Hickenlooper discusses marijuana, White House, partisan politics at Georgetown – The Denver Post


WASHINGTON — Speaking Thursday to a small group of students at Georgetown University, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said Democrats and Republicans should look to the soda industry as a way to improve modern political discourse.

“Coke hates Pepsi. Pepsi hates Coke — but you see don’t Coke doing attack ads against Pepsi” or vice versa, Hickenlooper said.

The reason: “They would end up depressing the entire product category of soft drinks,” said the two-term Democratic governor, who suggested that constant negativity from both major political parties was “depressing the product category of democracy.”

The light message was part of a free-wheeling conversation that touched on marijuana, gun laws and Hickenlooper’s own political ambitions.

As part of the discussion, the governor also mentioned two conversations he’s had with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions about marijuana.

Hickenlooper said Sessions’ push against the marijuana industry — which Hickenlooper defended — comes from the view that an expansion of legal drug use would make the country weaker.

Because of that, Hickenlooper said Sessions told him that he didn’t want to take action “that could ever be implied as encouraging somebody to open a dispensary or a grow house or anything.”

The Georgetown visit is part of a four-day, cross-country trip that has taken the governor from Iowa to New York City to Washington — destinations that have further fueled speculation of a possible 2020 presidential bid.

In Iowa on Tuesday, Hickenlooper spoke about workforce issues at the invitation of Republican Gov. Kim Reynolds. But the state’s status as an early bellweather in presidential races did not go unnoticed in political circles.

Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio — who has teamed up with Hickenlooper on issues such as health care — teased his Democratic counterpart on Twitter, noting that “no one goes there by accident.”

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