ASPEN, Colo.—Governor John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, opposed voter efforts to make marijuana legal in his state. Now he is charged with implementing legalization. He spoke about those efforts in a Tuesday interview with Katie Couric at the Aspen Ideas Festival, which The Atlantic co-hosts with the Aspen Institute.
Here are the 10 statements he made that I found most noteworthy:
1) As Colorado attempts to build its brand as a healthy state, marijuana "dilutes what you're trying to do."
2) "I think decriminalization would've been a wiser first step."
3) One of the best things about marijuana legalization: "I think the black market has been damaged. I think people are willing to pay taxes and to go through pretty rigorous regulation."
4) "Some of the anxiety has been laid to rest. We don't see a spike in adult use. We don't think we see a spike in youth consumption although there are some things that are disconcerting."
5) One of the governor's concerns: "This high-THC marijuana, what can it do to a brain that is still developing?"
6) One of the governor's complaints: federal rules that prohibit dispensary owners from putting their money in banks. "If you really want to introduce corruption into legal marijuana," he said, "make it an all cash business."