Governor who called legalization ‘reckless’ now says Colorado’s pot industry is working

When Colorado voted to legalize recreational marijuana four years ago, one of the move's chief critics was Gov. John Hickenlooper.

The moderate Democrat said that if he could “wave a magic wand” to reverse the decision, he would. Then he called voters “reckless” for approving it in the first place, a remark he later downgraded to “risky.”

“Colorado is known for many great things,” Hickenlooper said. “Marijuana should not be one of them.”

But the governor’s views have softened. During a recent panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles, he said that despite opposing the legalization of pot, his job was to “deliver on the will of the people of Colorado.”

“If I had that magic wand now, I don’t know if I would wave it,” he said. “It’s beginning to look like it might work.”

It was the latest in a series of comments Hickenlooper has made signaling what looks like an evolution of his views on marijuana. In April last year, during an interview with Fox Business host Maria Bartiromo, Hickenlooper said legal weed was “not as vexing as we thought it was going to be.”

And during an appearance on “60 Minutes,” he predicted that Colorado might “actually create a system that could work” in successfully regulating marijuana.

Why the change?

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