Colorado, Washington officials: No plans to promote marijuana tourism

Tourists looking to travel for a toke up might need to rethink their next trip to Colorado or Washington. Photo: Courtesy DEA

BRENTWOOD, Tenn., Nov. 10, 2012 – Tourists looking to travel for a toke up might need to rethink their next trip to Colorado or Washington. The Mile High City might not be the best place to, well, get high.

Voters in both states passed initiatives to allow the recreational use of marijuana while Oregon voters didn’t light up their “yes” buttons and voted down a similar initiative. Regardless of Tuesday’s vote, federal law still lists the drug as a controlled substance.

Colorado tourism officials tell the Denver Post they have no plans to promote so-called marijuana tourism, and officials in Washington have indicated a similar position.

“The voters have spoken and we have to respect their will. This will be a complicated process, but we intend to follow through,” Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement. “That said, federal law still says marijuana is an illegal drug so don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly.”

That means tourists shouldn’t expect to see ads promoting opportunities to visit Colorado and Washington and try pot brownies made with local chocolates. Published reports indicate representatives from both states are shying away from promoting weed as their state’s newest attractions.

“As long as federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance, we are obligated to remind tourists they would be subject to federal law even if Colorado law permits them to do something,” the Denver Post quoted Rich Grant, a spokesman for Visit Denver, as saying.

One Denver official went a step further, saying drug use could leave his city with a black eye.

“Tourism is the second largest industry in both Denver and Colorado. If Colorado receives international media attention as the first state in the U.S. to legalize marijuana in their constitution, Colorado’s brand will be damaged and we may attract fewer conventions and see a decline in leisure travel,” USA Today quoted Richard Scharf of Denver’s tourism bureau, as saying before Tuesday’s election.

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Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo jouned The Washington Times Communities in May 2012. He covers travel and Georgia. A marketing professional who never gave up his award-winning journalistic ways, DeFeo revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He also serves as editor of The Travel Trolley.


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