DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado has seen a boom in revenues since the legalization of retail marijuana sales, but Denver’s tourism industry is especially feeling the impact this Easter weekend.
This year’s Easter holiday falls on April 20 — or 4/20 — which is also a day known across the country as an unofficial holiday for the celebration of marijuana.
Data from Hotels.com shows that Denver hotel searches for the weekend of April 18-20 have increased by 73% compared to the same timeframe in 2013. Denver is already on the list of the Top 20 U.S. destinations, but many believe the legalization of marijuana is drawing even more interest to the city.
Christie Lunsford, operations director at the Denver pot shop 3D Cannabis Center, has seen customers from all over the world coming to the city to use cannabis.
“People are coming nationally from all over the U.S. but I’m also seeing a lot of international guests as well,” Lunsford said. “They’re all coming here because cannabis is legal in Colorado and they’re all excited to be here.”
Jourdan Yelvington came all the way from Daytona Beach, Fla., and one of her first stops in Denver was a legal marijuana shop, which she described as a surreal experience.
“I just think it’s an awesome opportunity that I’m actually here to experience it,” she said.
The main reason that Yelvington and many others chose this weekend to travel to Denver was for the 4/20 celebrations.
This year marks the fourth annual High Times Cannabis Cup in Denver and last year’s event was the biggest one yet because of the legalization of recreational marijuana.
The 2014 Cannabis Cup could be even bigger and with many retail pot shops now open to all over 21, Denver as a whole is expected to be very busy for the 4/20 weekend.
“I would say that the 4/20 weekend is a destination weekend here in Denver because we have people coming from all over and for tourism there’s been a huge spike,” Lunsford said.
With so many people coming to Denver for the festivities, visitors are asked to cooperate with Colorado’s laws and regulations.
Residents and visitors alike should especially pay attention to laws involving traveling with marijuana, smoking in public areas and on federal land, and driving under the influence.
– Written for CBSDenver.com by CBS4 Intern Melanie Towler