Marijuana tourism already hits Colorado; ski areas prepare

By: Trevor Hughes, The Coloradoan
December 31, 2013 Updated: January 1, 2014 at 12:58 am
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photo - A Ski Country USA spokeswoman says people caught smoking marijuana on the slopes or in lift lines will still be prosecuted even though possession of marijuana is now legal in Colorado. / Coloradoan
A Ski Country USA spokeswoman says people caught smoking marijuana on the slopes or in lift lines will still be prosecuted even though possession of marijuana is now legal in Colorado. / Coloradoan  

Colorado’s ski resorts and mountain towns are bracing for an influx of tourists seeking a now-legal Rocky Mountain high.

The state last year legalized the possession and use of small amounts of recreational marijuana, and on Jan. 1 special stores will be allowed to sell pot to anyone 21 and older. Voters had previously approved a medical marijuana system, but last fall’s vote threw the doors wide open by requiring state officials to regulate pot like alcohol.

With several companies offering marijuana tours of the state’s high country, law enforcement and ski area operators worry tourists who don’t understand the rules will be sparking up on the slopes.

“We’re delving into truly uncharted territory here,” said Summit County Sheriff John Minor, whose jurisdiction extends to Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Breckenridge ski areas. “We do have this misperception in Summit County where people have smoked in public, been charged, and were under the perception that’s a free-for-all.”

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