Visitors entering fellow pro-cannabis state of Colorado as cannabis travelers, “spent more and stayed longer in cannabis tourism destinations”, said California Cannabis Tourism Association (CCTA) Founder & Executive Director, Brian Applegarth, in a recent online event discussing the future of cannabis tourism in California. The seemingly older and smarter sister state further showed the potential of a wine country of weed here in California, reporting that cannabis tourism brought in over a billion dollars in revenue in a single month last year. With the right cannabis branding, cannabis tourism companies similar to those offering 420 tours can replicate the vineyard model with cannabis farms.
Clearly, there can be economic advantages to cannabis tourism, yet some still wonder if cannabis can replicate the vineyard model in California? Especially in a post-COVID-19 world.
Those in the know say yes, it’s just a matter of when California becomes the wine country of weed, and that licensed California cannabis farms should be especially hopeful due to ecosystems built on biodiversity and regenerative agriculture that can be marketed to consumers in the same way as yes, wine
Can Weed Be the New Wine in California?
When able to gather as a group again, many regulated cannabis farms and ancillary businesses like bud and breakfasts, cannabis lounges and cannabis tour companies like MedTours LA, who have felt the impact of COVID-19 restrictions, can’t wait to revitalize this for-now paused industry and land of opportunity.
Sadly, the 420 tourism industry remains paused due to the pandemic, yet many still envision a California where cannabis tourism companies and legacy farms are able to successfully replicate the vineyard model. This world could promote travelers being able to interact with both the plant and the farmers, in more educational, social and empowering ways. Plus, who wouldn’t want to sign up for a day of adult cannabis use with friends the likes of a visit to a vineyard?
What is Cannabis Tourism?
Originally, cannabis tourism was by necessity, not for fun. Medical cannabis patients, known as “medical refugees” had to cross state lines in order to get medicine, often risking being arrested in the process. Today, cannabis tourism is understood as an industry with massive potential that invites guests from all over to visit adult-use cannabis states for cannabis-infused experiences.
While there will always be a medicinal element to visitors buying their legal cannabis in California, many believe that recreational and educational cannabis tourists will continue to replace the ailing patients of the past with exciting 420 tours.
Because of all the legality loopholes and because many were coming to California to learn, purchase and consume regulated cannabis, cannabis tourism became a viable market full of professionals eager to share the cannabis experience with 420 tourists. From wellness businesses and retreats to cannabis dispensary tours, hell, there’s even a Bud and Bloom — a tour specially curated for the aging community!
Covid-19 and its Impact on Cannabis Tourism
It’s no secret that California’s 420 tourism market has taken a massive hit! Businesses across America continue to struggle due to COVID-19, with some even being forced to close their doors for good, all while the cannabis market saw an increase of over 150% in retail cannabis revenue! Cannabis being deemed an “essential business”, the likes of gas stations and pharmacies in response to COVID-19, sure helped retail and supply-chain businesses, California cannabis tourism businesses haven’t been as lucky.
Cannabis tourism businesses will go on and with legislative feats, even during covid, remember cannabis won in 2020 and Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 67 into law in October 2020, opening the door for cannabis cultivators to market their products by the region. A potential cannabis branding strength for many boutique and generation farms in California who began to lose brand awareness from larger, more modernized cannabis business people entered the scene.
Where Can I Look For 420 Tour Opportunities?
The CCTA, founded in 2017, serves to “promote the development of safe and responsible cannabis tourism, unify the cannabis and tourism industries, and advocate for an enabling regulatory environment and promoting best practices in this space”, so they may be a good place to start!
Founded just a year before California’s deadline to implement recreational consumption laws passed in 2016 which allowed anyone 21 years of age and older to legally purchase and consume cannabis in what’s commonly referred to as the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Prop 64, the CCTA advocates for engagement, education and empowerment through cannabis tourism.
Stay in the Know
As the US continues to move to decriminalize cannabis, stay in the know with CannaCon, the nation’s leading business-to-business cannabis conference. We feature stories and information about cannabis branding, news, industries like 420 tours and more. Upcoming expo dates include Feb. 12-13 in Chicago, April 2-3 in Detroit and May 27-28 in Oklahoma City. The goal of the CannaCon organization is to grow the cannabis industry via the education of cannabis business owners on all things related to cannabis and CBD. Exhibitors from around the country and seminars delivered by industry experts are impactful features of the CannaCon trade shows.