Yes, it’s controversial.
Colorado however, is a trail blazer. Since the state opened its doors to recreational pot smokers at the start of the year, several other states are now looking to follow its liberal example. Washington has announced that it is likely to implement similar legislation later this year. Oregon, California, Alaska, Arizona and several others could also follow suit.
So what’s the reason for this burst of green thinking? Well, the stats show that cannabis isn’t quite as controversial in the US as you might think.
According to a recent poll, 58% of American citizens now favour the legalization of marijuana.
The Medical Marijuana Industry Group is a trade association of licensed marijuana selling businesses across the state. Executive Director Michael Elliot told us that ‘On January 1st, most of the businesses indicated that more than half of their customers were from out of state.’
What does that tell us? If you’re interested in visiting Colorado to take advantage of its new laws, you’re not the only one.
But marijuana tourism can be a risky business.
Whether your interest is medicinal or recreational, there are still some rules and restrictions to enjoying the local plant life.
Here are some important facts to remember before you light up:
The recreational use of marijuana is legal under state law – subject to certain restrictions that are listed below – but it’s not legal under federal law.
The federal government, however, are very unlikely to get involved. Last August, the US Department of Justice issued a statement saying that it plans to allow state law enforcement agencies to "address marijuana enforcement of their own narcotics laws."
Basically, as long as you follow the rules, the likelihood is that you’ll be fine.
Be careful with edibles
Marijuana can be refined into a concentrated form in cannabis oil or butter. This can then be used to make baked goods or other types of food that can be eaten to give a heightened effect.
Michael warns to be careful when using edibles:
‘Visitors should be aware that they can purchase edible products here, but they should read the labels, go slow, and don’t hesitate to ask the business questions. Edibles can take up to two hours to fully take effect. Be careful; start with a single 10 mg serving or less, and don’t take more until you wait a full two hours.’
Asking for help and advice when making your purchase is always a good idea, don’t be afraid to question the professionals.
Respect the locals
This is the golden rule for every seasoned traveller - don’t be a rookie, Colorado deserves the same level of humility as any other travel hot spot.
Michael tells us that Colorado is now being watched closely: ‘Colorado is on the cutting edge of this issue, and the whole world is watching, so please help us make this program a success by engaging in responsible use and safe behaviours.’
Despite a controversial reception, the legalisation of marijuana has arrived. So now you know the facts, are you likely to take a trip to Colorado to enjoy the local hospitality? Let us know what you think in the comments...
In our hostelworld.com travel blog we bring you all the latest company news and information on new additions to the site including podcasts, videos and more. You'll also get inside information on a variety of destinations across the globe as they're visited by our travel editor and writers.
Andres Santamaria said