The man with arguably the funniest name in gubernatorial politics did not disappoint last week in front of a conference of about 500 health journalists gathered in Denver.
Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, keynote speaker at the Association for Health Care Journalists annual conference, first and foremost put to rest any notions that he may seek higher office.
Then the good-natured Hickenlooper addressed the premeir topic on every news reporter’s mind: How’s it been going since Colorado legalized recreational use of marijuana?
He warned that public officials must be on alert for unintended consequences of legalization. Mostly, he spoke of concerns over how the new law would affect children and young people.
Appearing loose and confident before the crowd, Hickenlooper went on to fondly make a few mild jokes at Colorado’s expense and invited questions from the audience.
Asked whether he’d “inhaled” since the new law took affect, the former artisan beer-brewer said, “No.” Some reporters appeared skeptical at the narrowness of the query. (Edible marijuana products are popular in Colorado.)
In response to the next question, Hickenlooper launched into a lengthy and thoughtful response about the policy implications of marijuana legalization.
Audience members were beyond skeptical. They were puzzled.
Trouble was, the audience question asked involved Medicaid, not marijuana.
Missing nary a beat, Hickenlooper switched topics to expound at length on the policy implications of expanding Medicaid.