A News Consumer Travel — 26 June 2016

As the entire cannabis industry comes out from the shadows of the economy one of the industries flourishing more is marijuana related tourism. Under the new conditions seems that any cannabis related activity is a good investment opportunity. Tourist flow towards the states where is legal to buy and consume cannabis for recreational use has increased.

Now that the numbers of the cannabis industry profits become more clear, It makes absolute sense realizing how the decriminalization is attracting visitors to the “Free Cannabis States” and how much money is involved. A nice example comes from the search results announced by the search engine of Hotels.com. In one year only Denver hotel searches went up 73%, particularly during the days of the Marijuana festival in April.

There seems to be some serious evidence here that suggests that the availability of marijuana is having a positive impact on tourism. What is happening is that tourists from around the world are booking trips to Colorado to get stoned legally.

FIGHT THE PAIN Visa Prepaid Card Ad 3 V1Marijuana tourism has become very popular the last years. Recreational marijuana use is now legal in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia. It has been legalized for medicinal use in 25 states and the District of Columbia, where it is used to treat pain, nausea and other conditions; Other states are standing on the line watching the developments and prepare to proceed to market themselves to marijuana tourists.  Although the Law allows cannabis consumption in some states, marijuana is still a taboo for a large part of the society and is somehow considered a new product for many people willing to travel to Washington in order to live the cannabis experience.

In Colorado retail sales of recreational marijuana became legal Jan. 1, 2014. Marijuana is playing a starring role in Colorado’s tourism and new entrepreneurs are offering high services.

A study commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office shows legal weed as one of the major reasons for trips to Colorado.

Entrepreneurs see investment opportunities to the travel industry, but there might be complications as the market is still unstable considering that selling, possessing and using marijuana is illegal under federal law. Federal law classifies cannabis as an illegal substance, but the Obama administration has allowed the enforcement to the states.

The marijuana friendly states are slowly becoming small Amsterdams and they offer a big variety of products, from good old-fashioned weed sampling to sophisticated concentrates and stylish vaporizers. Many tourist say that even  a simple tour around the city while being “high” it makes the experience unforgettable. There are 22 million marijuana-smoking Americans, and only a few states offering legal recreational highs, It is obvious that people will go there.

Cannabis tour operators offer guided experiences like Dispensary & Grow tour and several small businesses are introducing the travelers to different strains of cannabis and their properties. New ways to combine the legal high with other activities appear every day. Small seminars on the effects of the famous cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Moreover, the Marijuana Savvy guides explain to the tourists the possibilities to get high and educate people about what they are consuming and how to do that:  smoking and vaping methods, what is dabs, and how are cannabis edibles made.

There are plenty of cannabis related niches that are popping up in Denver and Seattle: For example the so-called “420-friendly” lodgings that allow the use of marijuana on their premises, hotels, ski resorts, restaurants,  marijuana spa retreats, you name it. Cannabis cooking workshops are offered also.

Another part of the story is that Colorado collected more than $135 million in taxes from marijuana sales in 2015. A nice amount of that, about $35 million, will be given to school infrastructure projects. Some say in Colorado that 50-60 percent of recreational marijuana revenue comes from tourism.

Although the state authorities were dubious in the beginning about liberating cannabis use, now they welcome the new industry and the money from the taxed cannabis products which is about 10 percent. Washington is expecting to get $51.2 million in revenue between 2015 and 2017.

What is the biggest surprise of all, is the fact that Colorado’s grand experiment with legalizing marijuana hasn’t resulted in a social chaos as many people feared. According to federal data, has led to a decrease in crimes related to drug substances instead.


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