Thornton Mayor Heidi Williams on Her City's Recent Dive Into Legal Marijuana – Westword
When news broke earlier this month that Mayor Michael Hancock was heading a national group of mayors calling for federal marijuana reform, it wasn’t a surprise that leaders of major cities in legalized states, such as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Seattle, would join Denver’s mayor. But one name on the list was more startling: that of Heidi Williams, the mayor of Thornton, which had banned legal sales until eight months ago.
Why would Williams — who, like Hancock, originally opposed the industry in her community — join a group pledging to lobby Congress to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and pushing to protect the pot industry and consumers from federal interference? We asked her.
Westword: What prompted you to join Hancock’s group of mayors calling for federal marijuana reform?
Heidi Williams: Thornton City Council voted to allow dispensaries within the Thornton city limits about a year ago. When I was at the United States Conference of Mayors and found out about Mayor Hancock’s initiative, I immediately signed on to help. We must have common-sense federal legislation to successfully regulate and tax marijuana.
What can the federal government do better to allow towns and counties with legal marijuana to operate freely?
The first thing they should do is pass legislation that will allow marijuana businesses to use our banking system. This will take the marijuana money out of the shadows. Currently, the cash-operated businesses have a safety risk, and the revenues are not as easily tracked and audited. Congress must take action on this, because marijuana will be coming to most cities around the U.S. very soon.
Thornton is new to commercial pot, with its first dispensary opening in late 2017. What was your position on allowing the industry to operate in Thornton for the