A new article in USA Today is igniting one of the ski industry's biggest debates in recent years: is recreational marijuana in Colorado a draw or a deterrent? This year is the second full ski season since the state legalized the drug, and the road hasn't exactly been smooth. However, Colorado's tourism industry has been booming, and the number of recreational marijuana shops keeps growing.
USA Today raises interesting questions about whether or not some are avoiding Colorado because of legal weed. On the one hand, the perception that marijuana is everywhere might cause some visitors (especially those with families) to consider going elsewhere. USA Today says that some Chicago skiers have opted instead for Park City Utah, where marijuana remains illegal.
But talk to any ski town local and they'll tell you that pot has always been a part of the ski bum lifestyle. Most in Colorado argue that little has changed. Public consumption of marijuana remains illegal. You also can't smoke it on federal lands, including the White River National Forest, the most skied national forest in the country. Some ski towns have even considered an all-out ban on recreational pot stores in town limits, and the Colorado ski industry as a whole is cognizant of maintaining its wholesome, family-oriented reputation. Others argue that pot is actually luring valuable tourists to the state, and that it's one more element that makes Colorado unique.
We decided to turn it over to you.
- Colorado's Record-Breaking Tourism Industry, By the Numbers [Curbed Ski]
- Pot People Lose Fight to Use Colorado Ski Slope Symbols [Curbed Ski]
- Ski-town weed: Deterrent or Draw? [USA Today]