Tancredo says pot opposition odd, confusing

Believes bans on marijuana sales contradict free-market principles

Tom Tancredo

Tom Tancredo says he doesn’t understand other Republicans sometimes.

The former congressman and current candidate for the GOP nomination for Colorado governor, who was touring Grand Junction Friday and today, said he doesn’t understand how Republicans who call themselves believers in the free market would turn their backs on that free market when it suits them.

As one of a few Republicans who spoke out in favor of Amendment 64 to legalize marijuana, Tancredo was talking about local governments that are considering banning marijuana retail stores in their areas, particularly those governments run by fellow Republicans who are supposed to be about jobs, economic development and being business friendly, he said.

Currently, several local communities around the state are considering such bans, including those in the Grand Valley.

“It’s to me inconceivable that anybody who calls themselves a true conservative, who believes in individual rights, can say, ‘I want the government telling an adult that I can’t ingest this product,’” said Tancredo, who’s always quick to add that he doesn’t use marijuana. “They are, I’m sure, reflecting what they believe to be the sentiment of the community. But the problem is there is this assumption made that if we do (ban) this, if we ban the sale, somehow we will not have people using marijuana. That’s just crazy.”

Tancredo said the new law not only allows people to grow marijuana in their homes, but also buying it at retail stores elsewhere in the state and transporting it home.

“You don’t have any more problems than you had before,” he said. “You’re going to make a lot of money on this. Tax revenues are going to be streaming in. Just enjoy it. If there’s a problem, repeal the damn thing, but don’t kill it in its crib because you don’t like its looks.”

Banning an entire industry is the epitome of the same nanny government attitude Republicans often accuse Democrats of doing, he said, using the example of Republican attacks on New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s attempt to ban supersized soda.

The Mesa County commissioners are to vote on a possible ban on Monday, and the Grand Junction City Council has scheduled a public hearing to consider its own ban on Sept. 4.

“You can demonize (marijuana) so easily, and that’s the problem,” Tancredo said. “They are afraid of being on the side of something that is so easily demagogued. But I think they’re doing the demagoguery.”


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