Last night, FOX21 News
televised The Great Pot Debate
, a 90-minute conversation between supporters and opponents of recreational marijuana. Arguing for pot were iComply owner Mark Slaugh
and Denver attorney (and Amendment 64 co-author) Brian Vicente
. Arguing for not were physician Ken Finn
and Kari Kilroy
, the president of the El Paso County Board of Health and administrator for the People Against Retail Marijuana in Manitou Springs
Facebook page, which backs the November ballot question that could end RMJ sales in the town.
Arguments ran the traditional gamut, with Slaugh and Vicente listing the economic, health and societal gains from legalized pot, and Kilroy and Finn listing the health and societal losses from legalized pot. (You know the drill: "But at what cost?" "... unintended consequences ..." "... failed War on Drugs ...") Conflicting statistics were cited, a hand-picked audience was periodically polled via applause, and a jolly time was had by all.
Your local elected officials even got into the game. District Attorney Dan May
asked what seemed to be a real question — "Are there legitimate reasons why some children should have [cannabis] for medical reasons?" — and City Councilor Jill Gaebler
asked if it didn't make sense to opt back in to allowing recreational stores in Colorado Springs and control the output, since Manitou's store is so close anyway.
Ultimately, the real winner in my book was moderator Mark Hyman
, a vice president at the FOX21-owning Sinclair Broadcast Group and true man of the people. He successfully pushed panelists and directed questioners all while maintaining that impeccable TV look and tone we've all come to know and love.