Former beer magnate John Hickenlooper thinks marijuana is "not a healthy thing." That's why Colorado's governor is agonizing over state's new pot economy.
"I hate Colorado having to be the experiment," he recently stated, adding: "We are going to regulate the daylights out of it."
The hypocrisy of Hickenlooper's words did not fall on deaf stoner ears. "I doubt Gov. Hickenlooper felt like he was participating in an experiment when he was making a living selling alcohol in a legal market,” responded Mason Tvert, one of the architects of the state's legalization law, passed by voters in 2012.
Before he became governor, Hickenlooper made a living selling beer. He co-founded the Wynkoop Brewing Company, a Denver brewpub, in 1988.
So beer is healthy and marijuana is not? “Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it is less toxic than alcohol, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violent and reckless behavior,” Tvert countered. “If he is truly concerned about public health, he should be encouraging adults to consider making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol when they are socializing or relaxing after work.”
While Tvert admits, "I like having a couple of beers," he knows there's a significant difference between alcohol and marijuana, mainly that one can be a cause of death and the other can't.
Update: On Feb. 21, Hickenlooper reiterated that marijuana "doesn't make people smarter, doesn't make people healthier... I don't think governors should be in the position of promoting things that not inherrently good for people."
He added: "This is going to be one of the great social experiments of the 21st century. But going out and getting tax revenue is absolutely the wrong reason to even think about legalizing recreational marijuana."
Illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando