Where Senate candidates Cory Gardner and John Hickenlooper stand on Colorado issues

Cory Gardner vs John Hickenlooper on Colorado issues: Where the U.S. Senate candidates stand



Background: Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, the first of 11 states. Medical marijuana legalization has spread to 33 states. But the drug is illegal under federal law, creating barriers for the industry.


Marijuana banking

Do you support the SAFE Banking Act to make it easier for marijuana businesses to bank and obtain loans in states where it is legal?

Background: One major consequence of the federal-state split on marijuana legalization is the difficulty of banking. The U.S. House passed the SAFE Banking Act in 2019 to allow marijuana businesses access to financial services like loans, lines of credit and even bank accounts. These financial services are currently difficult to obtain because the drug is illegal at the federal level. The measure won bipartisan support, but has stalled in the U.S. Senate.


He’s a sponsor of the measure

A: Gardner is a lead Senate sponsor of the bipartisan measure and believes marijuana businesses should have access to banking, but he hasn’t been able to get it through the Senate. He said the legislation “gets Washington out of the way and gives them the access they need to do business and pay taxes.” He is also a sponsor of the bipartisan STATES Act to keep the federal government from interfering with marijuana businesses in states where it's legalized.




Yes, he supports the bill

A: Hickenlooper said he supports the measure -- and wants to go even further. He wants to amend the tax code, which he says now penalizes marijuana businesses by preventing them from accessing the same benefits as other companies. One way to level the playing field, he said, is to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level and let the states decide whether to legalize it.



The Issues

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The Candidates

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Cory Gardner

Cory Gardner

U.S. senator   

John Hickenlooper

John Hickenlooper

Former Colorado governor and Denver mayor