Apr 15, 2013 11:43 PM by Tony Spehar - firstname.lastname@example.org
Thousands of marijuana users will flock to Colorado over the next week to celebrate the counter culture holiday of 4/20 and after the passage of Amendment 64 the festivities this year are expected to be bigger than ever.
Jason Warf, Director of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council and lobbyist working with the special legislative committee designing rules for recreational marijuana use, told News 5 he is expecting turnout for 4/20 celebrations to be historic.
"Colorado has always kind of been a hub for the 4/20 celebration," Warf explained. "Denver actually hosts the biggest event worldwide so it'll be interesting this year."
Several companies are offering tour packages for out of state tourists where customers are offered marijuana friendly limousine service, stays in hotels where pot smoking is allowed and tours of Colorado's marijuana industry. Some of the companies charge hundreds of dollars for the tours and almost all of them report that they are sold out of tickets for the 4/20 weekend. The increased tourism is expected to bring in millions of dollars to the state.
"I absolutely think that we'll see a huge impact this weekend," Warf said. "I know speaking with folks that are coming in from out of town that you cannot get a hotel room in Denver."
But, not everybody is happy about the new brand of tourism. Across the state and in Colorado Springs tourism officials said at this point they're not going to be putting out advertisements or mount campaigns geared toward pot tourism. Many expressed fear that it would send a message that Colorado isn't family friendly. Some local governments have already taken action to stop recreational marijuana sales in their jurisdiction.
"Unincorporated El Paso County has enacted a ban, so unfortunately they won't benefit from the tax money or the revenue that can come in," explained Jason Warf.
Lawmakers have begun considering regulations for recreational marijuana sales, which will begin in January. Some are saying this year's 4/20 celebrations could influence the future of pot in Colorado.
"We please encourage everyone to be responsible and treat everyone with respect," Warf said.
On 4/20 over 50,000 people are expected to gather in downtown Denver to smoke in public.