It’s not just the thin mountain air that’s causing people’s heads to swim. Now that Colorado has legalized recreational marijuana, plenty of people have driven or jetted into the Centennial State in order to partake of legal pot. It’s become so huge — there’s more marijuana dispensaries in the city of Denver than there are Starbucks — that many people have sat up and taken notice and managed to profit from the new windfall of cannabis legalization. Marijuana tourism has become a huge business in Colorado, as people arrive and are eager to partake in legal pot, with tourist companies popping up to meet the demand.
One of the most popular pot tourism industries has been a marijuana shuttle that allows visitors to climb in with their luggage and be transported to wherever they need to go, with joints right on hand to enjoy in the shuttle. Since the passengers are sealed off from the driver and the windows have one-way glass, they’re free to light up to their hearts’ content and enjoy one of the few places in the world with legal bud. Some shuttles run to the major ski resorts up in the mountains, where tourists can have a few puffs and be ready to hit the slopes; others take winding trips to the various breweries that populate the state to sample all manner of vice; still others drop off visitors at the biggest dispensaries to check out strains and paraphernalia for sale.
Other popular industries include marijuana munchies, sold from bakeries or restaurants that specialize in adding THC to their goods. Simple pot brownies can be found at nearly any store in Colorado, baked with bud or hash oil that delivers a potent (if slow-acting) buzz. Many high-end restaurants have advertised marijuana meal specialties, including pairing mary jane with meals like sushi. Pot drinks, also, are on the market to provide refreshment, rehydration, or energy for an all-day toke.
It’s not legal for any business to purchase marijuana in bulk, since the law only applies to private possession and only allows for possession of one ounce of marijuana (a street value between $200 and $500, depending on location and quality). With millions of pot tourists flooding into the state, it’s clear that these businesses are supplying their customers with much more than the legal minimum. How have they sidestepped the legalities? Largely by not reporting any of it: banks advise these tourist operators not to make even a single mention of pot except on their taxes or invoices. This keeps attention away from the businesses who can quietly connect with dealers willing to sell them pounds and pounds of pot at a time.