COLORADO: Business is booming in Colorado’s mountain resorts, and the addition of recreational marijuana stores this year has attracted customers curious about legalized pot. But there’s mounting anxiety that ski towns have embraced stoner culture a little too much, potentially damaging the state’s tourism brand.
That worry flared up in two resort towns last week. In Breckenridge, residents voted overwhelmingly to force downtown’s lone dispensary off Main Street to a less-visible location. And just up the road in Granby, town officials used a property annex to prevent a dispensary from opening.
“It’s not a morality issue, or that we think marijuana is bad,” said Breckenridge councilman Gary Gallagher, who supported legal marijuana but also voted to force the Breckenridge Cannabis Club out of downtown. “Marijuana, it is not in this country’s DNA yet. It’s a little bit too early.”
So far, there’s no indication that legal pot has damaged tourism, Colorado’s No. 2 industry. The state notched a record $17.3 billion in tourism spending the year after legalization, with a record 64.6 million visitors, and state tourism officials say 2014 is poised to top last year’s record.