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  Weed Legalized in Breckenridge
Posted by CN Staff on March 14, 2010 at 19:37:28 PT
By Jay Hamburger, Park Record 
Source: Salt Lake Tribune  

cannabis Breckenridge, CO -- When Park City's tourism boosters boast why skiers and snowboarders should choose the city, they talk about Utah's fluffy powder, the easy access from Salt Lake City's airport and the three local ski resorts being so close to each other.

It's a sales pitch that really cannot be replicated elsewhere in North America. Another mountain resort, though, a formative competitor one state to the east, offers something else that some would consider an enticement to visit: the decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana -- a sales pitch that Park City certainly cannot emulate.

Voters in Breckenridge, Colo., on Election Day 2009 passed a ballot measure that removes criminal penalties from town law for the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana and paraphernalia related to marijuana use by people at least 21 years old. People cannot use marijuana in Breckenridge unless they have a license to do so for medical reasons, and Colorado and federal drug laws remain intact in the town.

Officials in Breckenridge say the Election Day victory by the ballot measure's supporters will not turn the town into a must-stop destination for marijuana-smoking skiers and snowboarders. A spokeswoman for the town government in Breckenridge, Kim DiLallo, says the vote "really is symbolic" and "really only decriminalized private possession of marijuana."

But Breckenridge, Park City and the other top-tier mountain resorts have long been locked in competition with each other

as they try to lure skiers and snowboarders with expanded terrain, faster lifts and updated base areas. The competition has been even tougher amid the recession.

"I don't know that there's a hell of a lot we can do in terms of competing with that," says Mayor Dana Williams, a champion of Park City's tourism industry. "It probably does give them a bit of an advantage."

The supporters of the change in Breckenridge circulated a petition to put the issue on the ballot. Voters passed the question overwhelmingly, with 70.9 percent casting 'Yea' votes on Election Day. The decriminalization took effect on Jan. 1. Breckenridge's mountain resort typically garners high rankings, and it is the key resort in popular Summit County, Colo. People skiing at nearby mountains like Copper Mountain and Keystone occasionally spend some of their off-the-slopes time in the historic town of Breckenridge.

"This place hasn't become Sodom and Gomorrah by any means," says Steve Lapinsohn, the chairman of the board of directors of the Breckenridge Resort Chamber, calling Breckenridge a "family town."

Lapinsohn predicts the decriminalization will not have a large impact on Breckenridge's tourism numbers. Some visitors might see the legality of a small amount of marijuana as a "novelty," but others might choose to take a ski vacation elsewhere based on the decision, he says.

"Much is being made about very little," he says, mentioning that state marijuana laws remain in effect in Breckenridge.

Mountain towns like Breckenridge and Park City have long been associated with marijuana use, with the counterculture taking root in them starting in the 1970s.

Williams talks about the difficulties that local bars and restaurants encountered as they tried to convince Utah lawmakers to loosen state alcohol regulations, which are some of the most notoriously tight in the nation. There has not been a marijuana movement in Park City with the same influence as the one in Breckenridge. If one starts, it would likely encounter great resistance elsewhere in the state.

Bill Malone, the head of the Park City Chamber/Bureau, anticipates that the change in Breckenridge will not be "the issue that steals market share from anyone else."

"I don't think many of our customers to Park City are choosing where to go based on that one," Malone says.

Source: Salt Lake Tribune (UT)
Author: Jay Hamburger, Park Record
Published: March 14, 2010
Copyright: 2010 The Salt Lake Tribune
Contact: letters@sltrib.com
Website: http://www.sltrib.com/
URL: http://drugsense.org/url/2SB4p0IV

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Comment #4 posted by dongenero on March 15, 2010 at 10:20:21 PT
P.C.
Park City is a great place. Along with Moab, it's kind of a "heathen" enclave in Utah, where you find some hipness, some progressive types.

The conservative, Mormon presence is a very strong overall vibe in Utah though. Quite a few in Utah poke fun at that both privately and publicly.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by nemfo on March 14, 2010 at 21:51:01 PT:

Going to Parkcity
Going to Parkcity and taking my friends.

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #2 posted by John Tyler on March 14, 2010 at 21:02:54 PT
the question is...
When you get down to it, itís about the money. Can they afford Prohibition?

[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #1 posted by The GCW on March 14, 2010 at 20:52:26 PT
The Kingdom of Breckenridge welcomes You
Just got back from Breck.

Don't be so sure. There are more people than imaginable who are tired of cannabis prohibition even if they don't use the plant. They would rather be around like minded hip people than the type in Utah. Yes there are also a small amount of the population which skis -by the way, that would rather be around Utah type thinking people, but the cannabis movement is a positive not a downer. Skiers and snowboarders tend to be anti-prohibiitonist types!

Consider booze. Utah changed their laws to allow booze because they, their ski areas in specific, were clearly in a lose lose situation. It was the Utah ski areas that were instramental in loosening Utah's booze laws. If and when Colorado RE-legalizes cannabis, Utah will be facing the same type losses.

Acknowledgement:

"I don't know that there's a hell of a lot we can do in terms of competing with that," says Mayor Dana Williams, a champion of Park City's tourism industry. "It probably does give them a bit of an advantage."

-0-

Put those 2 ski areas side by side and Park City would go out of business.

Cannabis is coming; not going.

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