Colorado Rocky Mountain High
'What happens in Colorado stays in Colorado' might be the next tourism ad campaign. One week after the sale of recreational marijuana was made legal in Colorado, sales have exceeded $5 million, opening the doors to what might be a lucrative business in marijuana tourism. Already, websites advertising "green tours" are attempting to lure pot-smokers from far and wide to this new mecca for potheads.
On New Year's Day, voters made the drug legal in the state. According to Colorado Amendment 64, prohibition was lifted on the sale and personal use of marijuana for adults over the age of 21. Commercial cultivation, manufacture and sale of Cannabis plant products are now legitimate and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. That said, officials are wary of displeasing neighbours and, worse, encouraging traffickers as US federal laws hold that marijuana is an illegal drug. Airport passengers and interstate tourists may soon see signs warning them not to take weed out of the state.
While marijuana tourism may be set to take off in the state, the minutiae governing the sale and distribution are far from clear. For instance, parlours or clubs for marijuana users have still not passed muster with the administration. Locating stores where legal pot is sold can be hard, too. A state Q&A on the subject directs: 'Retail marijuana is intended for private, personal use. Such use is only legal in certain locations not open or accessible to the public. Marijuana may not be consumed openly or publicly.'
Whether Colorado will become the Amsterdam of the United States, only time will tell.