THE BLOG
01/05/2014 12:12 am ET Updated Mar 06, 2014

Congressman Says Pot Legalization Could Keep Fortune 500 Companies Out of Colorado

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Aurora) delivered a major buzz kill on the radio Wednesday, saying he's worried that pot legalization might keep Fortune 500 companies out of Colorado and drive down the state economy.

"I worry, 'What about that Fortune 500 corporation that wants to move to Colorado?'" Coffman said on KOA's Colorado Morning News (@3:45). "And the chief executive officer has young kids, and to say, 'Do I want my children exposed to a culture where this is acceptable for adults? And will that influence their behavior as kids?'"

With or without the cloud of marijuana in the mix, you'd think a big CEO would move his or her company to Colorado based on bottom-line considerations, because Fortune 500 companies are about making money.

Speaking of that, how many companies will move to Colorado to make money off the marijuana culture? Seems more likely that companies will move here rather than stay away, when you think about it.

But unfortunately KOA co-host April Zesbaugh didn't delve into the facts underlying Coffman's fear of economic decline due to Colorado's new freedom to buy joints.

Overall, Coffman said he's worried that pot legalization could be a bummer for Colorado's economy, but he wasn't asked to contrast the economic benefits (millions of dollars in tax revenue) with the potential downsides (unknown risks).

"So we are really charting into an unknown world, and I certainly worry about the effect on this economy," Coffman said (at 4:05 in the interview).

Listen to Coffman discuss his concern that pot legalization will drive down state economy 12-31-13

Also in the KOA interview, Coffman said he was concerned that military recruitment might be hurt by Colorado's new pot law, because potential enlistees could be rejected due to their use of marijuana.

What's more, he said current military personnel might get tripped up by the law.

"In terms of the military, we have a fairly significant military population [in Colorado]," Coffman said on KOA. "The military has screening tests that they spring, quite frankly, on their uniform folks every now and then. And if they test positive for drugs, to include marijuana, that's really an issue that leads to a discharge."

Coffman wasn't asked what he could do, legislation-wise, to address this.

Coffman is considered one of the most endangered incumbents in the nation. His Colorado House district was re-drawn in 2010, and he defeated a weak Democratic opponent in 2012 by a slim two-percent margin. This year, analysts agree, he faces a much tougher challenger in Democrat Andrew Romanoff. Observers also point out that lower voter turnout, compared that of the presidential year in 2012, could work in Coffman's favor, if voters stay home November.