December 31, 2013 Updated: December 31, 2013 at 11:24 am
The dawn of pot tourism in Colorado will bring shuttle buses to the state's first recreational marijuana shops, guides sharing their stashes with out-of-staters and watchful eyes at ski resorts and Denver's airport.
After months of speculation, the opening of the nation's first recreational pot shops Wednesday will provide early signs of whether marijuana tourism is legitimate and worthy of investment or overstated and damaging to the state's image.
At least three pot-themed tourism companies that didn't exist a year ago are preparing to welcome their first visitors of 2014 and trying to figure out how state and local regulations will influence their plans. The state tourism office is keeping its distance, while the ski industry is assuring guests the slopes are pot-free and the air is clean.
Marijuana industry officials estimate 30 percent of recreational sales — made possible by voter-approved Amendment 64 last year — could be made by out-of-state visitors.