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Colorado’s Pot Laws Don’t Apply On The Slopes

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Skiers and snowboarders at Arapahoe Basin (credit: CBS)

Skiers and snowboarders at Arapahoe Basin (credit: CBS)

SUMMIT COUNTY, Colo. (CBS4) – Ski areas are sending out a reminder to skiers who like to smoke marijuana: Colorado’s new pot laws do not apply on the slopes.

The ski season isn’t even two weeks old and some violaters have already had their season passes revoked.

Officials with Arapahoe Basin, one of the two ski areas that’s open, say many pot smokers are blatantly violating the law.

“The message is pretty simple, the law is clear. Consumption of marijuana is not allowed in public, and we’d like to just move forward and try and make Amendment 64 work the way Colorado voters intended it to,” A Basin COO Alan Henceroth said.

Henceroth said the smokers who lost their passes became combative.

A total of 22 ski resorts in Colorado operate on national forest land, where marijuana is still illegal. The U.S. Forest Service said there’s a minimum fine of $250 for a possession ticket.

Many officials have said they will stress education in the early part of the ski season to get smokers to stop on the slopes.

Henceroth, who wrote about the issue on his blog, said some skiers ” are confused about what they can and cannot do with regards to marijuana.”

“I got a lot of personal positive feedback and a lot of very negative feedback too. It’s a tough and challenging issue,” he said.

Ski areas in Colorado are estimated to bring in $1.5 billion a year to the state’s economy. Several people told CBS4 they are concerned that if this issue isn’t quelled it could have a major impact on tourism. Families might choose to vacation at other ski destinations outside of Colorado.

A skier named Shawn told CBS4 he has been to A Basin four times already this year, and has smelled the pungent odor of pot during every visit.

“It’s really not that big a deal. If it’s not causing any harm to anyone then it’s not a big deal in my opinion,” he said.

Another skier brought up another concern to CBS4. “If someone is in line standing next to us smoking pot and we can’t work again because we were to fail a drug test? Common courtesy, common respect.”

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