Impact of legal marijuana use at Colorado ski resorts

As amendment 64 goes into effect, many residents and visitors are wondering how recreational marijuana use might change their favorite Colorado ski resorts.

Posted: Tues, December 31st, 2013 by - updated: 12/31/2013


On January 1, 2014, for the first time in U.S history, it will be completely legal for any Colorado resident, age 21 or older, to purchase, possess, and smoke recreational marijuana. The legalization of pot in Colorado has some visitors rethinking their decision to vacation in the area this winter. As a result, ski resorts are taking great care in ensuring that the changes in the law do not negatively affect their guests. 

The amendment will enable the state government to tax and regulate Marijuana like alcohol and certainly strengthen Colorado’s tax revenue. It provides very specific regulations regarding marijuana use, possession, and sale and is very clear that you can’t smoke it in public. That includes all Colorado ski resorts! In addition, most resorts are operated by special permit on U.S. land. Possession or use of marijuana on federal land is a misdemeanor and is punishable by fines and jail time in some cases.

Colorado ski resorts that want to maintain a wholesome family atmosphere will need to crack down on enforcement and educate guests about the new laws to maintain their image. At this stage it seems that many ski resorts have differing opinions regarding this policy.

Several resorts, including those in the Wolf Creek Ski area, have opted not to pursue marijuana violations if the user is discreet and does not present a safety risk. The staff has decided to leave it to Forest Service officers to enforce the law unless reckless skiing becomes an issue.

Colorado Ski Country USA resorts will be posted warnings at their mountains to ensure skiers are aware that it is federal land and therefore, marijuana cannot be smoked. They have publicly announced that they have no plans to revoke memberships of individuals that use at their site.

There are also resorts, including Vail Resorts and Arapahoe Basin, that plan to vigilantly enforce the federal law. Many state that they feel the need to provide a safe, family friendly spot for winter vacations as their main goal.

This is definitely uncharted territory and I’m sure this topic will be controversial for some time but the general consensus seems to be that Amendment 64 is a step in the right direction.

The bottom line is that Colorado has long been a spectacular ski vacation destination. When amendment 64 goes into effect, we think it still will be.

What are your thoughts? Will Colorado ski resorts become divided by those that are marijuana tolerant and those that are not? 


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