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Recreational pot now legal in Colorado high country

Aspen-area retailers not yet open for business

January 2, 2014, 8:17 am

Recreational marijuana is now legal in Colorado – with some retail outlets operating in mountain resort communities — and U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., now wants to see pot regulated like alcohol nationwide.

marijuana“Today Colorado becomes the first state to implement comprehensive marijuana regulation,” said Polis, whose district includes the most popular ski resorts in Colorado. “By regulating marijuana like alcohol, Colorado voters hope to reduce crime and keep marijuana away from kids.

“I applaud Colorado’s efforts to implement the will of the voters and will continue my work to pass H.R. 499 to regulate marijuana like alcohol federally.”

The sale of marijuana for recreational use by consumers over the age of 21 was made legal by the statewide passage of Amendment 64 in November of 2012. Colorado and the state of Washington became the first two electorates in the world to legalize recreational marijuana.

Hundreds of retail outlets applied for permits to sell pot in Colorado starting Wednesday, but only a handful completed the lengthy process in time to actually open their doors by Jan. 1.

No recreational marijuana stores were open as of Jan. 1 in Aspen or the surrounding area, but some are expected to be fully permitted in the next several weeks. Meanwhile, some local towns such as Carbondale are still grappling with regulations and permit costs.

The Breckenridge Cannabis Club, located in the ski town of Breckenridge in Summit County, was reportedly the only recreational retail outlet reportedly open for business in a Colorado ski town as of Jan. 1.

Town of Vail officials are still considering how to proceed on the issue of recreational marijuana, voting recently to continue a ban on allowing retail recreational pot sales.

Vail Resorts – which owns and operates Vail, Beaver Creek, Breckenridge and Keystone, posted a blog in mid-December reminding snow riders that the ski company’s facilities are located on leased United States Forest Service land and that marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

“It is not legal to use marijuana publicly, on lifts or on USFS property; therefore, it is not legal on Vail Mountain,” Vail Resorts officials blogged. “We also do not permit the consumption of marijuana in any of our facilities or premises under our control and we will enforce this vigorously.”

Some ski-town tourists have expressed dismay over Colorado’s new marijuana laws. However, businesses are lining up to cash in on what’s expected to be lucrative new pot tourism industry. How it lines up with the state’s existing outdoor recreation industry remains to be seen.

Other mountain outlets for pot sales include stores in Idaho Springs and Central City, both located between Vail and Denver.

The Huffington Post Wednesday released a list of recreational pot shops open for business both in Denver and across the state. Here are the shops listed outside of the Denver city limits:

Breckenridge Cannabis Club, 226 S. Main St., Breckenridge (Map)

BotanaCare, 11450 Cherokee St., Northglenn (Map)

Marisol Therapeutics, 922 Kimble Dr., Pueblo West (Map)
Northern Lights Natural Rx, 2045 Sheridan Blvd Suite B, Edgewater (Map)

Patients Choice/Bud Med Health Centers, 2517 Sheridan Blvd., Edgewater (Map)

The Annie’s, 135 Nevada St., Central City (Map)

The Greener Side, 3321 S. Interstate 25, Pueblo (Map)

The Kine Mine, 2820 Colorado Blvd., Idaho Springs (Map)

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David O. Williams is an award-winning energy, environment, sports and outdoor writer based in the Vail Valley. His work has appeared in publications as diverse as the The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Denver Post, SKI, SKIING, Powder, People, LA Weekly and the Huffington Post.

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