Green might be in for vacations in 2014, not grass green, but marijuana green. And where better to spend your Green Vacation than the Rocky Mountains of Colorado? Colorado has always been a destination for those with a zest for big mountains, blue sky, crisp air outdoor activities. Now, a new breed of travelers want to taste that Rocky Mountain High.
National media companies are having a field day with the Colorado pot laws which went into effect January 2014. Youtube videos showcase satires of heavily stoned snowboarders, analysts dissect potential problems, and lawmakers are already dreaming up laws to combat laws.
In reality, "pot" has long been an ingredient in the lifestyle and allure of the Rocky Mountains. From the 1960s and 1970s, when nature loving hippies flocked to a tiny canyon outside Glenwood Springs, Co to bask au naturel in the hot waters of the "Hippy Hot Pots", or ventured to festivals and ski slopes in Telluride or Aspen...right up to 2014 when residents and visitors can finally do legally what they have been doing illegally for decades. When John Denver wrote the song he probably wasn't talking about simple elevation, even though elevations that soar over 14000 feet aren't to be shrugged at either.
Traditionally, potheads were lovers of freedom and nature. When better to just sit and soak up the view than after partaking? Those who do imbibe will swear, you just don't know the intensity of connection to things around you until you've tried it. True or not, you aren't going to find a group of stoners having a drunken brawl indoors. You're going to find them sitting mellow around a campfire strumming guitars and counting stars. Those who think Colorado will now go to pot and self destruct because of legal marijuana, need to think again.
A state which has enjoyed a strong pot culture, albeit illegal, for over 30 years, has consistently kept a strong economy or survived weak ones with lower than average unemployment rates and more disposable income. Colorado ranks as one of the top five states in the country for business, job growth and careers. According to Gov. John Hickenlooper's State of the State address in January 2014, Colorado agriculture exports increased by nearly 80 percent between 2009 and 2013. Colorado also ranks as the eighth-healthiest state in the United States. Obviously, the state has adapted to and survived the pot culture relatively well. Ranchers still ranch, builders still build, ski slopes are maintained, roads are paved and toilets are indoors. Life moves along regardless of a person's choice in relaxation substances.
The worst that will happen for aware travelers who venture to Colorado in search of a Rocky Mountain High...is they might find it, literally and figuratively. The beauty of Colorado scenery will not be lost in a haze of smoke, it will soak through and nature will prevail. The worst that will happen to those unaware of the laws could be different though. Make sure to understand your rights as a visitor are limited compared to a resident, and all consumption is limited to certain locations.
No, you can't light up in any public location. No, you don't want to drive while high. No, you still can't smoke while on the ski slope. Yes, you can legally buy if you are over 21, but only a quarter ounce at a time. No, you can't take your herb home with you unless you want Joe Airport dog sniffing you out for some fun search activity by TSA and your vacation forcibly extended.
Colorado has not changed, the sky hasn't turned green,the mountains still soar and you won't be exposed to smoke you don't want or see stoned people laying in gutters. So, regardless of your own choices, research the facts, ignore the fiction, pack your bags and head out to find your own personal Rocky Mountain High.