Police chief says ‘minimal problems’ during 1st week of pot sales in Steamboat
Steamboat Springs — While it has garnered a significant amount of publicity, police said the first week of recreational marijuana sales in Steamboat Springs has gone smoothly.
“Minimal problems thus far,” Police Chief Joel Rae said Tuesday.
Rocky Mountain Remedies opened for recreational sales Jan. 8, and it remains the only place to legally purchase recreational pot in Steamboat. Co-owner Kevin Fisher said the business is staying busy, and the customers are happy.
“We were surprised just how strong the demand for cannabis is,” Fisher said.
On opening day, there was a steady two-hour line coming out of RMR. Fisher said it was similar on the second day, and customers this week still are having to wait to make their purchases.
About 230 people made purchases on the first day, but Fisher would not say how many customers there were during the first week of sales.
“We’re doing fine on inventory,” Fisher said.
He said about 80 percent of the customers were visitors, and 20 percent were local residents. The marijuana-infused edibles are proving to be very popular.
“When you’re from out-of-state, that’s certainly the new thing to try,” Fisher said.
They also may be popular because consuming them is less blatant than the more traditional ways of consuming pot.
Fisher said customers are trying to educate themselves about Colorado’s new pot laws.
“We’ve been working really hard to help people know where they can’t consume,” Fisher said. “That’s a common question.”
Police Capt. Jerry Stabile provided some straightforward advice Tuesday.
“Don’t smoke in public,” Stabile said. “You get a ticket.”
The ticket comes with a mandatory court appearance, and Rae said the judge can fine individuals as much as $999 for violating the public marijuana consumption laws.
Since sales started in Steamboat, police have not issued any public consumption tickets. Rae said a ticket was issued to a person a couple of days before RMR’s recreational sales began. He said the person was smoking on the bridge crossing the Yampa River near Eighth Street.
Denver police have been citing about one person per day for public consumption, The Denver Post reported. Denver also saw a problem-free start to marijuana sales, and the big crowds lining up to buy pot were well-behaved.
When asked whether there had been any noticeable impacts since recreational marijuana sales began in Steamboat, Rae said there were some parking issues in the area of Downhill Drive where RMR is located.
“I don’t really know of any other issues that have come up with it,” Rae said.
There have yet to be any arrests for people driving while stoned.
Police last week gave tickets to two Colorado Mountain College students for possession of marijuana. It still is illegal for anyone younger than 21 to possess or purchase marijuana for recreational use.
Stabile did not think the two tickets were indicative of an increasing trend.
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