DENVER — The evidence is anecdotal, but strong: Legal pot seems to be attracting tourists’ attention to the Centennial State, especially during the 4/20 weekend.
According to Hotels.com, searches for hotel stays in Denver from April 18-20 have increased by 73 percent compared to the same timeframe last year. Overall, searches for Denver hotels in the first quarter of 2014 have increased by 25 percent over last year. Colorado as a whole has seen a 78 percent increase in searches for April 18-20 and a 7 percent overall increase for the first quarter of 2014.
Ranked by the website as the 17th most popular domestic destination for Americans in 2013, Denver was also expected to see an increase for the year overall.
It’s impossible to say for sure that the increased interest is pot-related. But Denver’s 4/20 festival this year is expected to be a landmark event for pot proponents.
Anyone traveling to Colorado for these festivities should keep a number of things in mind:
- Airport Travel: Marijuana remains on the TSA’s list of prohibited items and possession is illegal at most Colorado airports. Colorado Springs Airport and Aspen/Pitkin County Airport have installed “amnesty boxes” in terminals, where travelers can dispose of any marijuana still in their possession. That is not the case at Denver International Airport, which has banned the possession of marijuana anywhere on its premises.
- Visiting Parks & Federal Landmarks: It is illegal to be in possession of marijuana on federal land in Colorado, such as national parks, national forests, monuments and ski areas.
- Getting Around Colorado: It is legal to transport marijuana in a vehicle as long as it is not in an open container and you are driving within state lines. Consumption while driving is illegal and the state’s marijuana DUI law is strictly enforced.