Associate Editor

Recreational marijuana may now officially be legal in California and Nevada, but Tahoe-area resorts are confident this won’t change patrons’ behavior much on the slopes.

The Inertia

January 1st marks an important day for weed enthusiasts in California and Nevada. Back in 2016 voters in both states moved to make recreational consumption of the drug legal. And legislators decided that the first of the year in 2018 would be the day dispensaries could legally begin to sell cannabis products.

According to the Reno Gazette Journal, though, ski resorts in the Tahoe area that straddle the California/Nevada state line are prepared to promptly deal with any and all recreational users trying to light up on lifts or runs.

“It really shouldn’t change much of anything. Legalizing marijuana is not an invitation to come to the ski resort and smoke marijuana,” Michael Reitzell, spokesman for California Ski Industry Association, told the Reno Gazette Journal. “For some reason, people think outdoors sports are different than other sports. Would you smoke pot and play basketball or any other sport where you could really injure yourself if you weren’t sharp? You can take breaks, you can hang out, and maybe it has something to do with après-ski. It can wait.”

Even with the changes in state law, the nuances of the regulatory change still make it illegal smoke on the slopes. For one, both in Nevada and in California consumption is only allowed in a private residence. And because most ski resorts in the country are at least partially on federal land, and weed still exists in a weird purgatory where it’s illegal at the federal level, smoking at a resort located in a weed-friendly state can still get you into trouble.


Mike Pierce, spokesman for Mt. Rose Ski Tahoe, says the resort’s posture toward weed hasn’t changed much with changes in the law, nor are there new efforts to educate patrons. “As far as taking increased steps and actively educating people, no, we haven’t really done that,” he told the Reno Gazette Journal. “We have a bar on sight, but we don’t actively go out and tell people don’t go skiing if you’ve had this many drinks. You’re responsible for your own actions.”

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