Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper talks about Amendment 64 at the State Capital in 2012. (Denver Post file)

Don’t call him ‘the stoner governor’: Hickenlooper shares marijuana memories

In new memoir, Gov. John Hickenlooper says he told his mom as a teen that weed “was not as bad as alcohol” and that he smoked with Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s pot smoking is getting plenty of attention with the release of his new memoir this week.

But even in a state where marijuana is legal, Hickenlooper does not want the title of stoner governor.

In prime time interviews earlier this week during a media tour for the book, Hickenlooper said Colorado’s system is not perfect — citing the number of children sent to the hospital for eating pot edibles — but “it might work.”

“There hasn’t been a spike in young people suddenly using marijuana,” Hickenlooper told Seth Meyers on NBC’s “Late Night” show. “It wasn’t like it was impossible to find beforehand.”

Hickenlooper knows this first hand.

The book, “Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics,” details the first time he smoked pot at age 16 while attending his older brother’s college graduation party at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and his subsequent attempt to grow marijuana outside his bedroom window in suburban Pennsylvania.

His mother didn’t approve, as the book recounts, and he told her weed “was not as bad as alcohol.” Hickenlooper credits his experiment with pot with serving as an entree to the cool-kids club at his private high school.

In other parts of the book, Hickenlooper recounts the time in college when he “got a little high” and took a nude selfie in the bathtub as part of an advanced photography class. And the time he smoked pot with Yoko Ono, the widow of John Lennon, soon after receiving his graduate degree. Ono was a friend of his girlfriend’s brother.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper memoir, May 2016
The cover of Gov. John Hickenlooper’s new book, “The Opposite of Woe: My Life in Beer and Politics.” (Handout)

In an interview this week, Hickenlooper didn’t linger on his pot smoking days. “I used pot in college,” he said. “Back then almost everybody did. To downplay it and say you didn’t do it would be the height of disingenuous.”

Asked when he stopped smoking pot, Hickenlooper, 64, declined to put a date on it. “Many, many years ago,” he said, adding: “I haven’t done it since it was legal.”

“You find your own ways to make yourself stupid,” he quipped.

Hickenlooper returned Wednesday from a two-day book launch in New York and will host a book party and signing at the Wynkoop brewery in LoDo at 6 p.m. Thursday.



This story was first published on DenverPost.com