Colorado Could Soon Welcome Pot Tourists
A new measure allowing out-of-towners to buy and smoke pot could prompt a tourism boom.
Tourists may soon be able to buy marijuana in Colorado, if a state task force gets its way. A group made up of lawmakers, law enforcement officials and pot activists agreed yesterday that the state's constitutional amendment on marijuana condones use by any adult over 21—even those who live out of state. If lawmakers approve the recommendation, anyone who visits the state would be allowed to buy and smoke pot. "Imposing a residency requirement would almost certainly create a black market for recreational marijuana in the state," says Rep. Dan Pabon, a member of the task force. To keep potential dealers at bay and protect relationships with neighboring states, there will likely be a purchasing cap (possibly as low as an eighth of an ounce) and the drug must remain in Colorado. "Marijuana purchased in Colorado must stay in Colorado," says Pabon. "We could attract greater federal scrutiny and displeasure of our neighbors [if marijuana were to travel between states].” Even with the restrictions, pot tourism would likely pump major cash into the state's economy.
On February 28, the state Legislature and Department of Revenue will consider whether or not to approve the task force's recommendation. Many potential tourists are optimistic, including Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the pot advocacy group NORML. "Colorado (and Washington) will quickly supplant Amsterdam and Jamaica as American cannabis consumers' chosen vacation haunts," St. Pierre tells The Fix. He adds: "Colorado is already a major tourist destination, and I can't wait to go fly fishing out there again, but instead of having a fine Colorado-brewed ale at the end of the day, I'm going to consume fine Colorado-cultivated cannabis."