Sometimes politicians give themselves away.
That happened at Wednesday’s CU Regents meeting. The issue? Opposing Amendment 64 that pretends to legalize marijuana.
Regent Stephen Ludwig didn’t want the Regents to oppose the pot amendment in a timely fashion. He did what politicians do when they want to conceal what they are really up to. He moved to table it indefinitely; that’s parliamentarian-ese for “kill.”
Regent Irene Griego seconded Ludwig’s motion.
After discussion, the Ludgwig/Griego motion failed. The original motion, to oppose Amendment 64 formally, passed with five votes. The call for “nays” got no verbal response. There was a small momemt of silence, and the Chair suggested those not voting “aye” or “nay” were abstaining. And that was the way the vote was recorded. No Democratic Regent supported or opposed the motion. Not exactly a profile in courage either way.
BUT, here’s the interesting thing that you would not know if you weren’t there.
During that moment of silence, Regent Ludwig actually blushed.
Regent Griego’s body language was one giant squirm.
Both, it seems, knew that they were trying to sneak one through. Why? Why would they try to cozy up to the pot sellers?
Here we enter the realm of speculation. (Disclosure: I support both these Regents’ opponents.)
I suspect that the Public Policy Polling Colorado questions about marijuana factored into their tiptoe efforts. PPP’s most recent poll says 54% of Independents support this concept. Did they want to win the support of pot supporters, but hoped nobody on the other side would catch them?
Regent Ludwig’s life history includes a decade’s effort to get a bachelor’s degree, so he knows a thing or two about college life, but his official biography doesn’t indicate any expertise about kids.
Having spent most of her adult live in the public school system, Regent Griego oughta know kids.
Both must know that recent research about marijuana suggests it may cause permanent loss of IQ and that three studies say it raises the risk of testicular cancer. And both must know that a state effort like Amendment 64 has the effect of encouraging people to violate federal law in this area. Do they really support law-breaking?
Why would Griego, especially, make pot more readily available? Politics over policy? Or, despite her body language, is this her natural stance on the issue? And, let’s not fool ourselves; putting pot into ordinary commerce will increase its availability and acceptance. Even among teens.
Pity the Ludwig/Griego team, however. Thursday’s Denver Post reported Hick opposes Amendment 64. When the state’s leading Democrat takes the opposite stand – within 24 hours – it must feel like Hickenlooper’s abandoning these two to wallow in their political naivete.