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Colorado Resorts Set Record Straight On Marijuana Legalization: No Smoking In ‘Public Places’

Legal At Last logoPossession of small amounts of marijuana in Colorado is now legal, but smoking pot at a ski resort remains against the law.

Passed by the voters, the issue continues to confound public officials as legalized sale of the drug begins Jan. 1 in selected locations. But for skiers and snowboarders who may be prone to lighting up on the lift or in the woods, things won’t change for the time being.

As the winter season opens, the U.S. Forest Service sent a memo to resort operators reminding them that toking up on federal land is illegal.

Mostly, mountain managers say they aren’t enforcement agents and will leave that up to local or federal officers.

“We are not a law enforcement agency,” Jeff Hanle at Aspen Skiing Company, told SnoCountry.com. “Our responsibility is skier and snowboarder safety. If we see someone impaired on the mountain who might be a danger to themselves or others, we will take action to remove them from that situation.”

Likewise at Crested Butte Mountain Resort: “As resort operators, we are not law enforcers. We do anticipate the Mt. Crested Butte police and the U.S. Forest Service law enforcement up on the mountain a bit more regularly,” Crested Butte’s Erica Mueller told us.

Greg Ralph at Monarch Mountain, said that marijuana use is illegal on the mountain, but “being further off the beaten path I don’t foresee it being much of an issue here at Monarch.”

The industry trade group Colorado Ski Country USA gave SnoCounty.com a comprehensive comment on its policies, focusing on prohibition of marijuana use in “public places.”

“As the top ski destination we have many things to offer guests, but smoking marijuana at a ski resort is not one of them,” said CEO Melanie Mills. “There is nowhere at a ski area that is NOT a public place, just like at shopping centers, stadiums, amusement parks or on sidewalks.

“Visitors to Colorado’s slopes should have no expectations to smoke at a resort,” said Mills. “Resorts will be sure guests understand the law with ample placement of No Smoking signs, warnings and additional measures as needed. The U.S. Forest Service and country sheriff’s departments will be involved in enforcement, too.”

Image: Logo for Colorado campaign to legalize marijuana
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