- Associated Press - Thursday, October 9, 2014

DENVER (AP) - Whether marijuana legalization should be repealed in Colorado came up during the latest gubernatorial debate Thursday in Fort Collins, with Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper saying it would be premature to put the question to voters.

Instead, Hickenlooper said the state should tightly regulate the drug and prevent underage use.

“I’m not going to go as far as to say we should lead an effort to make it illegal. I think that that would be premature,” Hickenlooper said during a debate at Colorado State University. Earlier this week, Hickenlooper said voters were “reckless” when they legalized the drug two years ago.

Hickenlooper’s Republican challenger, Bob Beauprez, cited the possible negative effects on developing brains, and said Colorado voters should be asked to consider repealing the law.

“I think we’re at that point,” Beauprez said.

The debate, moderated and televised by KUSA-TV, also offered more definitive answers from the candidates regarding issues they’ve struggled with in a race that polls suggest is tied.

For Hickenlooper, one of those issues is the death penalty. He drew the ire of many by granting Nathan Dunlap an indefinite stay of execution. Dunlap was convicted for the 1993 slayings of four people at an Aurora restaurant. Hickenlooper added to the firestorm by suggesting in a CNN interview that if he loses the election he could grant Dunlap clemency.

Pressed to say whether he would do that or let a subsequent governor decide, Hickenlooper said, “I will commit to promise to leave it to the next governor.”

Beauprez, meanwhile, addressed controversial comments he made last week about intrauterine devices, or IUDs, a common form of birth control. Beauprez, who opposes abortion, said IUDs are “an abortifacient,” meaning something that causes an abortion.

“I’m not going to interfere with women’s right to choose their own form of birth control,” Beauprez said.

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Find Ivan Moreno on Twitter: https://twitter.com/IvanJourno

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