One of the attendees during the High Times Cannabis Cup at Denver Mart on April 19, 2014. (Seth McConnell, The Denver Post)

Marijuana tourism booms in Colorado, though officials remain skeptical

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Graham McBain, owner of the marijuana tourism company So Mile High, said investment opportunities lure some marijuana tourists who want to get an inside look at the industry before they put down money. But he said people wanting to have a good time — such as a recent bachelor party of seven guys from New York who McBain estimates spent $2,000 among them at recreational marijuana stores — also make up a sizable chunk.

This year, McBain is even offering a $38,000-for-two-people “signature tour,” which combines a private jet, fine dining, spa treatments and a luxury hotel room.

For most marijuana tourists, though, lodging remains the biggest challenge. Grant, from Visit Denver, said he knows of no hotels in Denver allowing people to smoke pot in their rooms. My 420 Tours says it negotiated with its downtown hotel to allow tourists to use marijuana vaporizers in their rooms — but Walker wouldn’t name the hotel.

Instead, McBain said the best option appears to be bed and breakfasts or through private rental services online such as or

“There are people who want to come here, and it’s something they want to do and they need a safe place where they can do it,” said Denise Murray, who promotes her vacation rental home in Manitou Springs with a private outdoor space for smoking.

Map: Colorado medical dispensaries and recreational marijuana centers

Murray said she noted a marijuana friendly space in her online ad so people didn’t have to be furtive. She’s not putting blunts on pillows, but there’s a shop down the street and everyone is welcome to partake — or not — in her wooded enclave.

The proliferation of marijuana tourism, though, has given others on the rental sites more reason to be cautious with the guests they select. Several renters explicitly — and in caps-lock style — note zero tolerance for all types of smoking, INCLUDING MARIJUANA, in their online ads.

An owner in Denver who had advertised her rental as having a marijuana-friendly outdoor space said she has decided to go completely nonsmoking after a guest sparked up in the living room. Another Denver owner said she will be removing her rental home from this summer over fears that she can’t keep it smoke-free.

“Our problem is that we don’t have any tools to protect our property from inappropriate things,” said owner Michelle Price, who said she isn’t against legal marijuana. “I don’t have a lot of answers. But we are seeing a lot of interest since January from groups we’ve never seen before.”

John Ingold: 303-954-1068, or

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