The Denver County Fair is canceling its planned beer pavilion in it’s 21-and-older section and doubling the size of its pot pavilion.
This marks the first time in which newly legal marijuana will take center stage over Colorado’s famed craft beer industry.
The pot pavilion — where no actual pot will be allowed, either as plants or in its ready-to-use recreational form — will feature a variety of marijuana competitions, including speed joint-rolling contests, ribbons for best plants, and honors given for best homemade bong and best pot-brownie recipe.
Coloradans legalized marijuana for adult consumption and possession in 2012, but retail sales of the still-federally-banned drug only went into effect in January. The new law still bans marijuana display or consumption in public places.
This will be the third time the Denver County Fair has featured a pot pavilion, but it will be larger than ever this year during the August 1-3 event. It has steadily increased in popularity to the point where it’s now the fair’s headlining attraction.
But fair attendees will still be able to buy and sample Colorado’s showcase beers — just not at its own dedicated pavilion. Denver magazine Westword said the beer section was axed because of issues with the liquor license at the National Western Complex where the event is to be held, not because pot is being given more limelight.
There’s little denying, however, that marijuana is proving popular throughout the state. For the first three months pot sales were legal, Colorado netted $7.3 million in tax revenue from recreational sales alone. Factoring sales of medical marijuana, the figure is more than $12 million.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, who seems genuinely stung every time a late-night comedian cracks a joke about Colorado and marijuana, admitted on Thursday that legalizing it hasn’t had a negative impact on the business climate.
“I’ve talked to a fair number of out-of-town CEOs that have operations here and want to expand them or are looking at moving a company here,” Hickenlooper said on Colorado Public Radio. “They don’t see it as a workforce problem or an image problem.”
That jibs with the majority of respondents to an April poll by Quinnipiac University, in which 52-38 percent of people said legalizing marijuana has been good for the state.
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