A Climber’s Guide To Getting High in Colorado


4/19/14 - Let’s start this guide by being clear that we practice and promote smart, sober climbing. But when the day is done, we also know that climbers are no strangers to a good time. Hello Stone Masters! And in case you’ve been living under a rock, weed is now legal to consume in Colorado for recreational purposes. Maybe this won’t change the nature of what goes on around your campfire, but the options have certainly grown. Whether you live and climb here or are just visiting, here are some guidelines to America’s new Pot Capital.


Who can get it? Just like with alcohol, you have to be 21 or older to buy weed at a recreational shop You don’t even have to be from Colorado! But if you are resident, you can buy more. One ounce of the sticky icky for locals. A quarter-ounce for visitors. You can also grow up to six plants in your home, so long they are in an enclosed and locked area (not your garden, in other words). And no matter where you’re from, it’s illegal to possess more than one once. Once you get the green, it’s totally fine to share with your 21+ friends. It’s legal as long as no money was exchanged.

Alright, now where can I get it?


Photo: neontommy/Flickr.

There are only so many stores open right now, and most of them are in Denver. But across the state, 160 are looking to be licensed and open in 2014. Some counties have banned the recreational stores, though. You won’t find shops in places like:

‣ Craig ‣ Colorado Springs ‣ Estes Park ‣ Greely ‣ Gunnison

• Get the full list of what’s open and what’s not at: weedmaps.com/colorado-recreational-marijuana• When planning to buy, bring cash! The majority of dispensaries do not accept credit cards, though some stores are   experimenting with bitcoin transactions.• Shops cannot open before 8 a.m. and must close before midnight.• Some shops now even have vending machines!

Where can I smoke it?• Bottom line: No smoking in public. This includes but is not limited to parks, trails, restaurants, sidewalks, the street… Essentially anywhere open to the general public.• Toking up on federal property is also illegal; that means national parks are technically no-toke zones.• You cannot smoke in campgrounds or parks, which are considered public and open to everyone. Yes, that designated campsite is considered public. This doesn’t mean we haven’t seen plenty of hikers sneaking off-trail or climbers in large dispersed camping areas toking. Use your discretion, but know that anywhere and everywhere considered public is illegal.• You’re free to light up in your house or in your buddy’s house, however, as long as the owner of said private property say it’s 420 friendly.• An increasing number of hotels and shuttle services are marijuana-friendly, too.


Photo: scubabrett22/Flickr.

What do climbers have to say on the issue?“Pot isn't something that's ever been that difficult to find and people will smoke if they're going to smoke. My opinion is that the legalization of such won't affect the sport in a negative way whatsoever. Further, different strains have a different effect on the user, and being able to select what sort of strains you find you respond best to is a good thing, I believe, as opposed to smoking whatever it is you're able to scrounge up.” —Aly Nicklas, CO

“I’m the kind of person who doesn’t care about climbers smoking, just as long as it’s not directly underneath my project while I’m working on it. Being considerate with these laws is a huge thing for me. If you want to smoke while you climb, step away just in case it bothers someone around you.” —Brennah Rosenthal, CO

“I don't smoke and I have no interest in it at all. But I also think that it's completely ridiculous for weed to be illegal, but alcohol and tobacco not to be. I think they should all be legal and taxed. Take some strain off the judicial system at least. No point in locking people up for taking a drug that's less potent than what people get in bars every night.” —Alex Honnold, CA

“I'm all for the legalization of pot in Colorado. More tax revenue for the state and more law enforcement energy (hopefully) allocated to greater crimes. Sounds great to me. I've never been too keen on pot myself, but in my experience of peers it is not a terribly harmful substance like our antiquated laws make it out to be. It has clear medical benefits, and has been shown to be far less addictive than alcohol or tobacco. This issue is a no brainer for me personally. The only downside is that maybe Colorado crags will suddenly get a new rush of tourism. I'm guessing we'll see even longer lines under classics in Eldo, Rifle, and RMNP. On a side note, I don't condone the use of pot while climbing, but I don't condone drinking while climbing either, and I hate cigarettes at the cliff. I doubt smoking and climbing will become any kind of serious issue.” —Jonathon Siegrist, CO

"I believe that the Colorado laws will have a detrimental effect on the climbing population, not because climbers will be able to smoke pot legally, but I am worried that the legalization will impact safety and awareness at the crags. Personally, I do not climb with people who smoke and are responsible for belaying me. Nor do I like bouldering with people who smoke, because I am concerned about their attentiveness. If I am pulling a crux move 10 feet up with a sketchy landing, the last thing on my mind should be the degree to which my spotter is paying attention. We are fortunate to live in a state that provides us with both freedoms of the hills and freedom with ourselves. That being said, keep the new found freedom at home, or once you've reached the safety of solid ground." —Erik Allsopp, CO

"While sale and possession is legal in CO, consumption in public is not. People will still spark up just like they've always cracked a PBR on the tailgate after cragging, but both are technically illegal. Be discreet, be courteous (not around children or folks who ask you not to), be safe and be a steward wherever you're climbing (pack it in and pack it out)." —Paul Creme, CO


Photo: dankdepot/Flickr.

What about edibles?• All things weed in Colorado are legal, including edibles. In fact, in some places, the edible goods being produced could rival high-end culinary bakeries and shops. These include:

‣ Dixie Elixirs—a cannabis infused line of carbonated beverages to quench your thirst in more ways that one. They come in tantalizing flavors such as grapefruit, peach, red currant, and sarsaparilla. ‣ Cheeba Chews—gluten and peanut free hash chocolate taffies that are consistent in their potency and deliciousness. ‣ Sweetstone Candy—a company that makes gourmet marijuana candies like chocolate, gummies, and hard candy. ‣ Mountain Medicine—a bakery that sells award winning goodies like their blueberry pie bars and almond joy chocolates.

• Stores even sell marijuana butter and oil, if you’ve got your own recipes handy.• here are other pot products on the market like lotions, balms and even bath soaks.

And how about those vapes?• Vaporizers are devices (some as small as a marker) that heat the bud just enough for the chemicals to boil and vaporize without incinerating the plant. You then inhale this vapor. These still fall under the “not in public” directive.• However, “possessing, using, displaying, purchasing, or transporting marijuana accessories” is legal.

Can I get a DUI?• It’s illegal to drive and have more than five nanograms of active THC in your blood, and if you’re caught, yes, you’ll get a DUI. What’s more, if you refuse the blood test, you could lose your license for a year.• Since THC affects individuals differently, here’s a quick self-test: If you look too high to drive, and if you act too high to drive, you’re too high to drive!

If I’m a visitor, can I take weed home with me?• No. Colorado airports have actually installed “amnesty boxes” where you can deposit your forgotten weed before going through TSA.• You cannot cross state lines with marijuana in your possession.• It is also illegal to mail it to yourself. Nice try, though.• Bottom line: Buy here, consume here.

For more info, reviews on certain strains, or a even good recipe check out these links:Hightimes.com – What started out as a magazine in the 1970s is now entirely digital with recipes, reviews, and marijuana news.Cannabist.com – A Denver-run site following all things cannabis related.Norml.org – The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws provides current info on the legal situation of pot across the country.Weedmaps.com – Find medical or recreational shops near you.

Climbers, what do you think of all this? Does legal weed make you want to move to Colorado? Or move away from Colorado? Tell us what you think of The Centennial State's growing cannabis culture in the comments.