Did you miss the John Hickenlooper-Bob Beauprez Colorado gubernatorial debate hosted by The Denver Post earlier this week?
At one point, Denver Post reporter and debate co-moderator Joey Bunch asked Hickenlooper, “You made your fortune on alcohol sales, yet you’ve been a critic of legalized marijuana. Is that hypocritical?”
Hickenlooper mostly sidestepped the question.
“Some of the marijuana people think I’m being hypocritical,” Hickenlooper said. “I argue just the opposite. We made craft beer, we were the fourth brewery-microbrewery-brew pub in Colorado back when rent was a dollar a square foot per year, right? It was abandoned warehouses, and we started this business and got everyone working together to try and make LoDo into LoDo.
“We were regulated up one side and down the other. The BATF, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, regulated everything, right? Now we have over 260 breweries, right? Two-thirds of all the jobs and 10 percent of the beer consumed, that craft brewing industry is tightly regulated.
“All I’m saying is we need to regulate the marijuana industry, which I did oppose, but I’m saying if we have regulations that are going to work we’re going to regulate just as tightly as the beer industry is regulated.”
The follow-up question asked, “Has the cannabis industry acted professionally, or has it been an embarrassment to the state?”
“It’s just like any industry right?” Hickenlooper said. “There are good players, there are people who are little more restless, people who try to seize on sensationalism and kind of gives the entire industry a bad name. And you can say the same thing about almost any industry in Colorado. The vast majority are hard workers trying to do the right thing, but there are always some people who kind of ruin it for everybody.”