Marijuana: Tom Tancredo will puff a joint to settle a bet, but says people shouldn't smoke pot

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Update: Yesterday, we shared a video in which ex-Congressman and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo promised to smoke marijuana with a comedian trying to finance a documentary about the passage of Amendment 64; see our previous coverage and the clip below. Since then, we've heard from Tancredo, who confirms that he will indeed light up -- but he'll only take one puff while sharing comments meant to discourage pot smoking.

As we've noted, Tancredo was virtually the only high-profile Republican politician to speak out in favor of Amendment 64, not due to his fondness for marijuana (he's never tried it), but because he sees the government telling people what they should and shouldn't ingest as antithetical to his conservative values.

During the course of the campaign, Tancredo granted an interview to Adam Hartle, a stand-up comic. At the end of their chat, Tancredo recalls, "We made a bet -- and even though I was supporting 64, I bet that it was going to go down. He said, 'I don't think it is.' And then he said, 'If it passes, will you smoke a joint with me?' And I said, 'Sure,' not thinking it was going to pass. But it did."

As such, Tancredo says, "I'll pay off the bet" next time Hartle is in Colorado; he lives in Florida. But as he explained to Hartle, he'll only do so under specific circumstances.

"I will not promote it, because I don't think people should smoke," he notes. "So I'll only take one puff, and I'm going to say, 'I don't think this is something you should do.' If you want to do it and you're an adult, you should have every right to do it. But it's not a benign substance; it's not something you can say, 'There's no possible harmful effect.' So I'm not going to be pushing it."

Does Tancredo believe that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, as the Amendment 64 campaign repeatedly stressed? "From what I've seen, yes," he allows. "I know that no one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. But other harmful effects are probably there, and I don't want to be in the position of making a commercial for marijuana."

What if Tancredo actually enjoys that puff? He isn't willing to go there. "I never thought this was going to turn into a news story," he concedes. "It was probably stupid of me not to think it might, but I never did -- I never thought about the details." Nonetheless, he goes on, "I don't intend for this to be a Tom Tancredo lab-rat experiment, where people watch me for twenty minutes to see if my eyes dilate or whatever it is they do. I'm going to take a puff and make a statement and that's it. I don't want to welch on my bet, but I don't intend to sit there for however long and be filmed getting high."

Hartle, for his part, has posted a statement on his website about the bet. It reads:

Everyone is making a big deal about Congressman Tancredo and I legally smoking marijuana together soon. This is no different than if in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt sat down and had a drink with an advocate of ending prohibition the first time. As an independent, I have a lot of friends that are Democrats and Republicans, and personally I wish all politicians would sit down with the peace pipe together, in their free time, learn how to get along and do what's best for the American people -- not what's best for re-election or special interests groups. 15,000 people die each year in cartel violence, and over 800,000 non-violent Americans get a criminal record for simply recreating with a natural plant that's never killed anyone and is healthier than alcohol. I encourage everyone to learn more about the failure of marijuana prohibition and look forward to sitting down with my friend Tom and burnin' one down for peace :)

Regarding Hartle's IndieGoGo page, which seeks donations for the completion of his A64 movie, it hasn't experienced a financial windfall since the Tancredo connection broke. Yesterday, $601 had been pledged toward a goal of $40,000. At this writing, the total stands at $687, with 57 days to go.

Continue for our previous coverage of Tom Tancredo's joint promise, including the video. Original post, 9:29 a.m. January 24: When Fox News publishes an article focusing on former Colorado congressman and onetime gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo, it's typically about immigration or other major issues of the day. But the network's latest Tancredo piece concerns his promise, caught on video, to smoke a joint. The pledge is being used by comedian Adam Hartle to help generate donations for a planned film project about the passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado. So far, though, it doesn't seem to be working all that well....

Tancredo was pretty much the only major Republican politician to stump for Amendment 64. As he told us in a post-election interview about why the GOP should embrace the marijuana measure, "If you really believe what conservatives say they believe -- in less government -- this is a perfect way to express that belief. To say, 'I don't think the government has any right to tell me what I should ingest.'"

Not that Tancredo is a pot user himself.

"I've never had a marijuana cigarette, and I really don't have any plans on smoking one," he said. However, he added, "I might, but it's not something on my agenda. I tell people all the time that the only bright spot in the whole election was the passage of 64, because now I can get high for the next four years -- but I'm joking."

If so, he may have to get serious about this prospect thanks to Hartle. The comic came to Colorado with a film crew prior to the vote, and as seen in the sample clip available on IndieGoGo, he gabbed with a slew of A64 proponents, including Brian Vicente, Betty Aldworth...and Tancredo, whose chat takes place while he's perched on a rock next to a stream.

Toward the end of the video (the counter shows it running ten minutes, but it's actually a bit over twelve), Hartle tells Tancredo that should Amendment 64 pass, "we're going to smoke a joint together" the next time he's in Colorado. In response, a smiling Tancredo shakes his hand and says, "Deal!"

Immediately thereafter, a graphic appears: It reads, "Please help us get Congressman Tancredo Rocky Mountain high."

We've got a call into Tancredo -- but he told Fox News he has no intention of welching on this bargain. "Look, I made a bet with the producer of the film that if Amendment 64 passed (I did not think it would) that I would smoke pot," he told the network. "I will therefore smoke pot under circumstances we both agree are legal under Colorado law. Hey, it's better than having to do a stupid dance as (Denver) Mayor (Michael) Hancock must perform as a result of losing a bet on the Broncos beating the Ravens."

Thus far, however, not many folks are paying to ensure that Tancredo lights up. The IndieGoGo site is intended to collect money toward the completion of Hartle's film, and at this writing, only $601 have been pledged toward a goal of $40,000.

Fortunately, it's not too late to contribute: The fundraiser still has 58 days left. Here's Hartle's video.

More from our Marijuana archive: "Amendment 64: Tom Tancredo on why GOP should embrace marijuana measure."

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