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Photo: John Hickenlooper poses with Cheetos, Goldfish and marijuana center owner

Big photo below.
Big photo below.

Update below: After the passage of Amendment 64, Governor John Hickenlooper issued a statement advising folks to wait before breaking out the Cheetos and Goldfish -- an unexpected remark that quickly inspired its own Twitter hash tag. Now, a photo has surfaced featuring Hickenlooper posing with these snacks along with a medical marijuana center co-owner. But the man next to the governor in the shot stresses that the image's release is no joke.

Here's a larger look at the image, captured last Thursday at a Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum fundraiser:

Photo: John Hickenlooper poses with Cheetos, Goldfish and marijuana center owner
Courtesy Denver Relief Consulting

Seen with Hickenlooper is Ean Seeb, co-owner of Denver Relief, one of the state's largest dispensaries, as well as a partner in Denver Relief Consulting, a relatively new firm that offers cannabis-industry-consulting services in Colorado and beyond.

You might also recognize Seeb from his appearance in 60 Minutes' recent medical marijuana primer. We've included that video below.

Yes, the photo of Hickenlooper and Seeb together with a pair of snack items beloved by those with the munchies is amusing. But a release accompanying the snapshot and reproduced in its entirety below frames the image as a symbol of the ways in which Hickenlooper, who opposed Amendment 64, and the preexisting MMJ industry can combine forces to make broader availability of cannabis in Colorado a reality.

"Denver Relief Consulting understands that people are going to have a sense of humor about legalization of marijuana," the statement notes, adding that Hickenlooper's statement "was poking fun at cannabis users." However, the release goes on, "Denver Relief Consulting is highlighting the very serious message voters in Colorado, and also in Washington, sent to public officials on Tuesday: Regulate marijuana and reverse prohibition."

"At this point, we've all had our fun, but now it's time to get down to business together," Seeb is quoted as saying in the release. "With Governor Hickenlooper's leadership, we can implement statutes and regulations that will immediately address the federal government's concerns, while respecting the will of 55 percent of Colorado voters. We made a clear choice on election night, and the governor has a unique opportunity to be on the right side of history and forge a sensible path forward."

Update, 8:14 a.m. November 13: We reached out to Governor John Hickenlooper's office to see if the folks there had a comment about the photo above or the accompanying release from Denver Relief Consulting. A short time ago, we received a one-word response via e-mail from spokesman Eric Brown: "No."

Continue to read the entire Denver Relief Consulting release, and to see the 60 Minutes report featuring Ean Seeb.

Denver Relief Consulting release:

Getting Serious About Legalization

Denver Relief Consulting Recognizes Humor in Legalization, But Calls for Serious Discussion

DENVER -- Nov. 13, 2012 -- Denver Relief Consulting understands that people are going to have a sense of humor about legalization of marijuana. That's why consultant Ean Seeb posed for a photo with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday with bags of Cheetos and Goldfish.

The governor last week issued a tongue-in-cheek statement following approval by Colorado voters of Amendment 64, which legalized marijuana in the state. He joked, "Federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don't break out the Cheetos or gold fish [sic] too quickly."

Clearly, Hickenlooper, a Democrat, was poking fun at cannabis users. But Denver Relief Consulting is highlighting the very serious message voters in Colorado, and also in Washington, sent to public officials on Tuesday: Regulate marijuana and reverse prohibition.

"At this point, we've all had our fun, but now it's time to get down to business together," commented Seeb. "With Gov. Hickenlooper's leadership, we can implement statutes and regulations that will immediately address the federal government's concerns, while respecting the will of 55 percent of Colorado voters. We made a clear choice on election night, and the governor has a unique opportunity to be on the right side of history and forge a sensible path forward."

Seeb caught up with Hickenlooper at a fundraiser at the Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, during which he approached the governor with a bag of Cheetos and a bag of Goldfish. The governor graciously agreed to take a photo with him.

Seeb is a co-owner of Denver Relief, one of Colorado's first medical marijuana centers, and also a partner at Denver Relief Consulting. The firm recently launched nationally, providing cannabis industry consulting based on nearly 10 years of experience in the burgeoning industry.

Denver Relief Consulting hopes that after the reality of legalization settles in, public officials begin to have a very serious conversation about the transition. Several federal lawmakers from Colorado have already begun that discussion. U.S. Reps. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, Jared Polis, D-Boulder, and Ed Perlmutter, D-Golden, are working on legislation that would allow states to establish their own marijuana laws without fear of federal interference. And the lawmakers expect to gain support from the Washington congressional delegation.

Also, California Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, has signaled his support for state rights on the issue. In an interview with CNN, Brown said the federal government should respect the will of individual states on how to regulate marijuana.

Having worked with Colorado lawmakers on regulation of medical cannabis in the state - including retail - Denver Relief Consulting has assisted in crafting the most comprehensive cannabis regulation in the nation. The consulting firm looks forward to working with policymakers as they move forward with the transition.

And as cannabis businesses - both existing and forthcoming -- evolve along with the changing regulations, Denver Relief Consulting will be there to assist.

About Denver Relief Consulting

What started as Denver Relief, one of Colorado's first and most successful medical marijuana centers located at 1 Broadway, has blossomed into a consulting firm for all things cannabis. Denver Relief Consulting draws upon an extensive business model that includes everything from cultivation to sale. By connecting current and future business owners with a wealth of resources, and a formula for sustaining a marijuana business in a maze of regulatory and business uncertainty, clients are able to forge on with their plans without the fear and anxiety that can be associated with the marijuana industry. For more information, visit DenverReliefConsulting.com, or call 303-420-PLAN.

60 Minutes report:

More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana: John Hickenlooper stresses urgency in Amendment 64 call to Eric Holder."


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