The first line of Carol Boigon's new ad is this: "Whether you support medical marijuana or not, putting dispensaries everywhere is not a jobs plan." Why did the mayoral hopeful, whose slogan is "Boigon Means Business," mention pot? "There's a number of my colleagues on the council -- and one of them is running for mayor -- that truly believe the medical marijuana industry is a good short-term job creation strategy for us," she says. "I have a different view of it."
On a conference call with reporters today, Boigon declined to name names. "I don't want to speak for anybody else," she explained. "If you go to a couple of council meetings, you'll figure that out very quickly. It's very clear. It's not mysterious."
City councilman Doug Linkhart recently became the first mayoral hopeful to hold a fundraiser at a dispensary and James Mejia was spotted last month at a National Cannabis Industry Association event co-starring Congressman Jared Polis.
As for dispensaries in Denver, Boigon thinks they've become too plentiful and commercialized, which she says has led to "very strange outcomes."
"The voters of Colorado voted for medical marijuana to be sure that sick people had medication to bring them relief," she continues. But "it's not a good jobs strategy and it's not good for neighborhoods, and it needs to be managed in a way that's respectful of the needs of sick people, but also respectful of the fact this was not an authorization for legalization."
Boigon says she doesn't like what she calls an attempt to combine "the recreational and the medical." For example, she says, some people argue that dispensaries should allow patients to smoke their marijuana on-site because smoking is banned from places such as subsidized housing. Boigon says that leads to more questions: "What's the intent of the constitutional amendment and what makes sense in neighborhoods?" she asks.
Instead of using dispensaries to create jobs, Boigon says she'd like to encourage growth in industries such as biotechnology, aviation, information technology and energy. And she says Denver can no longer rely on municipal and private projects for revenue -- something she says her competitors in the mayoral race don't understand.
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"Projects are good; we've built a really beautiful city here," she says. "It's just not enough to be economic development." Boigon also believes that Denver needs to think regionally, not locally, when it comes to business. "The minute we start saying, 'We're only going to buy Denver,' then the folks in Lakewood will say, 'Well, we're not going to buy Denver.' We need to be part of a regional network economy."
Here's the ad:
More from our Politics archives: "Michael Hancock's new commercial the ad to beat in Denver mayor's race (VIDEOS)."