Colorado governor John Hickenlooper looks back at the path of legalization in Colorado, as well as forward at what he thinks will happen to the industry in the long term. While Colorado might have gotten ahead of itself with some things like edibles, it still showed that many big fears like spikes in teenage consumption, driving while high, and emergency room visits didn’t really become reality. This is good news as we continue forward focusing on the differences between the politics of determining the best interests of communities and the governance of efficiently implementing policies for those interests.


Seth Adler: Colorado governor, John Hickenlooper joins us. Welcome to Cannabis Economy. I'm you're host, Seth Adler. Download episodes on That's two N's, and the word economy, have a lot going on there these days, along with the podcast. Governor Hickenlooper takes us through his evolution of thinking through the entire legalization in Colorado and what his actions were and how his mind changed. First a word for Wana Brands, and then Governor John Hickenlooper.
[inaudible 00:00:37] with Wana Brands. Nancy, consumer education.

Female: I think what is going to happen longer-term in this industry is that, in order to really grow the total pie, we need a lot more consumer education. People need to really understand more about cannabis, and they need to understand how to use it in a way that's effective and comfortable for them. We need to also educate medical professionals so that they can educate the folks who they're working with.

Seth Adler: Governor Hickenlooper, thank you so much for having me in. This is a conversation that I've been waiting a long time to have. So let's talk about today, right? As you make your way to the sunset, so to speak-

John H.: Riding off into the sunset.

Seth Adler: Indeed. How do you see cannabis legalization here as we make our way into 2019? How do you see it in Colorado? You've had a front row seat, if not you've had the gavel in hand.

John H.: I think I found my way into the ring.

Seth Adler: Indeed.

John H.: I think that we obviously made some mistakes in the beginning. I don't think we were quite ready for edibles. But the great things that we were most fearful of, like a large spike in teenage consumption or a lot of people driving while high, gigantic jumps in emergency room visits, if we saw them, they were short-lived. We look at it now, and the only real demographic where there's been an increase in consumption is seniors.

Seth Adler: Indeed.

John H.: Right? That's either Baby Boomers coming home to roost, or it's the aches and pains, the rheumatoid arthritis or whatever, that marijuana seems, in many cases, to be a preferable pain reliever compared to some of the opioids. There's nothing wrong with that.

Seth Adler: There's nothing wrong with that. There's nothing wrong with being pro business. I feel like that's a moniker that you're okay with.

John H.: Yeah, we're pro business. I think, again, to me, that the great experiment around marijuana wasn't so much pro business or anti business. Obviously, I think it regulates itself and it just will operate better as a business. We certainly worked repeatedly to try and support small businesses, because, I think, again, lots of small businesses are generally a healthier ecosystem than a few monopolies, big businesses. So within that, let's create a system of rules, and let's be fair within that system of rules. We've generally tried to favor small business over large businesses, but also have tried to make it as easy as possible.

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