64 passes.

Monkey
Monkey

 @Matt_in_Boulder  100% agree, regulation is not legalization. Plants and herbs should never be regulated like alcohol, especially when it stays in your system 30-50 times longer. Cannabis should be treated like other herbal remedies, not manufactured poisons.

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