DENVER — Former Colorado governor and current Democratic candidate for president John Hickenlooper told reporters Wednesday that he believes marijuana legalization should be left to the states.
“Trust me – the marijuana industry is not going to support someone who says I don’t think it should be legal in every state,” Hickenlooper said when questioned about whether his opinions on marijuana have changed in light of a new national campaign. “Every state should make their choice.”
He did say the federal government should change the classification of marijuana, which is currently a schedule-1 narcotic. And he suggested federal banking reform to allow businesses to operate without cash.
Hickenlooper met reporters at Wynkoop Brewing, the brewpub he founded in 1988, after starting a career as a geologist.
At the time, Wynkoop was one of the only brewpubs in the region, so in a sense, Hickenlooper was part of the popularization of craft beer.
WATCH: Hickenlooper speaks at Wynkoop
When asked if he has any regrets looking back at his life in beer, the former governor didn’t name any.
“I looked at craft beer as something that cost half again more than the traditional you know beer that was brewed at large scale so that people would drink it less and appreciate it more,” he said.
He did name one regret in his intersection with marijuana.
“I would have been all over edibles…it took us two years to create regulations to reign that back in,” he said.
Colorado legalized marijuana in 2012, when Hickenlooper was governor. He originally spoke out in opposition of legal pot. He told Rolling Stone last year that he turned the corner on it because his fears - like a high usage rate among teenagers - didn't become the reality.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), who's also running for president, has introduced a bill that would decriminalize pot federally. Other Democratic presidential candidates in the Senate, like Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren, have issued their support.