As Americans Resume Travel, Cannabis Tourism Is Expected to Boom
About a third of vacationers polled say they interest in weed-related activities.
The summer tourism season is in full swing, as cabin-fevered Americans from coast to coast are taking to the skies and the roadways once again.
One of the differences between this summer and summer's past? The prevalence of legal cannabis. In fact, visitors to states where adult-use cannabis is legal - there are 17 of them, plus the District of Columbia - might find themselves surprised at how ubiquitous cannabis has become.
That's good news not only for cannabis tourism but overall tourism, according to the Cannabis Travel Association (CTA). In a 2020 report on cannabis tourism, they wrote that "cannabis tourism stimulates the overall tourism economy. And, unlike competing with events, hotels, and restaurants, cannabis acts as an enhancer, assisting visitors in making the very most of their experiences."
According to a survey of Americans, about 29 percent of travelers are interested in cannabis-related activities while on vacation. As for destinations, California, Nevada, Colorado, Alaska, and Washington top the list of the states that travelers want to visit where adult-use weed is legal.
Related: Can I Take Marijuana on a Plane?
Not everyone is happy
Cannabis is so everywhere this summer that the New York Times made it the subject of a travel story. Interestingly, much of the article is spent on comments from travelers who are not amused. One said they had no idea Nevada had made cannabis legal even though it's been sold there since July 2017.
"We smelled it everywhere," she said. Another said it's "not very fair" that she could smell cannabis at her hotel in Arizona.
But amid such complaints, one young woman told the Times she took a cannabis tour in Las Vegas as part of a birthday celebration. It included a guide in four-inch pink stilettos, a "raucous" van tour of the Strip, consumption of "multiple cannabis products," a gift bag full of decorative bongs, and "at one point, a grandmother unable to speak without bursting into uncontrollable laughter."
The young woman called it "a perfect celebration."
Younger travelers are starting to dominate the vacation market
The woman celebrating her 21-year-old birthday party with a cannabis tour is not a surprise. The CTA survey found younger travelers more open to cannabis-related experiences than older travelers. Research also shows that Millennials travel more than other generations.
That's good combination for the cannabis travel business and has led to an expansion of options. Lonely Planet, the popular travel site, recently listed some of the best cannabis tours and experiences in the U.S. They include the beautiful Multnomah Falls Tour in Portland, Oregon; the Puff, Pass and Paint art classes and tours in 13 cities nationwide; the Cannabis Supper Club in Los Angeles; and bud & breakfast locations around the country (including Hicksville Pine Bud & Breakfast in the San Jacinto Mountains in California.)
Traditional hotels have noticed. A recent column on an industry website Hospitality Net argued that "hotels simply can't afford not taking notice of opportunities in the fast-expanding cannabis market." Hotels that currently do not allow cannabis may change as local laws allow them more leeway and attracting cannabis users becomes more lucrative.