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Tourism Office Temporarily Removes Cannabis Hospitality Listings

Just a few months afterreported that the Colorado Tourism Office was finally listing cannabis hospitality businesses, the pot lounges and tour services have been removed from the colorado.com website According to the Tourism Office , the removal is only temporary as it works with the Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division and state Cannabis Business Office to “update the cannabis section of the Colorado.com website to ensure consistency across state agencies.”We plan to publish revised guidelines and opportunities on the Colorado.com website. Affected businesses are being notified and will also be notified when the new guidelines are published,” adds Tourism Office communications manager Hayes Norris.The listings were taken down earlier this month, according to Colorado Cannabis Tours owner Michael Eymer, whose pot-friendly tour service was licensed and approved to hit the road last year. Although Eymer and other business owners were at first skeptical about why their listings were removed, the state agencies insist that cannabis hospitality information will return soon.”We are working with the Colorado Tourism Office (CTO) to help them revamp their cannabis hospitality webpage to help consumers distinguish licensed marijuana hospitality businesses from other tourism opportunities,” MED communications manager Heather Draper says. “The Marijuana Enforcement Division will be emailing licensed marijuana hospitality businesses to inform them of the opportunity to be listed on the CTO site and will provide them with CTO contact information. We hope to do that within the next week or so.”According to the Tourism Office, applications for new pot hospitality listings will be open in time for qualified businesses to appear on the website by April 20, or 4/20 , the unofficial cannabis holiday. While none of the state agencies specified what the new guidelines would entail, the Tourism Office’s previous approach did have a couple of small inconsistencies.Although recreational cannabis sales have been legal in Colorado for over ten years, the CTO was slow to embrace or even acknowledge the plant’s ability to attract visitors. As recently as 2022, the state’s official tourism website didn’t include legal cannabis events on its list of things to do in Colorado — even though the site lists breweries, wineries, casinos and gaming activities.According to cannabis tour service owner Sarah Woodson, the CTO reached out to her in 2023 in hopes of listing her mobile pot lounge once it was licensed. Her service, the Cannabis Experience , was the first mobile cannabis lounge licensed at the state and city level; Colorado Cannabis Tours followed shortly after. Along with those businesses, two additional weed-friendly outfits were listed on the website: Speak Easy Vape Lounge, a Colorado Springs pot lounge that closed last year, and an unlicensed private bed-and-breakfast in Morrison.Getting listed with the Colorado Tourism Office doesn’t cost money, but it does require that business owners and organizations apply online and “verify you are part of the tourism industry,” according to the form.A state law creating a licensing system for pot-friendly venues and tour services was implemented in 2020, but fewer than eight licensed businesses are currently operating in Colorado, with virtually all of them located in the Denver area. The Coffee Joint , Denver’s only licensed and operating pot-friendly venue, wasn’t listed on the tourism website, and neither was JAD’s Mile High Smoke in Adams County, the state’s only licensed cannabis bar.According to research funded by the CTO, 6.2 percent of Colorado tourists said legal pot was one of the main reasons they visited the state in 2018, while over 15 percent of travelers said they planned to visit a dispensary during their visit.Since Colorado became the first state to legalize adult-use pot in 2012, 23 states — sixteen of them since 2018 — have legalized recreational cannabis, as have Washington, D.C., and Canada. As a result, dispensary owners in Colorado have reported a significant drop in tourist-driven revenue and overall sales.

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