Public Safety & Justice

Colorado's Resorts Get Ready for Pot Vacationers

December 23, 2013

Colorado's ski resorts and mountain towns are bracing for an influx of tourists seeking a now-legal Rocky Mountain high.

Last year, the state legalized the possession and use of small amounts of recreational marijuana, and on Jan. 1 special stores will be allowed to sell pot to anyone 21 and over. Voters had previously approved a medical marijuana system, but last fall's vote threw the doors wide open by requiring state officials to regulate pot like alcohol.

With several companies offering marijuana tours — sightseeing tours of the state's high country, with marijuana supplied — police and ski area operators worry that tourists who don't understand the rules will be sparking up on the slopes.

"We're delving into truly uncharted territory here," said Summit County Sheriff John Minor, whose jurisdiction covers the Arapahoe Basin, Keystone and Breckenridge ski areas. "We do have this misperception in Summit County where people have smoked in public, been charged, and were under the perception that it's a free-for-all."

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