"To put this into historical context, there is no historical context. It's the first time any state has ever voted to legalize marijuana -- and two of them did it."
The votes marked a significant shift from decades of tough-on-crime policies that burned through $1 trillion in tax dollars over 40 years, led to the arrest of 850,000 Americans for marijuana law violations in 2010 alone, and fueled the rise of deadly drug cartels abroad. But even as pot reformers celebrated their long-sought victories, the threat of a confrontation with the federal government loomed. Both ballot measures would legalize recreational marijuana use only for adults, and cannabis would remain a controlled substance under federal law.Colorado's Amendment 64 -- which won with 54 percent of the vote in favor, 46 percent opposed -- had vocal opponents during the run up to the election and many of those are sounding off in the wake of the unprecedented passage of the marijuana legalization measure. One of those opponents is Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who reacted in a statement:
The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will. This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through. That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or gold fish too quickly.Cheetos and gold fish? LEAP's Tom Angell, for one, didn't appreciate the apparent joke the governor was making about marijuana users. "What an insult to the majority of voters who did not follow your recommendation, governor," responded Angell. "I wouldn't be surprised to see that comment bite him in the ass."
Back in September, Hickenlooper came out in opposition to the amendment saying, “Colorado is known for many great things –- marijuana should not be one of them." Hickenlooper added, "Amendment 64 has the potential to increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are OK."
Mason Tvert, co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol -- the organization behind Amendment 64 -- had strong words for the governor: "Governor Hickenlooper's statement today ranks as one of the most hypocritical statements in the history of politics," Tvert said. "After building a personal fortune by selling alcohol to Coloradans, he is now basing his opposition to this measure on concerns about the health of his citizens and the message being sent to children. We certainly hope he is aware that alcohol actually kills people. Marijuana use does not. The public health costs of alcohol use overall are approximately eight times greater per person than those associated with marijuana. And alcohol use is associated with violent crime. Marijuana use is not."