Are you likely to consider legal cannabis when planning your next trip? How many travelers are positively influenced by the prospect of legal cannabis in a destination?
A survey done by New Frontier Data looks to figure that out. The 2017 Cannabis Attitudes Survey states that of 1,671 people surveyed, 22% said legal cannabis would make them more interested in visiting a state. Of that 22%, 88% said they would buy cannabis from a local dispensary.
The legal cannabis markets these respondents were most interested were Colorado (61%), California (59%), Washington (37%), Oregon (36%) and Nevada (36%).
The cannabis industry experienced a truly watershed moment during the 2016 election, in which 8 states voted to legalize or decriminalize cannabis. Those states included Adult Use legalization in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine and decriminalization of cannabis in Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota.
This drastically expanded the opportunity for travelers to and within the United States to experience a legal cannabis market.
Cannabis Friendly Destinations
One fact that often gets overlooked is that, with these ballot initiatives passing, five of the top ten destinations in the United States for international travelers now have some form of legal cannabis laws.
Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Boston, and Washington, D.C., attract more than 13.9 million international visitors per year, according to a report by New Frontier Data.
Millions of people every year traveling to one of these destinations will be able to experience, first-hand, what a legal cannabis market looks like.
What does this mean for the cannabis industry itself? The industry should be excited by the added demand canna-tourism could bring. But, with that added demand comes responsibility.
Many of these travelers will be experiencing legal pot for the very first time. They won’t be familiar with how a legal cannabis system works or with all the new products on the market. Companies and those who work in the cannabis industry should feel a level of responsibility in making sure these travelers have a great experience. A bad experience could mean a bad reputation for legal weed.
It will be important for everyone in the industry, from budtenders to processors to testing labs, to make sure every single customer is educated on products, dosing and consumption methods. It will also be up to local governments to create educational campaigns around legal weed.
In Colorado, the “Good To Know” campaign seeks to educate cannabis consumers, especially those coming in contact with legal cannabis for the first time. These types of educational campaigns, that cover everything from talking to your kids about pot, to going slow when it comes to edibles and local consumption laws, will be vitally important to those visiting legal states for the first time.
Canna-tourism provides an excellent opportunity for the cannabis industry to shine a light on exactly what legal cannabis really looks like. If the industry does a good job of that, tourists will leave with at least a safe, and positive experience, and at most encouragement to push for legalization laws back home.