Donald Trump speaks on marijuana, fracking and control of public lands

On marijuana: “I think it’s up to the states, yeah. I’m a states person. I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.”

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Donald Trump at the Western Conservative Conference 2016. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)western conservative conference 2016; colorado convention center; donald trump; election; politics; vote; denver; denverite; kevinjbeaty; colorado

Donald Trump hasn’t talked much about Colorado-specific issues in his campaign appearances here, but when Trump sat down with 9 News Friday, Brandon Rittiman got to ask him about a few things of particular concern to voter here.

On marijuana: “I think it’s up to the states, yeah. I’m a states person. I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.”

On fracking: “Well, I’m in favor of fracking, but voters should have a big say in it. Some areas maybe they don’t want to have fracking. And I think if the voters are voting for it, that’s up to them.

“Fracking is something that we need. Fracking is something that’s here whether we like it or not, but if a municipality or a state wants to ban fracking, I can understand that.”

This is a bit of a have your cake and eat it too position. The oil and gas industry and state regulators, with the support of Gov. John Hickenlooper and both Republicans and Democrats in the state legislature, have resisted local control measures. The general feeling is that oil and gas extraction is important to the state economy, and letting local government’s ban or limit it would create an untenable situation for the industry.

On whether the federal government should cede control of public lands: “Well, I’m going to look into that. It’s a question I get asked an awful lot out here, and I am going to take a very serious look at that. And we will get back to you on that one because a lot of people are wanting to really have policy on that.”

The platform adopted by the Republican Party supports transferring control of federal lands, which make up about 47 percent of all land in the Western United States, to the states.

Trump also declined to say whether the militia members who occupied a wildlife refuge in Oregon went “too far.”

“There was a lot of emotion,” he said. “And well, I’m not going to comment on who went too far, but I will tell you there’s a lot of emotion on that issue.”

The answer would have you think Trump doesn’t know a whole lot about the public lands debate, but back in January, he told Field & Stream that federal control of lands is important to ensuring access for everyone.

“I don’t like the idea because I want to keep the lands great, and you don’t know what the state is going to do,” he said. “… We have to be great stewards of this land. This is magnificent land. And we have to be great stewards of this land. And the hunters do such a great job — I mean, the hunters and the fishermen and all of the different people that use that land.

“So I’ve been hearing more and more about that. And it’s just like the erosion of the Second Amendment. I mean, every day you hear Hillary Clinton wants to essentially wipe out the Second Amendment. We have to protect the Second Amendment, and we have to protect our lands.”

You can watch or read a transcript of the entire 9 News interview here.