The questionable reasons why Colorado Tourism Office won't advertise marijuana
Colorado has not a gram of weed.
Not a single blunt.
Not one vape pen.
At least, not according to the people paid to lure tourists here.
The website for the Colorado Tourism Office is a portfolio of beauty, from the vertical San Juans to the creeks of Golden.
But on the site for the state-funded organization, Colorado.com, there's not a single mention of the plant Colorado is most famous for, the psychoactive drug that lifted the state into the "trending" category of the world.
Like a kid at dinner with his fussy aunt, the tourism office is not allowed to mention pot.
This is due to the law that made cannabis legal, Amendment 64, which says that, "To advertise on the Internet, retail marijuana establishments must have reliable evidence that no more than 30 percent of the audience is expected to be under the age of 21.
"The Colorado Tourism Office does not have sufficient evidence about the age of its website users, hence would possibly be aiding retail marijuana establishments in violating this regulation," the office said in an emailed statement.
This excuse seems like watered-down Vietnamese pho: weak sauce.
What are the chances that more than 30 percent of the audience looking at a tourism website are under 21? Do high school kids spend a lot of time planning vacations? Do college kids, dudes who can't even afford pizza, plot out-of-state trips? "Hey guys, wanna road trip?" "Sure! Let's ask the Colorado Tourism Office for fun ideas!"
The tourism office doesn't seem that interested in pot anyway.
"If marijuana is legalized under federal law, then we can explore the pros and cons of marketing marijuana, but this is not something we are thinking about at this time given, it is illegal," said tourism office spokesperson Carly Holbrook.
Fifteen percent of tourists here do a "marijuana-related activity," according to data provided by the tourism office, and 5 percent said it was a motivation to come.
Colorado is no longer the center of the marijuana world. That's California now. According to the tourism office, pot was never even a blip on the radar screen, not a dot on the map, not a roadside attraction in a state full of mountains, rivers and not a single pot plant.