A recent government report suggests a startling fact. There may be those in Aspen and other resort towns who smoke pot. (Everybody gasp now. OK, now everybody start coughing.)
OK, that’s not exactly what the report says. Actually, it’s information gathered by the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy that lists places in the country where people are most likely to flunk workplace marijuana tests. Not surprisingly, Aspen, with its famously tolerant stance on stoners, placed (I can’t avoid it) high on the list.
Actually, it was low-key Crested Butte (or is that “Chronic Bud?”) that led the pack. At least, I think it did. I can’t quite remember. Yeah, I think that’s right.
But, says the Rocky Mountain News, which broke this shocking tale, even an official admits the sample sizes from tiny Rocky Mountain hamlets, could be skewing the results.
“In Crested Butte, for instance,” writes Joanne Kelley, “only six people flunked a drug test, but the area still landed at the top of the heap for positive pot tests because just 153 tests were included in the report.”
This writer suspects other tests were instead used for rolling papers.
According to the report, seven zip code areas in Colorado exceeded the national average, including those that include the resort areas of Crested Butte, Aspen, Vail and Steamboat Springs.
“The resort area tends to attract people that would more likely be occasional drug users,” Karen Vallecillo, human resources director for Aspen’s posh St. Regis Hotel, told the News.
Still, it was a good excuse for the News to get a shot on the cover of the business section of a Snowmass Village resident toking out of an apple by her tie-dye-wearing friend. And there was Aspen’s sheriff, the tolerant Bob Braudis, appearing (but not smoking) at a “high tea” in support of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Where else? At Owl Farm, former home of gonzo journalist and drug champion Hunter S. Thompson.
But the high times may be a-changin’ in Aspen. Recently, the Aspen Police Department got in hot water with the sheriff’s office for conducting a workplace raid in search of drugs without letting Braudis know about it. For years, the very idea of undercover operations like the one that led to the raid were strictly taboo. But the incident created a rift in the community between those who like the old policy and those tired of looking the other way.
Nevertheless, Police Chief Loren Ryerson echoed the old Aspen mantra, don’t toke and tell.
“If people feel they must smoke marijuana,” he told the Rocky Mountain News, “don’t invite us to the party by doing it in public or by creating a disorderly circumstance.”