By Jacqueline Corba
Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper defended his decision to veto three marijuana bills despite widespread momentum for legalization in a state that already has some of the most liberal cannabis laws in the country.
"I think its prudent for the entire industry to move steadily, but slowly and make sure this is a success," Hickenlooper said in an interview Tuesday with Cheddar's CannaBiz.
The governor said he blocked a bill to legalize tasting rooms in his state out of concern that it could lead to more people driving while high. He also vetoed a bill adding autism to the list of eligible conditions for medical pot and one that would allow publicly traded companies to invest in Colorado pot businesses.
His vetoes angered some state lawmakers and marijuana activists who see Colorado's cannabis laws as a way to move the issue of national legalization forward.
"This is just a travesty," said state Rep. Edie Hooton, a Democrat from Boulder who was a prime sponsor of the autism bill.
But Hickenlooper stood by his cautious approach.
"We haven't done studies of what high THC marijuana does to young people, and any other pharmaceuticalー any other drug people have studied and looked at its effect," said Hickenlooper. "We felt we needed to have a little more testing."
This week, mayors from six cities where marijuana is legal formed a coalition calling for national reform of marijuana laws.
In a tweet, Denver's Mayor Michael Hancock wrote, "Mayors are the ones implementing legal marijuana. We know what works and what doesn't."
Hickenlooper seemed to agree. "I think this great social experiment is happening on the local level," he said. "If states are the laboratories of democracy, then in a powerful way that experiment takes place in all kinds of cities, and towns, and counties."
For full interview, click here.