Couple standing in a field of cannabis plants in Colorado. (photo via iStock/Getty E+/Jeremy Poland)
Just as there’s a whole tourism niche for oenophiles who have their hearts set on experiencing premier wine-producing regions, learning about their process and sampling their products, it seems the industry seeing the rise of a similar special-interest segment that caters to cannabis consumers.
Over the past couple of decades, attitudes towards marijuana have evolved, with the herb gaining legitimacy in the public eye as a prescribed treatment for various medical conditions (it’s difficult to demonize the substance that septuagenarian grandmas smoke daily).
From there, responsible recreational use of cannabis by adults has become less and less stigmatized, while state governments have begun to realize they’re sitting on an untapped resource in terms of tax revenue.
While it’s still technically illegal at the federal level, individual U.S. states are increasingly decriminalizing the sale and use of weed, with medical marijuana now being permitted in over 35 states, and 18 states have also legalized recreational marijuana and are steadily reaping the rewards. It’s even looking like several more states might do the same by the end of the year.
With legality and regulations varying vastly across state lines, sometimes even from city to city, it only makes sense that Americans would be willing to travel for cannabis-based experiences. A niche tourism market was bound to arise, and it’s already becoming too big to be ignored by the broader travel and hospitality sector for long. Forbes reported that cannabis tourism in the U.S. is already a $17 billion industry and could make a massive contribution to the country’s $1.2 trillion overall tourism economy.
The budding cannabis tourism industry sees plenty of travelers planning trips to those destinations that offer more than just the end product or novel dispensaries. As with tourists who head for wine-growing regions—where there are vineyard tours, wine education, tasting rooms and even whole resorts set within wineries—a significant number of vacationers are heading to ganja-growing meccas to get the whole experience.
With its Mediterranean climate and fertile soil, California has already been informally labeled “America’s bud basket”, with cannabis being one among many of the crops supported by the state’s agricultural areas. Modesto is among the Golden State destinations that have embraced the growing tourism trend, welcoming over-21 visitors, from “canna-seurs” to the “canna-curious”, to partake of herb-influenced offerings throughout the city.
To Read The Rest Of This Article By Laurie Baratti on Travel Pulse
Published: May 30, 2022
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News