Tom Tancredo Will Smoke a Joint in Public

By Tony O'Neill 01/24/13

The Colorado conservative pledges to honor a bet and get "Rocky Mountain high."

Does it have to be this long? Photo via

Not everyone would give too much credence to what the DEA has to say about marijuana legalization, but this week's claims by the agency that “legalizing marijuana would…encourage promotion and acceptance of drug use," already seem strangely prescient. Former Colorado Republican congressman Tom Tancredo—who came out as a surprise supporter of Amendment 64, which legalized recreational pot use in his state—has vowed to smoke a joint publicly now that the law has come into effect. As you might remember, Tancredo penned an op-ed for the Colorado Springs Gazette prior to the historic vote entitled, “Marijuana Prohibition Has Failed Us.” “I am endorsing Amendment 64 not despite my conservative beliefs, but because of them,” he wrote then. “Our nation is spending tens of billions of dollars annually in an attempt to prohibit adults from using a substance objectively less harmful than alcohol.”

In the newly released trailer for his film, Grassroots—The Comeback of Cannabis, which was shot before the vote took place, comedian and activist filmmaker Adam Hartle meets with a Who’s Who of A64 proponents, including Tancredo. “True or false?” Hartle asks Tancredo toward the end of the 10-minute clip: “When marijuana legalization passes and marijuana is legal, the next time I’m out in Colorado, we’re going to smoke a joint together.”

“Deal,” agrees Tancredo, before the two shake on it. A graphic immediately appears on screen: “Please help us get Congressman Tancredo Rocky Mountain high." According to Fox News, Tancredo who has “never had a marijuana cigarette,” has no intention of backing out. "Look, I made a bet with the producer of the film that if Amendment 64 passed (I did not think it would) that I would smoke pot," he explains. "I will therefore smoke pot under circumstances we both agree are legal under Colorado law. Hey, it's better than having to do a stupid dance as [Denver] Mayor [Michael] Hancock must perform as a result of losing a bet on the Broncos beating the Ravens." Colorado's photographers will be licking their lips.

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Tony O'Neill, a regular contributor to The Fix, is the author of several novels, including Digging the VeinDown and Out on Murder Mile and Sick City. He also co-authored the New York Times bestseller Hero of the Underground (with Jason Peter) and the Los Angeles Times bestseller Neon Angel (with Cherie Currie). He lives in New York with his wife and daughter. You can follow Tony on Twitter.