Five Things Arizonans Should Know About Colorado Marijuana Stores Opening Wednesday
3). Using legal marijuana in Colorado as a tourist could still get you in trouble.
Image: David Benbennick via Wikipedia One place in Denver where legal marijuana should not be: The airport.
Take the time to acquaint yourself with the law and the specific rules of the hotel or other lodging where you plan to use.
One place you can't even carry marijuana: The Denver International Airport, where officials will enforce a total ban starting this week.
Of particular concern to the establishment in Colorado, which wasn't fully on-board with the voter-approved law, is the problem of clouds of smoke possibly causing health problems for others and maybe offending someone. If you think you can simply whip out that joint while in the ski-lift line, think again.
Denver recently passed an ordinance that allows legal marijuana to be used anywhere on private residential property, including in a front yard or on a porch. But that same rule may not apply at every condo in every ski town.
We kept hearing that Breckenridge was a marijuana-friendly town while making calls on this subject this morning. We know that's partially true because the ski town, two hours from Denver, passed its own town ordinance a couple of years ago that made it legal for residents to possess an ounce or less of weed. And Breckenridge, population 4,500, will have three retail shops open -- like Telluride -- from day one of the retail program on January 1.
But town leaders, worried that too much open marijuana use could scare away other tourists, aren't really encouraging it. The town's police department wants visitors to know that the only legal place they can smoke marijuana would be in "private locations providing it is not prohibited by the property owner."
Image: gobreck.com Kim Dykstra
No sneaking off into an alley. If you get caught smoking outside, you can be subject to a $100 mail-in fine, the site says.
"It's a very interesting time in our history," says Kim Dykstra, Town of Breckenridge spokeswoman. "We're learning as we go."
Amendment 64 made possession of marijuana legal in Colorado before the shops could be set up, but so far it's "been no big deal," she says.
That is, people aren't getting wasted in the streets, smoking up in front of church ladies, or generally creating a bad name for marijuana users since the law passed.
Dykstra's heard of some hotels or other lodgings telling guests that pot smoke, just like cigarette smoke, isn't allowed in rooms. Others are less concerned she says.
One thing seems certain: The prospect of numerous legal marijuana users in Breckenridge hasn't slowed tourism. It's possible that the law could have resulted in the slightly higher rate of lodging occupancy and other measures of tourism that are predicted for 2014, she says. However, the quality of the snow typically is the overriding factor for any winter tourist to the ski town, and the snow is good this year, making it difficult to determine whether marijuana is responsible for the uptick, she says.
NORML offers a "Doobie-Dos" (and don'ts) that offers helpful hints, like being sure to bring cash and a photo ID if you plan to buy.