Come for the Pot, Stay For the Powder? Colorado Finds Roughly Half of Tourists Visit Due To Legal Marijuana

Marijuana LeafWe have been following the expanding market pressures in favor of legalization of marijuana in the United States. Now a new study seems to support those who have argued that legalization is a powerful economic lift for the Colorado economy. It appears that the powder on the slopes is less of a draw than the pot for tourists.

A study commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office found that tourists indicated that the marijuana laws influenced vacation decisions nearly 49 percent of the time. Of course, such surveys may not accurately reflect the full range of tourists, many of whom could be quietly avoiding the state for the same reason.

However, the emerging view is that legalization has worked economically for Colorado. Denise Miller, director of tourism surveys for Strategic Marketing and Research Insights, or SMARI, is reported as saying that, while it may not be the motivator for most tourists, “it’s become more of a motivator for those who want to do it.”

Notably, however, only 8 percent of tourists said they visited a marijuana dispensary during their trip to Colorado. Of those saying that they visited such stops, it is not surprising to see a greater draw from the laws: 85 percent said marijuana was a primary motivator of their visit to Colorado – up from 29 percent last year.

Source: Denver Post

37 thoughts on “Come for the Pot, Stay For the Powder? Colorado Finds Roughly Half of Tourists Visit Due To Legal Marijuana”

  1. Karen, I grew up in CT. in the 1960’s. The drinking age was 21 as it was in all states bordering NY state, which had an age 18 drinking age. There were many problems related to the inequality in the drinking laws in the northeast.

  2. This is the problem when marijuana is legal in one state and not in another. It makes it too easy for law abiding citizens to accidentally break the law. Even if they do not have any marijuana on their person, they could still have it in their system for days, or the car will smell like it and get a hit by the K9.

    I consider pot to be far more benign that cigarettes, although I wouldn’t be surprised if they discover that smoking it causes cancer. The oxidation of burning renders many substances carcinogenic. But there are other means of delivery. And of course it’s illegal to drive while impaired.

    What I am concerned about is this trend towards increasing the potency of pot. It’s already 7 times more potent than what was available in the 1960s. If the trend continues, the possibility of abuse and addiction increases. They’ll ruin it if they turn it into a hard drug.

  3. I will say that I have a friend who is a human who went to the Univ. of CO at Boulder and that he did very well with the educational experience. He is by no means a pot head. He won’t drive through Idaho either and now I know why. We had a hooker in Amsterdam at a cathouse named Ida Whoa. She was from France. When an American from Idaho came to the cathouse they often asked for her. I was just there along for the ride because my half blind human pal for whom I am guide dog needs a place to bed down for short periods when the girls are not on their periods. If you know what I mean jelly bean. I also worked cleaning rooms at a cathouse next to London House East in East Saint Louis Illinois back in the early sixties. I learned a lot. I was a human in that prior life. I was a good human and Saint Peter let me come back in this round as a dog. Be careful out there.

  4. One state I would not send my kid to, for college, is Colorado. They have some college named after the state which is not a public college. Colorado College was in the news here for its censorship. Worse than the Chinese Communist State. I think we ought to call that place in Colorado Springs: Communist College. You can not even comment that a person is hot or cold. Jeso.

  5. re: Bruce at 12/11 11:14 am:
    I don’t know about Colorado but I am a WA state resident where they also tax “recreational” cannabis severely and the black market is thriving. If the main argument in favor of ending cannabis prohibition is elimination of the black market, the WA and (apparently) CO models don’t work.

    I suspect the reason why anti-prohibition initiatives have been so successful has less to do with their popularity with voters and more to do with the fact that people have figured out how to make a lot of money from legal cannabis and those people have the wherewithal to fund and organize anti-prohibition campaigns.

    The bottom line is that decades of anti-cannabis propaganda have left a comprehensively inaccurate impression of cannabis and cannabis prohibition. This demonization of a drug causes far less harm to individuals and society than alcohol has caused far more harm than the drug itself ever could.

  6. I wonder how the black market pot business is in Colorado, seeing that they tax the crap out of it

  7. Don de Drain……Darien Roseen (see ROSEEN v. Idaho) stopped at a “Welcome to Idaho” rest area after crossing the Snake River on I-84 Eastbound. He got an unexpected and unusual Idaho welcome.

  8. here is something people don’t ski may not know. skiiers like to party. they like to drink and a lot of them smoke weed, and I mean have always smoked weed, and have never stopped. why do you think colorado legalized it in the first place? democracy– sometimes it actually works!

  9. who cares if a bunch of people smoke pot in colorado. that was true before they legalized. so what. less drug profits for the cartells, cleaner & safer weed for the obstinate smokers, less incarceration. what will go up? are we afraid of the carbon footprint or something? this is ridiculous.

    I HOPE some kids will go try and smoke legal weed instead of getting hooked up at home with drug dealers who will also sell them coke meth and heroin. I HOPE that people will go smoke pot in Colorado instead of all the other bad crap they would do.

    Ten years from now alochol related illness rates may show a severe drop too for all we know. It’s not like alcohol isn’t a problem too. Seriously people get real about this.

    Nobody is making people smoke dope in Colorado., the sky is not falling. LEGALIZE IT.

