Background: Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, the first of 11 states. Medical marijuana legalization has spread to 33 states. But the drug is illegal under federal law, creating barriers for the industry.
Opposes national legalization of marijuana
A: Hickenlooper opposed Colorado’s move to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults in 2012, but now takes credit for its mostly smooth implementation. He opposes federal action to legalize marijuana for the nation, saying states should make their own choices. But he does support the removal of cannabis from classification as a Schedule I drug. Doing so would allow the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and National Institutes of Health to research marijuana’s potential medical uses. He also favors eliminating past convictions for marijuana-related crimes and allowing states to decriminalize other drugs.
Supports the legalization of marijuana at the federal level
A: Romanoff says the nation’s drug policies put a disproportionate burden on African Americans and people of color, and wants to see urgent action on the issue. In 2010 he supported medical marijuana and the need for the federal government to allow states to pass their own laws.
Background: One major consequence of the federal-state split on marijuana legalization is the difficulty of banking. The U.S. House passed the SAFE Banking Act in 2019 to allow marijuana businesses access to financial services like loans, lines of credit and even bank accounts. These financial services are currently difficult to obtain because the drug is illegal at the federal level. The measure won bipartisan support, but has stalled in the U.S. Senate.
Yes, he supports the bill
A: Hickenlooper said he supports the measure -- and wants to go even further. He wants to amend the tax code, which he says now penalizes marijuana businesses by preventing them from accessing the same benefits as other companies. One way to level the playing field, he said, is to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and let the states decide whether to legalize it.
A: Romanoff calls it “absurd” that businesses in the marijuana industry that are legal in Colorado and many other states can’t conduct banking. He says the current system is “an invitation to mischief and crime” and supports the legislation and other efforts to allow marijuana businesses to do interstate banking.