1. Be careful with our edibles.
There is a science behind the dosage on edible cannabis products. Eat too much and your peaceful buzz can quickly turn into a paranoid nightmare. Companies like Mary’s Medicinals have developed supposed ‘rescue remedy’ drinks for the event of becoming too high. I tried one and still found myself in the shower piercing my head with cold water for 20 minutes, trying to calm down. At this point, it remains largely up to the user to keep their head straight.
2. Be prepared to take some shit if you decide to move here.
Our state is projected to grow by 100,000 people this year. 100,000. Not only that, the population is expected to double to 12 million by 2050. The Douglas County housing boom in the 90s brought with it the rapid development of one of the nation’s ugliest suburbs. Rent and home prices in Denver and around the state increase so rapidly year over year that many Coloradans have become increasingly leery of transplants — so much so that bumper stickers donning sarcastic phrases such as ‘No Vacancy’ are becoming common.
3. Plan your transportation into the mountains ahead of time.
Denver’s a big city, and our airport is located on the opposite side of town from the hills. If access to a car isn’t a luxury you find yourself with, you’re going to have to do some advance research. There are some buses to get to the major ski resorts and tourist destinations, but during peak tourism season these options can book out quickly.
On weekends, traffic can back up quite a bit heading into and from the mountains. Getting on the road early in the morning will save you the headache of being stuck in the skier gridlock that is I-70.
4. Read up on marijuana policies and consumption laws.
It is legal to buy and possess cannabis, but it is illegal to consume it in a public place. Private cannabis clubs are beginning to pop up, but face severe legal and regulatory challenges and most don’t tend to last very long. There are also marijuana tours that visitors can sign up for, which include shuttling to the store (called a dispensary) and typically some pot-friendly activities like a themed gourmet meal. If cannabis is the main focus of your trip these tours can be a great option because consumption is allowed in the chartered vehicles. Be prepared to shell out some bucks.
Consumption is not allowed in private vehicles on public roads or parking lots, in bars, walking down the street, at concerts, etc. Not that it never happens, but don’t be that guy that gets busted lighting up a joint on a park bench at the wrong time. To legally buy or consume, you must be at least 21 years old, and dispensaries are fool-proofed when it comes to identification, so have your ID out and ready.
5. Leave your stoner cliches at home.
Us Colorado residents do not care for the stereotypical dope-hungry reputation often associated with pot smokers. Walking around like Jim Breur’s character in Half Baked will get you laughed right out of the dispensary. Legalization passed largely because of heavy taxation providing financial benefit for public schooling. Pot activism in Colorado is all about the medicinal benefits and freedom to recreate how one chooses. As hipster as it might sound, Colorado’s cannabis community considers itself far removed from most any negative connotation associated with marijuana.
6. There is much more to Colorado than Denver.
And there is much more to the Colorado mountains than I-70. Great mountain towns, camping, national parks, and other awesomeness is scattered throughout this rectangular state and you are missing out if all you see are the towns just off the highway.
Many activities in Colorado are based around being outdoors as much as possible. If you aren’t an outdoorsy person you may have a tough time getting on with people in Colorado because a good deal of their stories, highlights, and time are spent in the mountains or otherwise outside. Denver’s weekend warriors hit the road on Friday after work to get in on the action. Please don’t come here if all you want to do is sit around.
7. There’s no shame in taking a ski or snowboard lesson.
The worst thing you can do if you’ve never been on the hill before is just jump on the lift with your friends and head to the top. You’re not going to just ‘figure it out,’ you are going to have a miserable time and annoy the hell out of everyone around you. The instructors at ski areas are there for a reason — to make sure you learn while still having a blast learning to ski or snowboard. Believe me, the craft beer in the lodge tastes much better if you actually enjoyed your day on the mountain.
And please try to keep the ridiculous questions like ‘Where do you put the moguls in the summer’ to a minimum.
8. Chill out.
One trait that Coloradans from all over the state take much pride in is our casualness. Overdressing is a great way to stick out as a tourist. In the mountain towns and small communities, people know each other and may spend a moment catching up while you wait in line. If you come into a situation hot headed and start running your mouth, everyone around will be uncomfortable. Driving on someone’s ass or stressing about that beer you ordered five minutes ago is not going to make you any friends around here.
The same attitude is applied to weather. A popular saying in Colorado is ‘If you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes.’ If we discounted all of the days that it rained briefly in the afternoon or snowed an inch or two then cleared up, there is no way Colorado would reach it’s fabled 300 days of sunshine each year.
You’re in Colorado, loosen up.