Cannabis Tourism, New Industry on the Go
Legalization of Marijuana
Legalization of Marijuana
As more states legalize the recreational use of marijuana, those states’ tourism industries are waking up to a very real possibility: cannabis tourism. While the industry is still very new in the United States, Amsterdam had long been on the bucket-list as a destination for many a pot smoker. There’s no reason why states where recreational use is legal couldn’t offer similar travel packages.
The First Steps of Cannabis Tourism
Here’s how it works in the Netherlands. Contrary to popular belief, cannabis is actually still illegal in Amsterdam. However, a 1976 law permitting low-level possession gave rise to the cannabis-coffee shop. The country now has 600 of these cannabis bars where small amounts of marijuana are sold to smoke on the premises.
The majority of the customers of these coffee shops are, you guessed it, tourists rather than native to Amsterdam. Despite the occasional social disruption from people partaking of too much and acting poorly, the local authorities are loathe to repeal the laws that gave rise to the industry. The reason is that the tourists pour a lot of money into the local economy.
The same can happen in states like Washington and Colorado, who legalized marijuana just a couple of years ago. In Colorado, the pot tourism industry is still in its infancy. A majority of the problem is that, although cannabis is legal, city and state officials and tourism boards are reluctant to promote weed as a tourist attraction.
It’s not just the local authorities either. Many of Colorado’s hotels will quote their strict no-smoking policies when asked about smoking marijuana inside, even if you use a vaporizer. That doesn’t mean that tours are not occurring. Marijuana-themed tours of Denver and Seattle continue to fill up and sell out. Whether you are a cannabis connoisseur or a marijuana newbie, there is something in both cities for such a tourist.
420 Tours on the Rise
My 420 Tours, which was founded by Matt Brown and James Walker, wanted to keep the tours more real. The kind of tours that you’d take if you had a good friend in town to show you what was up.
They offer a four-hour dispensary and grow tour, which starts at about $129. Tourists are loaded onto a tour bus with conveniently tinted windows – and occasionally – the bus fills with marijuana smoke. Visits to a dispensary where discounted ganja can be purchased are also included in the tour.
Out-of-towners can buy up to a quarter-ounce of marijuana at a time, but edibles are more popular than flowers because of the novelty.
If you have $1,000, you can book a tour that includes a two-hour cannabis-infused cooking class. Accommodations at the Denver Crowne Plaza Hotel and a Silver Surfer vaporizer on loan are also included in the tour cost.
Looking towards Seattle, the tourism leader is Kush Tourism, founded by Chase Nobles and Michael Gordon. $150 gets you a three-hour walk that has various stops focused on education. Stops include a growing facility, a testing lab, and a glass-blowing school where beginner classes are offered. Another stop is Uncle Ike’s, a popular local pot shop.
Cannabis Perception Worldwide
Heading back outside the U.S., there are a few places that do not prosecute cannabis. Barcelona, Spain is being touted by industry gurus as the “New Amsterdam” due to the proliferation of cannabis clubs. However, there’s a catch. Most all of these marijuana clubs are members only, so you may have to make arrangements to join. Cannabis Barcelona can hook you up, though, providing you with everything that you will need to smoke out like a local when you arrive.
Be Informed Before Traveling with Cannabis
One thing to keep in mind whether traveling within U.S. borders or internationally is to become familiar with the laws, both local and international. Cannabis may be completely legal or decriminalized at a state or local government level, but can still be very illegal nationally or federally. This can be a concern in the U.S. when traveling aboard planes, trains, and other modes of transportation. Airports and train stations can be considered federal property, where if caught, you could face stiff federal penalties for cannabis possession.
Also, keep in mind that states surrounding legal states where pot is still criminalized often set up border checkpoints. They often employ dogs trained to sniff out marijuana of all types – oils, waxes, edibles, and buds. Attempting to take your acquisitions over state lines can result in serious charges, so do so at your own risk.
It is best to thoroughly research the legalities prior to your departure to your cannabis-themed vacation. This way, you are aware of how much you can legally purchase and where you can legally consume your buds.
With more states legalizing marijuana, the cannabis-tourism industry is sure to explode in the future, at least until every state legalizes it. Whether you are just looking for some quaint tours of coffee-cannabis houses or want to tour a full growing facility, there is bound to be something for everyone, especially as this new industry begins to expand.
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