When Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana four years ago, one of the move's chief critics was Gov. John Hickenlooper.
“Colorado is known for many great things,” Hickenlooper said. “Marijuana should not be one of them.”
But the governor’s views have softened. During a recent panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, he said that despite opposing the legalization of pot, his job was to “deliver on the will of the people of Colorado.”
“If I had that magic wand now, I don’t know if I would wave it,” he said. “It’s beginning to look like it might work.”
It was the latest in a series of comments Hickenlooper has made signaling what looks like an evolution of his views on marijuana. In April last year, during an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, Hickenlooper said legal weed was “not as vexing as we thought it was going to be.”
And during an appearance on "60 Minutes," he predicted that Colorado might “actually create a system that could work” in successfully regulating marijuana.
Colorado is booming. The state has a 4.2% unemployment rate, one of the best in the country. High-tech companies are moving in. Small towns across the state, some once teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, have been saved by tax revenues from pot dispensaries. And the $1-billion-a-year cannabis business will pump $100 million in taxes into state coffers this year.
Some 70% of the money is earmarked for school construction, public health initiatives and other projects.