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Legal Marijuana Draws Visitors For 4/20


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US CO: Legal Pot Draws Visitors To Colo., Wash., For 4/20

 

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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n165/a04.html

Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Tue, 16 Apr 2013

Source: Albuquerque Journal (NM)

Copyright: 2013 The Associated Press

Contact: opinion@abqjournal.com

Website: http://www.abqjournal.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/10

Author: Kristen Wyatt, The Associated Press

Page: C7

 

LEGAL POT DRAWS VISITORS TO COLO., WASH., FOR 4/20

 

Thousands Expected for Marijuana Holiday

 

DENVER ( AP ) - Thousands of people are expected to join an unofficial counterculture holiday celebrating marijuana in Colorado and Washington state this coming weekend, including out-of-staters and even packaged tours. The events and crowds will test the limits of new laws permitting pot use by adults.

 

More than 50,000 are expected to light up outdoors in Denver's Civic Center Park on Saturday to celebrate marijuana legalization. Thousands more are headed here for the nation's first open-to-all Cannabis Cup on Saturday and Sunday, a domestic version of an annual marijuana contest and celebration in Amsterdam. Expected guests at the Cannabis Cup, a ticketed event taking place inside the Denver Convention Center, include Snoop Lion, the new reggae and marijuana-loving persona for the rapper better known as Snoop Dogg.

 

Marijuana activists from New York to San Francisco consider Saturday a day to celebrate the drug and push for broader legalization. The origins of the number "420" as a code for pot are murky, but the drug's users have for decades marked the date 4/20 as a day to use pot together.

 

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, and its sale without a doctor's recommendation isn't allowed yet in Colorado or Washington. Neither state allows open and public use of the drug. But authorities largely look the other way at public pot-smoking, especially at festivals and concerts, and entrepreneurs are finding creative ways to capitalize on new marijuana laws.

 

One of them is Matt Brown, co-owner of Denver's new "My 420 Tours," which gives traveling pot users everything but the drug. Brown has sold 160 tour packages to visiting pot smokers for the April 20 weekend. Prices start at $499, not including hotel or air.

 

The tour sends cannabis tour guides to pick up marijuana tourists at the airport in limousines, escort them to Cannabis Cup and other Denver-area marijuana celebrations and deposit them at a hotel where smoking - tobacco or reefer - is permitted on room patios.

 

Marijuana tourists on Brown's tour can add extra days of touring medical marijuana dispensaries and commercial growing operations. A cannabis cooking class is another option. Five-day tours run $649 to $849.

 

Brown, a medical marijuana patient who is new to the travel business, says his tours will enable sharing of pot but not selling it. Eighty percent of his clients are coming from outside Colorado - meaning it's illegal for them to bring marijuana from home. And because commercial pot sales in Colorado don't start until January, out-of-state visitors can't yet buy pot at Colorado's 500 plus dispensaries.

 

Despite the legal barriers, Brown said his tours quickly filled to capacity and he had to turn away would be cannabis tourists. He's hoping to book future pot-themed weekends if the weekend does well.

 

"People are fascinated by what's happening here, and they want to see it up close," Brown said. "We want to make sure people don't come here, land at the airport, rent a car and drive around stoned all weekend."

 

The tour group isn't affiliated with the Cannabis Cup, sponsored by High Times Magazine, which has run similar events for medical marijuana in nine cities. The magazine's editorial director, Dan Skye, says this month's U.S. Cannabis Cup was timed for the April 20 weekend.

 

"4/20 is the national stoner holiday, for lack of a better word," Skye said. "It gets bigger every year, and this year, after the legalization votes, it's going to be absolutely huge."

 

The magazine planned to award Snoop Lion with a "lifetime achievement" award at a Denver ceremony Friday. A Cypress Hill/Slightly Stoopid concert was planned Saturday at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater just west of Denver. Both events sold out weeks ago.

 

A few dozen miles northwest of Denver, the University of Colorado in Boulder will try to dampen pot celebrations on Saturday. The campus once held the nation's largest college 4/20 celebration, drawing an estimated 10,000 in 2010. The legendary smokeout was cited by Playboy magazine when it named Colorado the nation's top party school in 2011

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

 

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