Congressman Jared Polis has been known for his progressive stance on marijuana since Colorado legalized the plant, but the gubernatorial candidate punctuated his support of pot by visiting a dispensary on that highest of holidays, April 20.
Polis took a tour of Northglenn's bgood dispensary, which has a cultivation attached, to learn more about the seed-to-sale process and other aspects of the state's marijuana industry. While collecting information on such subjects as the differences between indica and sativa, Polis broadcast his visit on Facebook Live to show viewers what goes on behind the scenes at a licensed pot business.
"So this is the stuff that Attorney General Jeff Session hates?" he asked bgood employees as he studied such strains as Grape Stomper, Super White and 92 OG. Then Democrat Polis came upon Presidential Kush. "Which president, Obama?" he continued with a smile. "This place is amaze."
Although Polis was an early supporter, now old-guard politicians have started embracing the thought of legalizing marijuana. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been pushing to legalize hemp since March, President Donald Trump recently told Senator Cory Gardner that Colorado's legal marijuana industry is safe from federal interference, and on April 20, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer announced his support for federally decriminalizing marijuana. Even former House speaker John Boehner, who once said he was “unalterably opposed” to legalizing marijuana, joined the advisory board of a national marijuana company in April.
Polis has used numerous arguments to defend Colorado's right to legalize marijuana; during a hearing in 2015, he cited laws in Louisiana that allow residents to smoke crawfish. Lately he's been pushing bills to regulate marijuana like alcohol at the federal level and provide federal tax breaks for marijuana businesses; he's also suggested amendments in budget bills that would protect state-legal industries from federal persecution.
"I hope that we can get Jeff Sessions out here to see it," Polis said after touring bgood. "I think more people should see that there's nothing to fear, that it makes sense to have legal, regulated businesses producing marijuana safely, rather than illegal drug cartels and drug dealers."
Since Sessions revoked nine years' worth of federal guidelines designed to protect state-legal marijuana businesses from federal interference in January, Polis and other lawmakers representing Colorado at the state and federal level have gone on the offensive, most notably Senator Gardner. But Colorado's Republican senator wasn't at a dispensary on 4/20.
"It used to be a protest day not that long ago, and I think now it's really a day of celebrations of our freedoms that Colorado voters have put in our state constitution," Polis said. "I'm still trying to learn the difference between [indica and sativa], but they said there's hundreds of varieties and hybrids. ... It's interesting to learn about all the genetic research and breeding that's occurring."
Although he didn't purchase any marijuana at bgood (Polis is a federal employee, after all), the congressman still entered and exited the dispensary with a "Happy 4/20!"