DENVER — Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina came to Colorado, the first state to legalize marijuana, and said legalization was a bad idea.
"While I do in general support states rights, and the voters of Colorado have made a decision," Fiorina told reporters after her speech at the Western Conservative Summit, "I would also very quickly add that I think the legalization of marijuana is a very bad idea. I think it's misleading to young people in particular when we tell them smoking pot is like drinking a beer. It is not."
Marijuana was legalized in Colorado first for medical use in 2000 and then recreational use in 2012. Both policies were approved by the voters in ballot initiatives. Since then Washington state, Oregon and Alaska have followed suit. Marijuana is legal for medicinal use in seventeen other states.
The former Hewlett-Packard CEO is not only a staunch opponent to recreational drug use, but she also cautioned against using the drug for medical purposes. A cancer survivor herself, she spoke of how her doctor warned her against mixing cannabis with her cancer treatment.
"When I was battling cancer my doctor asked me if I was interested in medicinal marijuana, I said I was not, and he said 'good' because we don't understand the marijuana of today," Fiorina said. "It is a chemically complex compound and we don't understand how it interacts with other medicines, we don't understand how it interacts with other things you're doing in your life. "
The GOP hopeful explained her stance that since marijuana has powerful chemical properties, it should be regulated as such and controlled like medicine. She added that treating drugs in a similar sense, as alcohol would be dangerous.
For Fiorina, the issue is personal though. Her stepdaughter, Lori, died in 2009 at the age of 35, due to her long struggle with drug addiction. The presidential candidate sad that her passing makes drug legalization an issue that "lands very personally" to her and that "we need to tell people the truth that marijuana is not like having a beer with your buddies."