Thursday, December 26, 2013

Colorado resorts prepare for marijuana tourism

(9news.com) FORT COLLINS - Colorado's ski resorts and mountain towns are bracing for an influx of tourists seeking a now-legal Rocky Mountain high.

Last year, the state 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 over. 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 - sightseeing tours of the state's high country, with marijuana supplied - police and ski area operators worry that 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 covers the 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 it's a free-for-all."

Under the law, marijuana may be smoked by adults but only in private. But exactly what "private" means is still the subject of debate. Minor says a private vehicle on a public road, for example, is considered "in public."

Marijuana tour operator Timothy Vee of Colorado High Life Tours says to get around those rules, his drivers sometimes pull into a parking lot, allowing tour guests to partake of the pot he offers. Under current law, it's legal to give another adult marijuana as long as there's no direct payment for it. Vee and other operators charge people to rent the limo and driver and say the pot, snacks and soda are free.

For $1,200 a day, tourists can rent a chauffeured minibus from Vee to pick them up at their hotel and drive them to the slopes while they use marijuana during the ride. Continue Reading...