When Colorado first approved recreational marijuana, comedians joked about traveling or moving, to this state. The Colorado tourism office’s recent surveys confirmed that getting high in Colorado is indeed a motivator for the majority. Nearly one in four respondents admitted that legal use of marijuana was “extremely influential” in their decision to visit the state, 20 percent said it was “very much influential,” and another seven percent found it “somewhat influential.”
“Marijuana is no longer in the margins of Coronado tourism. It’s taking a starring role,” reported The Denver Post earlier this year.
This was to be expected. Businesses in Telluride, for example, were overwhelming in favor of pushing Colorado to be the first state to make recreational use of marijuana legal. January 1, 2016, marked the two-year anniversary for adults in this state to easily buy a legal joint or magic brownie. During the first year of the state law, in 2014, sales from recreational and medical marijuana were a whopping $700 million. Paradoxically, portions of the revenues from people getting high in Colorado are earmarked for school construction. The school that grass built…hmmm.
If you’re thinking of joining the enthusiasm for reefer madness in the mountain state, buyer beware. This isn’t the ‘60s anymore. You don’t carry your stash in a little baggie, roll your joint, and take a toke in the park, or the back of your car. This is the next millennium. Commercialism and marketing have taken the leaf far beyond what Cheech and Chong could have imagined on one of their wildest trips.
Cannabis, as it is properly called now, is available at “clubs” or “dispensaries.” Denver, which had legalized medical marijuana earlier, already has more outposts to buy weed than Starbucks. You don’t buy by the ounce. Rather, you choose your style. Smoke it, vape it, eat it, or even soak it up with a patch.
For recreational marijuana, as long as you have a government-issued ID card proving you’re over 21 years old, you can visit and buy from these retailers. At one dispensary, the employee checking IDs said about 75 percent of her customers were out-of-staters. For tourists wanting to get high in Colorado, before you dish out your dollars, know the rules.
- Use it or lose it. It is illegal to smoke in public places, or at the airport. Likewise, it’s illegal to transport your souvenirs out of state. You may think there’s no harm in popping a cannabis breath mint or chocolate bite, but any public consumption of marijuana is illegal.
- Keep a lid on it. Just like the motto “don’t drink and drive,” don’t smoke and drive. It could get you a DUI, a fine of $10,000, and even jail time. Just as you can’t drive with an open bottle of beer, you can’t drive with an open container of cannabis products. Nowadays, your stash, even a lone joint, comes in sealed containers.
- Adults only. State law does not allow you to smoke accompanied by anyone under the age of 21. Even if it’s in your own house. This is serious. If you happen to be caught driving while under the influence of cannabis, with a minor in your car, you can be charged with child abuse.
- Start slow. Go slow. Edibles are all the rage here. Just as it takes a while for your tummy to get full when you’re eating spaghetti, it may take up to two hours or longer for the effects of your cannabis edibles to begin. Think nibble, rather than eat. For first-time edible eaters, don’t consume more than five milligrams.
- No baker’s dozen. The legal limit for carrying pot is just one ounce. Plus, for out-of-staters, there’s a limit on how much you can purchase at a time. Don’t buy more than what you will realistically use during your trip, especially since you can’t take it with you (back home).