Vail, Colorado Wants to Permanently Ban Retail Marijuana

By McCarton Ackerman 07/24/15

Local businesses and politicians are afraid of weed driving away their high-end clientele.

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Despite recreational marijuana being legal throughout Colorado for more than a year, the posh ski town of Vail could soon implement a permanent ban on retail marijuana sales.

The Vail Town Council passed an extension two weeks ago on a moratorium banning marijuana businesses, but is now considering a permanent ban by holding its first reading on the subject this week. Vail Mayor Andy Daly has spoken out in favor of the proposal. Vail is currently the only ski-resort town in the state to have a formal ban on retail marijuana businesses.

Alison Wadey, director of the Vail Chamber & Business Association, said a survey was sent out to 160 local business owners to get their views on the subject. Although only slightly more than half returned the survey, more than half of those who did said they favored the ban.

“People who weren’t for it had some pretty compelling reasons why (marijuana) shouldn’t be allowed,” said Wadey. “They’re telling us we need to make a decision based on what’s best for Vail.”

Some of the business owners expressed concern that legal marijuana would ruin the town’s upscale operation and ultimately turn away more potential tourists than it would bring in. Wadey also noted that for those who wanted get marijuana during their stay, nearby Eagle-Vail has several retail dispensaries.

Mike Connolly, general manager of Triumph Mountain Properties, is also in favor of the ban, but said he has had to acknowledge the interest in marijuana among many of his tourist clients. His company has recently added information about marijuana in the concierge books for all of its vacation rental properties. His properties have had a no-smoking policy in all forms, but he has also made it a point to ask guests to be discreet if they choose to use marijuana edibles.

“[Marijuana questions are] as common to us as whether we can stock a house with groceries or liquor,” he said. “We have had to ask that people not just leave it lying around, though. We ask our guests to use common sense and be respectful.”

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.