Public use of marijuana problems are leveling off |

Public use of marijuana problems are leveling off

Melanie Wong

VAIL — As more recreational marijuana dispensaries opened up in the area, some authorities and residents thought the problem of public smoking would become an increasingly visible problem. Instead, according to police and resort records, incidents of public consumption have not shown any significant increase over last year.

In Vail, the town has strict rules against using marijuana in public areas, and use is prohibited on the ski resorts, which is on federal U.S. Forest Service land. So far, there are no retail recreational marijuana stores in Vail, which has put a temporary moratorium on the businesses since retail shops became legal.

Fewer than 20 Citations so Far

The Vail Police Department issued 19 public consumption citations so far this year, compared to 15 in 2013. The majority of those were issued in Vail Village and Lionshead Village. The citation in Vail results in a ticket that usually costs around $200 and a summons to court.

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The Eagle County Sheriffs Office and Vail Mountain both also reported that they haven’t experienced any increase in public use problems.

“With the legalization back at the beginning of the year, you’d think the incidences would be pretty high, but I think they’re not because we’ve been writing those tickets and gotten the word out that it’s not OK,” said Office Justin Dill, of the Vail Police Department.

The town of Vail has a page on its site dedicated to answer common questions about Colorado marijuana law. In addition, the town has produced the information in postcard form, which are distributed to local lodges and on Vail Mountain.

Dill said it’s hard to say if the town of Vail is experiencing more or fewer public use instances than other mountain towns.

“Breckenridge has a much more lenient approach to the whole thing, and the council here has been extending the moratorium, so policies vary a lot town to town,” he said. “Our focus is to keep Vail as a destination resort that’s family friendly, and we’ve taken a pretty strong stance against it.”

Assistant Managing Editor Melanie Wong can be reached at 970-748-2927 and at Follow her on Twitter @mwongvail.

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