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Reports Show Cannabis Tourism Industry Valued at $17 Billion

According to reports, the cannabis tourism market is valued at $17billion and may grow quickly after COVID. This report was featured in ForbesIt was found that half of the millennials consider adult-use cannabis access important for travel plans. And that 43% choose legalization as a reason to visit a particular destination.

Victor Pinho (founder of Emerald Farm Tours) believes cannabis tourism holds a lot potential. “They’re tourists and they’re shopping—they are here to spend money in the mecca of weed,” he told Forbes of his business, which is located in Northern California. According to him, tour participants often spend between $300 and $400 when visiting dispensaries. This is more than what the average adult-use user would pay.

In 2016, MMGY Travel Intelligence reported that “the net impact on consumers’ decision to travel to states with legalized cannabis use was minimal.” However, an MMGY study conducted in 2020 stated that 18% of American travelers were interested in cannabis experiences while traveling. The percentage of people who would like to experience cannabis while traveling increases to 62% when the data is reduced to only include those over 21 and have an income of at least $50,000.

ForbesAccording to estimates, $4.5 Billion of the $22.5 billion in cannabis sales revenue for 2021 was related to cannabis tourism.

There are nearly twenty states which have legalized adult use. This makes it easier to promote cannabis-related tourism. States such as Colorado, which was the first state to legalize recreational consumption in 2014, has a strong reputation of adult-use consumption that doesn’t require marketing. The Colorado Tourism Office only offers a little advice on safety and consumption, and doesn’t currently have any specific data in regards to cannabis-related tourism. “Cannabis is not one of the major drivers in terms of tourism to our state, compared to categories like outdoor recreation,” the office told Forbes.

Other states are beginning to see cannabis tourists as a new type of tourist. The Cannabis Travel Association International reports that the gender breakdown of cannabis tourists is quite balanced. 63% are younger than millennials, 59% have college degrees, 82% have an annual income of $87,000, and 59% have a job.

Brian Applegarth founded the Cannabis Travel Association International. According to him, the rising interest in cannabis tourism is due to the increasing number of older millennials. “By 2025, 50% of travelers in the U.S. are going to be millennials,” said Applegarth. “And their relationship to cannabis consumption is extremely normalized compared to the stigmatized industry leaders of today.”

Many states have begun to promote and boost their marijuana offerings in an effort to recover funds lost from decreased travel at the peak of the pandemic. Todd Aaronson (CEO of Visit Modesto) sees cannabis travellers as tourists just as other tourists. Aaronson joined Applegarth in 2021 to launch the MoTown CannaPass. This allows tourists to discover local cannabis entertainment and food. “We wanted the opportunity to say, ‘Hey, if cannabis is your thing, and you’re here, we have retail shops that are legal.’ And we have experiences that you can enjoy no differently than if you went to a brewpub or wine bar,” Aaronson said. “They’re all equally regulated. Each visitor should be assigned a driver. All visitors are welcome. Leave your money here.” He also shared that there was a notable 11% boost in traffic to local dispensaries when the CannaPass went live.

Even though Amsterdam and other countries are trying to stop cannabis tourism, North America continues to be a popular legal destination. Attractions such as cannabis-related historic tours, various Airbnb or Bed and Breakfast locations, fascinating museums, and countless adult-use dispensaries to explore, there’s a lot of potential to look forward to. Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont even recently advertised his state’s many offeringsThis includes the country song “The Country Song”, which talks about everything, from gambling online to marijuana consumption.