DIA Bans Pot-Souvenir Sales But Not Info About Marijuana Rules

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Denver International Airport officially banned the sale of marijuana souvenirs and marijuana-related products last week, adding specific wording to its public-conduct rules.

At DIA, it is now unlawful to "sell, display, or advertise any product bearing the image, likeness, description, or name of Marijuana or Marijuana-themed paraphernalia; and advertise a Marijuana-related business or establishment."

See also: Pot-Related Souvenir Sales Decision Could Take a Few Weeks at DIA

But the airport has also decided to create printed educational material -- based on state law and the city's pot regulations -- that will be displayed at customer-service counters and other locations throughout the building. "We are not out to get anyone," says DIA spokesman Heath Montgomery. "But we want to provide that material...and we want people to know the law."

The four-inch-by-six-inch cards will run down the rules laid out at the city's online link, marijuanainfodenver.com: It is illegal to drive high. It is illegal to consume marijuana in public. It is illegal to give or sell retail marijuana to minors. Only licensed establishments may sell retail marijuana products. You must be 21 or older to have or use retail marijuana. It is illegal to take marijuana out of the state.

That last one is particularly important to DIA, Montgomery says, and the airport will add its own info to the bottom of the cards -- which should be available beginning this week -- stating that it is illegal to have marijuana at the airport or on airplanes.

And visitors can also pick up other materials that mention marijuana. The airport's new rules made an official exception for "publications or other commercial, print media products in which Marijuana or the image, likeness, or description thereof is incidental to the principal purpose of the publication or product." In other words, you can buy Time or Outside or Vanity Fair or the Denver Post at DIA, even if they include stories about or pictures of pot.

The exception was "rightfully" made after DIA chief Kim Day listened to testimony during a public hearing in November, Montgomery says. "The first draft of the rule would have prohibited that, so we addressed it."

DIA began the process of implementing the pot souvenir rule in October, six weeks after entrepreneur Ann Jordan complained that the airport was preventing her from selling pot-leaf-imprinted flip-flops and boxer shorts to one of the souvenir stores there.

Jordan spoke at that November 21 hearing and later told Westword: "My three main points were about discrimination relating to beer but not marijuana, DIA's lack of education of tourists regarding marijuana legalization, and that pictures of marijuana on print media or on clothing or on souvenirs should be allowed."

One thing DIA's new policy doesn't cover? Innuendo, like 4/20 references. "We won't be able to catch everything," Montgomery admits, "but the intent is there, and we think our concessionaires will understand the spirit of the rule. Hopefully, everyone will comply."

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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