Marijuana: John Hickenlooper compares teen pot smoking to underage drinking
After Governor John Hickenlooper ate cafeteria food and danced with elementary school students yesterday, we asked him about another issue that, at least according to him, is relevant to youth: the regulation of marijuana.
Following up on a statement his office sent out last week announcing that Hickenlooper opposes Amendment 64, the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol act, the governor told us that he's concerned underage pot smoking would rise to levels of underage drinking.
Hickenlooper's statement said in part:
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.
Predictably, backers of Amendment 64 pounced on the governor's announcement and the initiative's opponents cheered.
Sam Levin Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, and other officials at Lowry Elementary School press conference yesterday
Supporters of the amendment, who have been leading a bipartisan push to pass 64, see Hickenlooper's opposition as especially hypocritical and backwards given his background in beer with the Wynkoop Brewing Company.
Here's an excerpt from the statement Amendment 64 proponent Mason Tvert sent out in response to Hickenlooper last week:
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.
As seen in this new ad campaign, Amendment 64 backers argue that some people simply prefer marijuana to alcohol and shouldn't be criminalized for that, especially since marijuana is arguably safer and less harmful than alcohol.
After the press conference yesterday, we asked the governor what his response was to the criticisms of his hypocrisy given his history of brewing.
Continue to read Governor Hickenlooper's thoughts about Amendment 64 and underage drinking.