  10. In Idaho they give you a free potato. In Colorado they just drop the “ato”. But what do you call a potato laced with pot?

    I heard a story about a man named Joseph Kettle who visited Colorado and tried pot for the first time. He liked it so much he kept returning to Colorado regularly. It truly was a case of the pot calling the Kettle back.

  11. Bad playing with statistics here. So 49% report in a survey that the marijuana laws “influenced” their decision to visit. How much influence was it? What other factors influenced their decision to visit Colorado? If only 8% of tourists visited a dispensary, then it is not really that big of a factor.

    Here are statistics that put a different spin on the issue:
    White had research outfit Strategic Marking & Research Insights, or SMARI, ask travelers it polled whether marijuana played a role in their decision to possibly take a vacation in the state.

    Sixty-five percent said marijuana didn’t make a difference. Among the rest, 16 percent said they were more likely to visit because of legal recreational weed sales, and 18 percent said pot sales made them less likely to visit.

    1. Paul…..the comment I made about a “drug free Idaho” was tongue in cheek. As if Idaho had no drug use before their wicked neighbors in WA. and OR. legalized recreational pot.
      I actually voted against the Initiative 502? in Washington that legalized recreational pot; it had been largely decriminalized, with most cases being minor misdemeanors. I thought that was about the “right balance” for marijuana laws/penalties.
      Also, I was somewhat concerned about the difference between the federal (crazy) laws, which place pot equal to meth, cocaine, etc. I didn’t consider the issue of state-to-state differences, and I didn’t think Idaho law enforcement would go ape sh** in using pretext “traffic stops” to stop and search those from the “wrong” states. I think these fishing expeditions are counter productive to good law enforcement/public support for Idaho LE.
      I’m sure Idaho has seized more pot, given the fishing expedition. That does not necessarily mean that laws in neighboring states meant more drug use in Idaho, but that they are using a “bigger net” to snare those found with pot.
      If Washington, with stricter gun control laws, focused on Idaho drivers who were technically in violation of firearm laws, they could almost certainly “juice” the numbers. I.E., WA could claim that there are more Idahoans violating WA. gun regs. , when in fact it was the “pretext stops/fishing expedition” that increased Idahoans actually stopped and searched, and caught.
      Anyway, nothing personal against Idaho residents. I just think your politicians and officers are nuts.

  12. I live in Idaho, indeed much of what is said about our police is true. But I will guarantee that Idaho is not drug free. In fact, I would wager Idaho has as many drugs per capita as any other state. Idaho is no different than any place else. We just have a political class that loves to demonize. Come to think about it, that is no different than anyplace else either. Change will come. In Idaho it will just be a day later with a few more casualties along the way.

  13. I’ve heard similar nasty stories about patrol stops in Kansas, as is reported here about Idaho. The title of this post could lead one to believe cocaine is also legal in Colorado. Maybe it’s just me, I’m currently reading another book about the Medellin cartel. I learned an interesting tidbit. The Medellin Intercontinental Hotel, where I stayed while adopting our son, was the primary meeting place for the cartel. Explains some of what I observed while staying there in 1987!

  14. That is unfortunate info about Idaho. I haven’t driven through there in many years. Last time I was in Idaho, the friendly billboards offered “Free potaters for out-of-staters,” just show your out-of-state driver’s license and get a free sack of potatoes. Idaho is now a place to avoid. I don’t use marijuana and have no interest in it, but I don’t want to be detained or hassled. They can keep the free potatoes.

  15. Washington and Oregon have both legalized recreational pot, and both states border Idaho. Idaho has perhaps the strictest laws against any form of pot use, including “medicinal pot”. Penalties for various amounts of possession are severe.
    Idaho’s concern about pot infiltrating formerly drug free Idaho has prompted Idaho law enforcement to ” crack down on” Washington, Oregon, and Colorado drivers. Fishing expeditions have probably increased the number of pot related citations and arrests, and have also promoted inventive “pretext traffic stops”, ensnaring desperados like DARIEN ROSEEN, a 70 year old retired Weyerhauser executive with the ” wrong” license plate.
    I got my own special “Darien Roseen Idaho Welcome”twice, in 2014, and subsequently I detour around the state. Adds several hours of driving time, but I don’t like having to look over my shoulder wondering when an Idaho officer will pull me over for a chicken**** ” traffic violation” that immediately turns into an interrogation about “where are you from, when did you leave, what is your destination, how far is it, “from this point” , to your destination, why are you travelling, are you on any medications, do you have anything illegal in your car, when was the last time you used marijuana, “the K-9 alerted, mind if we search your car?, and_ ” why are your eyes glassy” (One of my favorites, and part of the rehearsed script; it’s recorded on the dash can in the Roseen stop).
    These are the “casual conversational skills” that lead the “trained eye” of Idaho officers to “know” who to pull over to interrogate. While I think there are some officers who do in fact have a good “6th sense” about something amiss, the Idaho officers seem to have taken leave of their senses.
    Given that this is Idaho policy, Idaho politicians should campaign on a “build the wall” proposal that would block off entry of Washington and Oregon residents. If the Wall is built high enough, it could also block off or divert the wafting pot smoke from WA. and OR. potheads, carried in by the westerly winds.

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