Who knew that pot tourism would ever become the hotly contested issue it is today in Colorado?
Industry types are saying their marijuana tours are full, their 420-friendly B&Bs are sold out and their cannabis shops are filled with out-of-state licenses. But the official tourism entities aren’t seeing any of that mania in their data:
“You see some of these articles touting these huge numbers, and we just have no idea if any of that’s true,” Visit Denver spokesman Rich Grant told us before 4/20.
That said, a casual stroll on Main Street in Steamboat Springs, Colo. — a tony if uniquely western resort town in the Rocky Mountains — showed a wealth of riches on the marijuana souvenir front. We found these 20 sativa souvenirs — T-shirts (at right), shot glasses, coasters, snowboarding gear and stickers — without really trying.
“There are definitely people asking for this kind of merchandise,” Joe Kboudi, a shop employee, told us.
Today we ran this opinion piece from a Denver-reared writer who has lived in Amsterdam for eight years. In his piece he describes the pot-tourist scene in Amsterdam:
While Amsterdam is a beautiful, modestly safe city, the summer becomes a mecca for “pot tourists.” And since “pot tourists” cannot smoke in their youth hostels, these Greeks, Brits, Irish and French sit along the canal walls, on park benches, in the zoo or, yes, right in front of my house, and inhale, inhale, inhale, then exhale, leaving enormous plumes of deliciously scented smoke for me and my children to walk through.
He uses that scene to imagine what Denver might look like if the same pot-tourist scene were to develop in the Mile High City:
Kids from small, repressive towns in Alabama or South Carolina or Alaska, piling into a Spirit Airlines jet, flying into Denver with one mission and one mission only. These “pot-tourists” do not care about Denver if they litter or curse or make fools of themselves, because they are on vacation and they have paid for the right to act any way they want. However, your taxes will pay for their broken bottles. Your patience will pay for their overconsumption of marijuana edibles and inevitable hospital visits. And, when you go to the zoo, your tolerance will pay when a dozen of giggly, slightly hostile zombies are standing between you, your children, and the penguins.
So what do you think about pot tourists and their impact on Colorado? Vote in our poll:[poll id=”6″]
Six Months In:
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Listen to the NPR audio: What has Colo. learned from its legal pot sales?
Watch: Colo. Gov. John Hickenlooper, veteran broadcaster Katie Couric talk marijuana in Aspen on July 1, the six-month anniversary of legal recreational pot sales in the state