Laws and Regulations

If you Legalize it, They Will Come

Cannabis is becoming more widely accepted, and legalized, across the country and the globe. As such, destinations see this new industry as part of their tourism draw to drive revenue and bring in new audiences.

According to market research firm SSRS, 69 percent of Americans are in favor of adult-use legalization, and 92 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing cannabis for medical consumption. As more people in the United States come around to the idea of cannabis legalization, states that have already legalized adult-use cannabis have seen a boom in tax revenue. As of March 2022, the Marijuana Policy Project reports that since 2014, when sales began in Colorado and Washington, states have reported a combined $11.2 billion dollars in tax revenue. This includes $3.2 billion in 2021 alone which highlights the rising popularity of legal cannabis.

As cannabis legalization becomes more mainstream, consumers are looking to enjoy their favorite recreational indulgence, and they’re willing to travel for it. A new study by the Bloomwell Group shares that 80 percent of those who responded said cannabis companies are attractive investment opportunities, and 61 percent said they would invest in European cannabis stock. More interesting, 65 percent of Americans surveyed said they would travel to a city or country to experience its licensed cannabis market.

Due to increased interest in cannabis travel, many destinations across the globe are looking to cash in. Thailand’s narcotics board announced in January its plan to delist cannabis with a THC level below 0.2 percent, becoming the first Asian nation to do so. With this change in legalization, advocates are excited about the potential for the country, especially when it comes to tourism. Ideas range from wellness spas to rural grow farms, all of which have the potential to provide an economic boost. Carl Linn, publisher of a cannabis newsletter in Thailand, envisions cannabis being integrated into the medical and wellness industry, attracting “Silicon Valley types” as they travel for corporate trips.

Likewise, legalization in Canada has sparked up tourism opportunities, with some in the country calling Toronto, Canada’s Amsterdam. “When it comes to cities, Toronto is becoming the epicenter of cannabis tourism in Canada. More and more people are flocking to the city to enjoy cannabis-related events, shop for premium products, eat in munchie-friendly restaurants, and just enjoy the freedom of smoking a joint in one of many of this city’s parks,” Seven Point Cannabis said in a release.

Cannabis tourism is also burgeoning here in the United States with retreats, tours, restaurants, puff and paint experiences, and even an AirBNB-esque website for those looking for 4/20-friendly accommodations. Officials in New Jersey see their newly-legalized industry as similar to the wine industry in California and other areas: a destination for consumers to experience their favorite products.

As legalization becomes more prominent across the country and the globe, destinations are looking to integrate the cannabis industry into their tourism planning and cash in on it.

About the author

Nic Bell, Sparkloft Media