Governor: Legalizing pot was bad idea

Colorado’s decision to legalize marijuana was a bad idea, the state’s governor said Friday.

Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat who opposed the 2012 decision by voters to make pot legal, said the state still doesn’t fully know what the unintended consequences of the move will be.

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“If I could've waved a wand the day after the election, I would've reversed the election and said, 'This was a bad idea,’ ” Hickenlooper said Friday on CNBC's “Squawk Box.”

“You don't want to be the first person to do something like this,” he said.

He said that he tells other governors to “wait a couple of years” before legalizing marijuana as Colorado continues to navigate an unknown, nonexisting federal regulatory landscape for the industry. 

“There's a whole regulatory environment ... that really regulates alcohol,” he said. “We're starting from scratch, and we don't have a federal partner because [marijuana] is still illegal federally.”

In February 2014, the Obama administration released guidelines for the marijuana industry indicating federal officials would not target financial institutions or businesses engaging in selling pot as long as those businesses were compliant with state laws.

Despite the guidelines, banks are reluctant to finance marijuana businesses in states where it is legal because federal law still lists marijuana as an illegal drug. Congress would need to pass a law removing that language.

Marijuana is legal in four states: Colorado, Oregon, Alaska and Washington. Congress has blocked the District of Columbia from legalizing pot, after voters in November cast ballots that they wanted to make the drug legal.