How important is pot to Colorado tourism? “It is the elephant in the room,” said Cathy Ritter, the new state tourism head, who moved here from Illinois, shortly after she started in January. “Everyone does want to know about the impact of marijuana in Colorado.”
Author Mindy Sink wrote her first Moon Denver guide back in 2008, when the green rush to Colorado was just beginning. The third edition came out last month, and the fact that Moon Denver has expanded to include Boulder, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins isn't the only new twist. The subjects covered have expanded, too, with dispensaries added to the more standard tourist recommendations for sights, restaurants, nightlife and accommodations. That makes it the “first general-interest travel guide to be published with marijuana tourism included,” according to the publisher, Avalon Travel.
“That was their decision, and I thought it was a good one,” Sink says. “Since 2008, things have totally changed.” The publisher also suggested expanding the geographic region covered. “Instead of being solely a Denver focus, it's a Front Range guidebook,” she explains. “It's like four mini-guidebooks in one.”
The cities are close enough that they can serve as each other's side trips, she points out: “Each one of these cities has a lot to offer. You could spend a day in each one and eat a fabulous farm-to-table meal for every meal. You could take in art and culture, go for a hike outdoors and, if you want, get a little high.”
In fact, Sink is high on many of the things included in the guide. “I don't know if I'm more amazed or impressed at the entrepreneurial spirit here, to take marijuana and turn it into an activity that you can do. You can toke and paint, toke and do yoga, toke and hike. I love that mix of the two,” she says.
“There's no end to the possibilities. It's far more than what John Denver envisioned.”
Former Westword staffer Joel Warner, who now covers marijuana for International Business Times, provided the content for the marijuana section of Moon Denver, Boulder, Colorado Springs. “There are so many ridiculous ways to consume marijuana these days,” he notes, suggesting that confused tourists simply grab a vape pen — “the Dad jean of intoxicants.”
The book is $17.99 in print, $11.99 digitally. Find out more at moon.com/books/moon-denver/.