Marijuana became legal for recreational use in Colorado January 1, 2014, and the state made history by becoming the first in the U.S. to allow open retail shops. Consequently, Telluride has become a destination for those interested in partaking in the controversial herb.
It’s true. Some people have actually planned vacations to the San Juans because of the ease and legality in obtaining marijuana. While some people might assume that the pot tourists are the younger college age kids, the truth is that marijuana has attracted folks of all ages and demographics from all over the country. This includes prominent businessmen, older populations and women.
Medical marijuana retail stores have been legal in Telluride since 2009. Since then, those with cannabis cards from a medical doctor could purchase pot for health reasons. This included everything from headaches and sleep disorders to PMS and back pain.
Telluride, always at the forefront of progress, respected the drug’s ability to ease pain as well as the research that indicates cannabis has incredible antioxidant and cancer-fighting properties.
Medical marijuana dispensaries still exist in Telluride.
However, the new legislation has enabled the recreational sale of pot, and that means anyone over the age of 21 can enter designated stores and make purchases.
Those interested in shopping need not look too hard. Alpine Wellness, Telluride Bud Company and the Telluride Green Room all have recreational ganja for sale. This includes edible varieties, tinctures, oils and of course, different strains of buds for smoking.
Much like walking into a liquor store and selecting a beverage, locals and visitors can pop into a pot shop and search for buds that appeal to their liking. Sales associates can assist with flavor, feel and potency.
Has this changed the ambiance of the town of Telluride? Not at all.
In fact, those that smoke or eat marijuana in Telluride likely always have. There have always been joints smoked on the chairlift and people puffing at festivals and in concerts, or after work and in their own homes.
Nothing is new here, besides the legislation.
The herb has been present in the box canyon for as long as counter-culture has existed. And, actually cannabis was here long before that in the old days of the mining industry, when the West really was wild and prostitution, gambling and other hard drugs were commonplace.
Telluride still is a quirky ski town that has always attracted hippies, artists and those who march to the beat of a different drummer.
And, the growing, selling and consumption of marijuana is not a free-for-all in Telluride. There are laws and permits and taxes and regulations.
And airport security. What is not permissible is visitors stocking up in the recreational retail stores and traveling back home to other states where marijuana is illegal. The friends and family back home will have to make their own trip to Telluride to see and experience for themselves.
Yes, the old adage is true for the box canyon too: What happens here in Colorado stays in Colorado.