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Marijuana tourism growing along with concerns

11:37 AM, Dec 28, 2013   |    comments
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KUSA - Pot tourism companies say business is booming, but that comes with concerns about whether travelers will follow the rules.

With the green light for recreational marijuana in Colorado, marijuana tourism businesses are cashing in by helping out-of-towners navigate the state's growing cannabis culture.

"My phone rings constantly, all day," said Peter Johnson, owner of Denver-based Colorado Green Tours. "My email box is so full; I don't even know where to begin."

He and other pot tourism businesses told 9NEWS that the clientele is from all over the country and the world, but perhaps not exactly who you'd expect.

"Most surprising thing is, most of our clients are baby boomers, 50 to 60 and older," Johnson said.

"It's a much older clientele, "said Rocco Jershkobich, owner of 420 Bus Tours. "You've got your lawyers and doctors. People you wouldn't assume smoke marijuana."

Jershkobich already owned a limo service and said he saw an opportunity to expand to include pot tours. He said he's done a few already and expects to be operating at full capacity by February.

He said for $20-$50 per person, people will travel to glass-blowing shops, grow facilities, dispensaries and Denver landmarks.

He says he's been contacted by Denver and ski area hotels that hope to make connections so his guests will stay with them.

"A good percentage of the people who are going to come here are also going to get some skiing in. [Hotels] wanted to set something like that up with us," Jershkobich said.

However, ski resorts want to remind visitors that it's not okay to light up on the slopes.

Jenn Rudolph, spokesperson for the industry group Colorado Ski USA, said people who smoke in lift lines or on the slopes will be prosecuted. Forest Service officials say the citation costs a minimum of $250, according to our news partners at The Coloradoan.

Airports are preparing too.

Denver International Airport said starting this weekend, it's posting signs letting travelers know it's illegal to use, carry or transport pot at the airport. Spokesperson Stacey Stegman says a civil penalty from the airport could cost up to a thousand dollars and law enforcement would decide on criminal charges.

Jershkobich says his business will follow every inch of the law and help customers do the same. He said the first stop on his tour will be the law firm of Christian Sederberg, one of the attorneys who wrote Amendment 64, to give travelers a thorough rundown of what's allowed.

(KUSA-TV © 2013 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)

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