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Post-Election 'Haze' for the Travel Industry?

marijuana

The election has only been over for a few days, and so far there have been no reports of disappointed Romney voters booking, en masse, one-way airline tickets to Canada.

That said, there may still be a post-election windfall coming to the travel industry, at least for two U.S. destinations: Washington and Colorado, which both passed ballot measures legalizing recreational marijuana, and possibly opened the doors wide for mary-jane-seeking tourists.

Will Denver and Seattle become the Amsterdams of the U.S.? Given the timeframe for implementing the law—at least a year—and possible deal-breakers related to federal laws, Colorado's governor warned supporters not to "break out the Cheetos or goldfish too quickly." Likewise, the state tourism board echoed that it could not comment on the amendment's possible impact on tourism, given the "uncertainties and issues to be resolved." Some local travel pros, however, have started speculating about a spike in pot-influenced eateries (not for mere pot brownies, mind you, but "infused edibles.")

Meanwhile, in Seattle, Tom Waithe, the Director of Operations for Kimpton Hotels in the Northwest, says that he is not too worried about the potential for "stoner tourism" marring the city's reputation. "There is a long way to go before you can pick up marijuana at the corner store," he says.

But Jake Haupert, CEO of Washington tour operator Evergreen Escapes, remains cautiously hopeful. "It's a delicate matter," he says, "but I did have my fingers crossed that it would pass. It could be great for attracting more visitors to the state."

Photo by istockphoto.com

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