Customers wait in line Wednesday morning outside Rocky Mountain Remedies.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Customers wait in line Wednesday morning outside Rocky Mountain Remedies.

Tourists brave a long line to buy first bag of pot in Steamboat Springs

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Recreational marijuana sales arrive in Steamboat Springs

Recreational marijuana sales arrive in Steamboat Springs

— Don Eckelmeyer was upbeat Wednesday when he left Jackson, Wyo., at 3 a.m.

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What’s your take on the future of recreational marijuana in Colorado?

  • It will become the largest growth industry in the state 35%
  • A big hit now, but the thrill will fade 30%
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  • It will help the tourism industry 8%
  • It will drastically hurt the tourism industry 13%

554 total votes.

He then drove more than 300 miles to buy his first legal bag of marijuana here in Steamboat Springs.

“It’s the closest place,” he said.

When he got here, he and his fiance patiently waited in a line of more than 80 people for about two hours to make the purchase at Rocky Mountain Remedies.

“The drive here actually was beautiful,” Eckelmeyer said without any sign of fatigue on his face.

He and his fiance plan to use the marijuana for medicinal purposes.

He said he has a torn right ankle from athletic activities. She gets chronic migraines.

“We can’t get medicinal marijuana back home, so this is the next best thing,” Eckelmeyer said.

They were one of the older couples waiting in line.

Near them, an Alpine Taxi van pulled up to drop off a large group of tourists at the shop on Downhill Drive.

Some were waiting to buy pot just to have a good time. Others wanted it for pain management or to give to a loved one who was dying of cancer.

“I just enjoy it. It makes me feel better,” 22-year-old Frank Rayas said at the front of the line.

But he knew he couldn’t take his purchase back on the flight home to San Marcos, Texas, just as it would be illegal for Eckelmeyer to return to Wyoming with his marijuana.

Wednesday morning marked the start of an unprecedented era of pot sales in Steamboat Springs, and the demand for the product was high right out of the gate, especially among tourists.

The vast majority of the people in line weren’t from Colorado, and their ages ranged from 21 to senior citizens.

Most hailed from Texas and were here for MusicFest or ski vacations. Others were visiting from Maryland, Nebraska, Florida, Tennessee, North Dakota, Wyoming, Kansas, South Carolina, Arkansas, Montana, New York, Illinois and the District of Columbia.

The first bag of recreational pot sold in Steamboat was purchased by 22-year-old Patrick Krenke, of Minnesota.

Reggae music was playing from his Subaru Outback when he and the first group of shoppers arrived at Rocky Mountain Remedies an hour before it opened at 10 a.m.

“How does it feel?” a person in line shouted at him as he walked out with the first bag

of marijuana.

“I’ll feel good in about 20 minutes,” he said with a grin on his face.

Almost all of these people found the marijuana culture in Steamboat to be vastly different from home.

“Back home in Oklahoma, a lot of people are quiet about it,” Lacey Farris, 22, said at the front of the line.

She said she wanted to be part of history.

Only a handful of people at the start of the day were there from Steamboat, and that didn’t surprise Rocky Mountain Remedies co-owner Kevin Fisher, who hasn’t gotten much sleep in recent days while preparing for the store’s opening.

“It seems to be cranking out there,” he said as the line slowly moved forward.

An hour and a half after opening, more than 70 people still were in line.

Two locals passed the time singing songs with a marijuana theme while playing a guitar and the bongos.

Meanwhile, Trevor Ward was busy working in his printing shop, Crown Prints, which borders the new pot shop.

From his storefront, he could see the line growing longer and longer.

Ward said he sees that a lot of good, including sales tax revenue, will come from the business, but he wondered about what impact it would have on this community.

“It is what it is. It’s a legitimate business now,” he said. “But at this time next week will it be this busy? Probably not.”

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210,

email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com

or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210, email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ScottFranz10

Comments

bill schurman 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Guess Joe from Texas is right, the tourists will be gettin' high maybe all the way back to Texas.

1

Phoebe Hackman 6 months, 2 weeks ago

You mean pot is actually ATTRACTING tourists? Gee, how 'bout that ...

2

brian ferguson 6 months, 2 weeks ago

What an absolutely pleasant experience that was....waiting in line at R.M.R. If the morning gondola line were so civilized I might still ride it. Met a bunch of great folks, and possibly some life long friends.(It was a 2 hour wait) One great guy from Missouri needed a place to enjoy his purchase so I invited him to relax at my place. He was worried about his condo's policy on smoking. He didn't want to break any rules and wanted to do things by the book. We talked about his eagerness to learn how to ski and snowboard, his career, and family back home. He chose to come to Steamboat, and not Breckenridge. He had heard of the friendly atmosphere up here, and has not been disappointed. "I love Steamboat, I love this place" he said, as he left on his way to spend money at a local restaurant, and later return to his condo. Tomorrow, one more day of skiing, and then a flight home.

See you next year Mike :)

5

cindy constantine 6 months, 2 weeks ago

love to know how much sales tax was collected for city, county, state at this location today. . .

3

Scott Wedel 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Maybe city government could require that retail pot stores have a 15 minute waiting line for the cultural benefits.

Yeah, I know that sort of idea would appeal to several city council members, but I doubt that, in the end, that it would pass.

0

Thomss Steele 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Only idiots would wait in line. Proves they are already brain dead.

1

Joey Bowman 6 months, 2 weeks ago

,I'm sure you have waited in line before!!! At $100 a 1/4 per person that's $7000 G in the first 2- hours!!!!!!!!!

1

rhys jones 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Often I have to wait until my main guy gets off to score. RMR is even more prohibitive; hour, access, and price considered. Sometimes life sucks.

1

Thomss Steele 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Kid, good point. Although I have never stood in line for anything I could buy cheaper. The money aspect is undeniable. Question to the people who smoke the stuff why not grow your own or buy it for less elsewhere? I understand the tourists wasting their vacation but locals??

0

mark hartless 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Thomass,

For the same reason people carry old newspapers, soda cans, or water bottles across town instead of pitching them in the trash. For the same reason they ignore the detrimental effects of battery-powered automobiles and pay the exorbitant costs.

The reason is that they're brainwashed (you used the term "brain-dead") and they have a crusade to orchestrate. They will go out of their way because it's a cause they wish to champion. And the camaraderie they experience waiting in that line allows them to convince themselves that they are unique, distinct, refined, enlightened.

Fans of marijuana's new-found legality want to get behind it and show solidarity for the new cause.

0

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