Since Colorado voters passed an amendment to the state’s constitution legalizing recreational marijuana for people over the age of 21 last year, a special legislative panel has been looking at the many ramifications of legalization, including the issue of pot tourism.
The amendment doesn’t specify whether only Colorado residents may legally purchase and use recreational marijuana, or if anyone in the state may do so. A Colorado task force made up of law enforcement, government officials and marijuana advocates recommended that the state Legislature not step in and prohibit visitors from buying and using pot. They believe that visitors should be able to buy and use marijuana in Colorado—so long as they don’t take it home. However, many state legislators, including Governor Hickenlooper, aren’t happy at the idea of Colorado becoming known for pot tourism.
The task force suggested that visitors should be allowed to purchase pot, but that the amount they purchase from any one store should be limited. According to The Denver Post, “The goal is to prevent ‘smurfing’, which would occur when one person goes from store-to-store accumulating marijuana to then sell on the black market. The thinking is that lowering the amount of marijuana an out-of-stater could buy in any one store would make smurfing too time-consuming to be worthwhile.”
The task force also suggested that only Colorado residents be allowed to own marijuana shops, that a person must prove that they have lived in Colorado for 2 years to establish residency, and that marijuana shops be vertically integrated, meaning that they grow what they sell. This would be similar to rules already in place in the state governing the sales of medical marijuana.
Governor Hickenlooper told The Denver Post that he was hearing more concerns about marijuana rules from the business community than concerns about the new gun laws that recently passed the Colorado state houses.