Marijuana tourism is getting mainstream hype whether state officials like it or not

Keep Westword Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Denver and help keep the future of Westword free.

As we've noted, official tourism agencies in Colorado continue to keep marijuana at arm's length, as it were. For instance, a VISIT DENVER list of things the city has in common with Seattle, released prior to the Super Bowl, somehow managed to skip legal pot entirely.

Not that the media has needed much prodding to promote such trips. A recent CBS feature on the subject (see the video below) has now been supplemented by a hefty Washington Post spread that even includes a "vocabulary lesson for pot tourists."

The CBS report juxtaposes footage of correspondent Barry Petersen hanging in a limo as visitors blaze up -- imagery that's rapidly becoming a cliche -- with visits to a grow, a shop and the workshop of a glassware artisan.

To put it mildly, no new ground is broken by the clip. But the Washington Post offering is considerably more ambitious.

Here's a screen capture from the package:

Sporting photos aplenty, reporter Andrea Sachs's account goes into the sort of detail that's commonplace in traditional travel writing but has been all but nonexistent in marijuana-tourism stories to date.

Yes, Sachs documents her Denver-area ride in a "long black van with no telling markings" organized by Colorado Highlife Tours. But she also experiences the scene in Pueblo, which one commentator hopes to help transform into "the Little Amsterdam of Colorado," delves into the world of edibles and gets into the question of where people who visit the state can actually consume cannabis without running afoul of public-smoking prohibitions.

In a sidebar, Sachs helpfully points out-of-towners to hotels, such as Morrison's Cliffhouse Lodge, said to be marijuana-friendly, plus eateries capable of satisfying the anticipated case of the munchies at a tour's conclusion; she mentions Milberger Farms in Pueblo and Udi's Bread Cafe in Denver.

Also included is the aforementioned roster of vocab terms, which range from relatively straight-forward definitions for "strains" and "sativa" to "couch lock" -- "When you take one puff too many and melt into your furniture." And if some of the entries in her "common slang for cannabis" roster seem a little antique, at least she didn't include "tea" along with "grass" and "reefer."

True, Sachs isn't above having a little fun at ganjapreneurs' expense: She follows a statement by one shop owner ("Colorado will be a tourist stop for everyone in the United States until it comes to their state") with the dismissive line, "Dream that little creampuff dream, pot patriots." But overall, the package demonstrates that marijuana can be covered in much the same way other types of tourism are -- as a completely normal, commonplace attraction.

At present, state agencies aren't contributing to this transition: A statement provided to the Post notes that "the Colorado Tourism Office has positioned Colorado as a premier four-season destination, and the organization has no plans to use the legalization of the drug to promote the state." But it seems to be happening whether officials take part or not.

Here's the CBS roundup.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our Lists & Weirdness archive circa January 24: "Photos: Twelve things Denver and Seattle have in common other than legal pot."

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


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


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