Last week, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock – a former opponent of legalizing marijuana in Colorado – rallied colleagues from other cities to form a coalition supporting a bill introduced by Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, who also opposed marijuana legalization. The bill would ensure states like Colorado have the right to set their own marijuana laws and policies without federal interference.
On their face, both the legislation and Hancock’s coalition building might seem like incremental steps in the long-festering and growing national debate over the legalization of marijuana. But the show of public leadership on behalf of the industry by two important Colorado elected officials underscores not only the already well-known strong public sentiment for legal cannabis, but also – and perhaps most importantly – how successful this social experiment can be when done right.
It also underscores the need for Congress to pass the legislation introduced by Gardner, R-Colorado, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, that would protect the now-burgeoning marijuana industry from federal enforcement policies and ensure businesses have the proper legal and financial networks to protect both their assets and physical safety.