COLORADO: Communities across Colorado are taking different tactics to the sale of recreational marijuana, which will officially begin in January. In Colorado’s high country, most resort towns support pot legalization and they don’t see it hurting the state’s multibillion dollar tourism business.
Last November, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64 by a healthy margin. In resort towns such as Telluride, nearly 80 percent of voters said yes to legalization.
“Telluride is a pretty young community,” said mayor Stu Fraser. “The demographics changed recently. We went from an average age of 30 to 34.”
Telluride is known for its numerous mountain festivals and laid back vibe.
When it comes to recreational marijuana, Fraser says Telluride is going farther than most. Plans are already in the works for three retail stores in the main business district. Telluride will allow grow operations and there’s nothing preventing a shop from eventually opening up right on Main Street.
“We’re not trying to create a tourism flow into the community to build our sales tax revenue off of recreational marijuana,” said Fraser. “That’s not the goal here at all. What we attempt to do is make it right for the folks that live here. Then that ends up really making it right for the people who visit here.”
Other mountain towns including Aspen, Breckenridge, Crested Butte and Steamboat Springs are also allowing retail stores, but there are other restrictions. Most have ordinances banning stores in certain parts of town and won’t allow for grow operations.
It’s an altogether different story in Vail, which has a moratorium on retail marijuana stores. The town has also banned medical marijuana dispensaries.
“The issue that I’ve heard over and over again, is just people questioning bringing their families to an area or resort where marijuana is easily available,” said Andy Daly, the mayor of Vail.