A wave of recreational and medical cannabis legalization has witnessed the emergence of a cannabis travel industry. Interest in countries, states, and cities, where it is legal to purchase and consume cannabis makes these places attractive cannabis travel destinations. Traveling to engage in and enjoy cannabis in various forms has become a real and growing trend in the travel industry. Anyone that doesn’t live in any of the places where cannabis is illegal has a new reason to travel. From cannabis retreats, art classes, to tours, tourist-friendly cannabis vacation spots are more accessible and are changing the way people travel.
Cannabis Travel Destinations
In the U.S, so far, nine states (Washington State, Vermont, Oregon, Colorado, California, Nevada, Alaska, Maine, Massachusetts) and the District of Columbia (DC) have legalized recreational marijuana, while cannabis has been legalized for medical use in thirty states and DC. Legalization of cannabis varies in degree from state to state, but each offers something different, catering to cannabis enthusiasts and/or those who need the medical benefits of cannabis.
Colorado, which can be regarded as the pioneer of the marijuana tourism industry, legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, and since then, a strong cannabis culture has emerged in the state, where there are cannabis tours, educational courses, “bud and breakfasts” lodging, as well as airport transportation services that drive travelers to retail marijuana dispensaries before a drop-off at their hotel. One advantage that Colorado has is that it doesn’t limit legalized recreational consumption only to residents, but also extends that privilege to tourists. This is not to say that Colorado doesn’t have restrictions because it does, like cannabis not being permitted at the Denver International Airport and smoking marijuana is not prohibited in various places of lodging.
- Amsterdam and Jamaica
Amsterdam and Jamaica are two cannabis-friendly destinations, where travelers can explore and indulge in cannabis. In the Netherlands, cannabis is illegal, yet, tolerated by lawmakers, who authorize the possession of 5g or less. Travelers can visit the friendly coffee shops of Amsterdam, which has been exempted from enforcing the Weed Pass, established to prevent non-Dutch nationals from visiting coffee shops. These coffee shops are known for the menus featuring different marijuana options and pre-rolled joints. In Amsterdam, travelers on vacation can add the Hash, Marihuana & Hemp Museum, the Cannabis College, or a city cannabis tour on their itinerary.
Just recently, in 2015, Jamaica decriminalized recreational cannabis use, but possession of up to 2 ounces or 56 grams of marijuana carries a penalty. Still, there are certain perks for travelers, for instance, visitors who have an ailment or a medical marijuana ID card or doctor’s recommendation from their home country can purchase a permit that grants them the opportunity to buy marijuana from a special medical marijuana shop or straight from a grower.
People travel to places because of something that attracts them, and in the realm of cannabis tourism, there are notable opportunities to enjoy cannabis.
- Cannabis retreat: Cannabis Retreat in Malibu, California, for example, is a great way to explore cannabis
- Cannabis Tours: Colorado offers numerous opportunities for cannabis tours, with operators like Colorado Cannabis Tours, My 420 Tours, Loopr, and in California, where you can roll with the CannaBus.
- Cannabis-friendly art classes: If puffing on a joint and painting are your thing, Denver, Washington D.C. and Portland and Oregon are great places to visit.
- Cannabis-pairings: Travel to Colorado, where you can pair food, wine and cannabis in a place like Cultivating Spirits.
The growing cannabis trend has created a new niche in the travel and tourism sector. Whether it’s for medical or recreational purposes, cannabis is changing the way people travel. Visiting a cannabis-friendly destination for education, exploration, consumption, or good fun is an exciting, new travel option.