Recreational marijuana use became legal in Colorado on Jan. 1, 2014. New companies have begun providing "cannibis tours" in anticipation of the expected tourism boom.

Legal Marijuana Era Dawns in Colorado

Several companies already are operating recreational marijuana tours. The state's ski industry may benefit from more tourists this year, as well.

The era of legal recreational marijuana use has begun in Colorado, with a limited number of businesses licensed to begin sales on Jan. 1, 2014. Experts say the available legal supply will not be sufficient to meet expected demand, at least initially, and they predict the drug's legal status will cause tourism to the state to spike during its busy 2013-2014 ski season.

The Denver Post created a new website named The Cannabist to cover developments in the nascent industry. Early coverage includes information for workers and employers about the state's legalization legislation, which allows employers to discipline or terminate workers for testing positive, even if their marijuana use was done while off the job. It remains illegal to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or marijuana and to carry marijuana across state lines. What is legal is for adults over 21 to buy it and use it privately.

Several companies already offer recreational marijuana tours, and some experts believe the marijuana tourism business eventually could rival the state's ski industry.

The Drug & Alcohol Testing Industry Association's 2014 conference will take place in adjacent Arizona. How Colorado employers are coping with the law's effects is sure to be a hot topic during the May 28-30 event at the Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa in Phoenix, with at least two sessions on the agenda devoted to states' drug testing laws and the effect of marijuana legalization on the drug testing industry generally.

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