“I smoked a joint before just about every competition I did.” – Tanner Hall
Tess Weaver of Freeskier Magazine just wrote up a great piece about legal marijuana in Washington and Colorado and how it will be a boost to those states’ ski tourism economies. There are some who think that legal marijuana could potentially backfire against those economies. Maybe some families will be less inclined to visit a ski area in a state where marijuana is legal?
Here is an excerpt from the Freeskier Magazine article by Tess Weaver:
Amsterdam certainly benefits from the 1.5 million tourists who visit the city’s hundreds of cafés where marijuana and hashish are sold and consumed. Travel expert Arthur Frommer wrote in a blog post on November 28, 2012 that he predicts a “torrent of new tourism to Seattle and Denver” due to marijuana legalization and added both cities to his list of hot destinations for 2013. And Medical Marijuana Business Daily, a trade publication for the cannabis industry, suggested that the multibillion dollar ski tourism industry could soon be rivaled by Colorado’s newfound marijuana tourism.
“I think it’s going to affect Colorado ski tourism, and I think it’s going to affect it in a positive way,” says pro skier and longtime marijuana advocate Tanner Hall. “There will be no stress going to Colorado. If you like that type of medicine, that kind of relaxation, you can get it legally and not get reprimanded. It’s a stress-free environment combined with some of the best resorts and the best parks in the country.”
Imagine a group of friends from New York City seeking the winter version of a cycling trip through Napa wine country. They could ski their way through Summit County, sampling different varieties of cannabis from ski town to ski town. Seattle’s Jet City Tours already provides a tour of the city featuring legal sampling of different marijuana strains.
Not too long ago, Breckenridge legally allowed adults to possess up to one ounce in the privacy of their home and Mayor John Warner thinks the outcome of the new measure will be similar to that. “I do think we will see something of an increase [in tourism], but we didn’t see a huge increase when we legalized use of marijuana in Breckenridge three years ago,” he says. “I personally voted for [legalization] this year because I’m happy that it’s doing away with the criminal element of pot. We won’t end up with any gang-related activity with people selling on the black market. It will be regulated much like alcohol sales.”
The measure passed overwhelmingly in Colorado’s resort counties compared to other parts of the state. Two-thirds of voters in Eagle County, home to Vail Ski Resort, voted for the measure. Aspen’s Pitkin County approved the measure more than 3 to 1, and in Telluride’s San Miguel County, 8 in 10 voted for legalization—the measure’s largest victory in the state.
“It’s a big part of skiing and ski culture,” says Colorado native and professional skier John Spriggs. “But Colorado draws two separate groups. There are kids going to ski the parks and doing it cheap, and then there are the Texans who are spending thousands at Vail. You’ll get some people who are stoked on it, and there may be an incentive to come, but there are a lot of people who still have some sort of idea about weed being bad, so maybe they won’t bring their family out.”
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