Gov. John Hickenlooper is once again cracking jokes about marijuana policy in Colorado, this time during his State of the State address on Thursday.
Here's how the governor's bit played out:
After 11 failed attempts over 40 years – and with the help of former Govs. Bill Owens and Bill Ritter, the General Assembly and in partnership with state employees – Colorado voters passed Amendment S … finally bringing the state’s outdated personnel system into the 21st century.
Some other amendments passed in November …. one on federal campaign finance reform ……. and another, for the life of me I can’t remember the third one.
Oh yeah, Amendment 64.
The governor may have simply been ironic, joking that he's forgotten about an amendment that has received world-wide attention. Or perhaps the governor was taking a light-weight swipe at cannabis users' supposed forgetfulness. Either way it's Hickenlooper making light of an issue that Colorado voters turned out in large numbers to support -- so large were the numbers that more Coloradans voted for legalizing recreational marijuana than they did for President Barack Obama's reelection.
Hickenlooper, a vocal opponent of Amendment 64, came out against the measure before the November election saying, "Colorado is known for many great things –- marijuana should not be one of them." Then after A64 overwhelmingly passed 55-45, Hickenlooper reacted with a joke about Cheetos and Goldfish, an apparent jab at marijuana users' supposed craving for "munchies:"
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 Goldfish too quickly.
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 to The Huffington Post last November. "I wouldn't be surprised to see that comment bite him in the ass."
Hickenlooper wasn't all jokes during the State of the State address, he also briefly addressed some of the policy that his marijuana task force is working on.
"We now have a task force hard at work considering the legal and policy implications of Amendment 64," Hickenlooper said. "And we are determined to implement this new law in a way the promotes the health and safety of all Coloradans. We need to expand our DUI law to keep our highways safe from those driving while impaired, and we must put in place consumer and regulatory safeguards and provide law enforcement with effective tools to keep marijuana out of the reach of kids."
The marijuana task force has until the end of February to make policy recommendations to the governor about the implementation of Amendment 64 in Colorado.