The citizens of Breckenridge have long been progressive in their views toward marijuana. As early as 1994, the Town of Breckenridge was among the first in the nation to recognize the value of medical marijuana by voting to decriminalize it. Marijuana for personal recreational use was decriminalized by Breckenridge voters in 2009 by a significant margin (71% for). This is well before the people of Colorado voted to legalize marijuana in 2012 via Amendment 64 to the State Constitution, which became effective January 1, 2014, a full 20 years after Breckenridge’s first vote.
Doug Malkan was the leader of the original medical marijuana movement in Breckenridge. “It was a humanitarian effort for me,” Doug said recently. “The most vulnerable people in our society – those with severe pain, cancer, glaucoma – were being targeted. There were people in our own community who were being jailed and losing their homes to government seizure. The science on the medical benefits of cannabis was becoming well established by the 1990’s. Yet the use of marijuana for medical benefits was not a defense.”
At this point in the article, I’m going to switch to the term “cannabis” to describe marijuana, pot, weed, whatever you want to call it. Cannabis is a neutral term referring to the Latin name of the plant, and lacks the pejorative connotations of the common names for cannabis.
When cannabis for personal recreational use became legal in Colorado on January 1, 2014, several Breckenridge dispensaries were ready for business. Today, Breckenridge has 4 dispensaries, all located on Airport Road at the far north end of town, away from the downtown business core and popular tourist areas. The Town’s Free Ride bus system goes to Airport Road and you can access any of the dispensaries via the Yellow Route.
Know the Rules
The rules on personal cannabis use in Colorado are fairly well known by now, but here’s a quick summary:
- You must be at least 21 years of age to possess recreational cannabis.
- Possession of amounts larger than 1 ounce is still illegal, and one ounce is the maximum that you can buy at any dispensary.
- Cannabis cannot be consumed in any public place including streets, parks, bars, restaurants or any Federal land.
- It is illegal to take cannabis out of Colorado.
Play It Safe
When I asked the Breckenridge Police Department what information they want our visitors to know, they mentioned two main concerns:
Safe Operation of Motor Vehicles: Don’t underestimate your ability to drive while under the influence of cannabis. According to Assistant Chief of Police and drug detection expert Nicola Erb, cannabis divides your attention and slows reaction time.
Go Easy on the Edibles, says Police Chief Dennis McLaughlin: Observe portion size and dosing instructions. It can take 60-90 minutes to notice the effects of edible cannabis, so don’t take more just because you don’t “feel it” after a half-hour or so. Everyone’s metabolism is different. Most edibles are packaged in 10 gram portions. Start with 5 to 10 grams and wait.
Types of Cannabis
The choices in a typical dispensary can be overwhelming. Do you want flower, edibles, concentrates, or a salve for therapeutic use?
Flower: The green stuff that comes directly from the plant. The leaves are trimmed leaving the more potent flower. Can be smoked or vaporized.
Edibles: The psychoactive ingredient in cannabis (THC) is extracted and cooked into various forms including chocolates, granola, beverages, and candies.
Concentrates: Hash, oils, wax, shatter, and more. These have a higher concentration of THC and require a special device to consume.
Topicals: Most dispensaries continue to carry therapeutic forms of cannabis including creams for sore muscles, potions for personal lubrication use, and other topicals.
For more information on cannabis in Breckenridge, as well as suggestions on types and strains of cannabis, visit one of the four dispensaries located in Town:
Alpenglow Botanicals, 1805 Airport Road, 970-389-6839
Breckenridge Organic Therapy, 1900 Airport Road, Unit A1, 970-453-0420
Green Dragon, 1795 Airport Road, #A3, 970 453-4900
Organix, 1795 Airport Road, Unit A2, 970-453-1340
Leigh Girvin is a member of the Breckenridge Liquor and Marijuana Licensing Authority, an appointment by the Breckenridge Town Council.