Ask RedWeek / October, 2019

Is it ok to use cannabis at resorts?

I'm traveling to Colorado where cannabis is legal - may we imbibe at the resort?

As more states legalize or relax laws regulating the use of cannabis, this is a question that timeshare owners and users need answered. A recent poll by the Pew Research Center found that 62% of Americans, including 74% of millennials, said they supported legalizing cannabis. But, rapidly changing cannabis laws across all 50 states — and conflicting Federal regulations — contribute to confusion about the issue.

Regulations Vary from State to State

Some states legalize both medicinal and recreational cannabis and some only legalize medicinal use. Other states have decriminalized usage and several consider all usage illegal. State laws may permit only cannabis-infused products or permit limited access under special circumstances, such as medical cannabis use for epilepsy. And it is important to note that cannabis is still a controlled substance under federal law.

Check with the Resort

Be sure to check with the resort you plan to visit. Find out how they handle cannabis usage. You probably won't have to worry about usage in Colorado, but using it at the resort itself it could be problematic. As one of the first states to legalize marijuana, it supports a huge marijuana tourism market. Colorado Cannabis Tours, in addition to bus tours to area dispensaries, offers multiple activities for cannabis tourists. Their numerous cannabis-friendly classes include pottery, cooking, glass blowing, and writing.

Consider Other Guests and Abide by Resort Policies

Just like any resort stay, you'll want to be considerate of the other guests and abide by the resort's policies. Be aware of these issues when staying at a cannabis legal resort:

  • Where to smoke: Every state has its own Clean Air Act regulations which prohibit smoking (of any substance) indoors in restaurants, stores, and lodging with an exception for a limited number of hotel rooms. Cannabis smoke is pungent and can be irritating to certain individuals, particularly those with health issues. More and more properties are smoke-free, period. This includes Cannabis even when legal in the state. In fact, some Colorado resorts ban weed outright. Check with the resort to find out if there are areas on the premises where guests can smoke or vape. You may have to book specific timeshares — one with a balcony for instance — or use edibles which are less conspicuous. There are some legal "Bed and Buds" that are licensed to allow cannabis use on the premises.
  • Considerations when leaving the resort: In Colorado, public intoxication is not punishable by criminal or civil penalties. Many states treat public intoxication, no matter the substance, as they would treat being drunk in public. Though cannabis use is considered a more mellow experience, you will want to use caution when out in public. Driving under any influence is not a good idea, and even cannabis-legal states have laws regarding driving on cannabis. A first-time offense for driving high in Oregon, for instance, could get you a year in jail, fines, and driving restrictions.

Bottom line is: play it safe, use good manners, try some tours and classes, and your vacation in Colorado should be a real "Rocky Mountain High".

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