As Nevada considers legalizing recreational marijuana and Las Vegas salivates over potential profits from sales to tourists, cannatourism — regardless of the destination — is rapidly growing as a market. What was originally an expensive trip to Amsterdam or Vancouver has become a drive or flight to California, Washington, or Colorado.
Colorado is currently the epicenter of everything cannabis after having legalized recreational use in 2014. During the past 17 months, literally thousands of small businesses have appeared within the state to cultivate, manufacture, and sell cannabis and related products.
But what about the poor souls in states lacking legalization of any kind? In most areas of the United States, the kind herb is still outlawed and all activity regarding its sale or consumption remains underground, purposefully hidden due to prohibition. This situation has spawned the emergence of a thriving marijuana-friendly tourism and hospitality market in states where it is legal. Colorado is home to a growing assortment of cannabis-themed hotels, lodges, tours, and services.
How to Get Around?
While United Airlines might not allow passengers to burn one down during the flight from their home state, tourists can rest assured that they can toke (or vape) up from the time they land to the time they return to the airport to leave the Centennial State.
First, tourists who are going to be getting high shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car. That’s where 420 Airport Pickup steps in. For $75, the service picks up passengers at Denver International Airport, makes a stop at a dispensary, and then deposits riders at their hotel. The service will even rent vaporizers to customers who book a round trip. Patients can be fully medicated before they even check into their room.
Where to Stay?
Cannabis-friendly hotels and lodges have begun to appear throughout Colorado. One credible option is Bud + Breakfast, a new group of hotels and lodges in the Denver area. The company currently offers two properties, The Adagio and Silverthorne.
The Adagio is a six-suite Victorian home (photo above), while Silverthorne (photo below) is a lodge featuring four suites. Both locations allow guests to smoke up — but encourage them to do so in public areas of the facilities, not locked up in their rooms like criminals. In addition to their “wake and bake breakfast sessions,” both hotels also hold a “420 Happy Hour.”
Joel Schneider, CEO of the Maryjane Group, Inc., which owns Bud + Breakfast, stated:
“We create a social experience for our guests. We insist that they smoke in the common areas, such as the living rooms, dining room, and the outdoor patio. We want our guests to feel at home and experience cannabis together.”
Rooms at The Adagio run $179 to $399, while those at Silverthorne are more affordable at $149 to $199. Potential guests shouldn’t fear being surrounded by twentysomethings smoking blunts and listening to rap music. In fact, CEO Schneider said that most of the two hotels’ guests are in their early 50s to early 60s.
What to Do?
Colorado is nothing if not some of the most beautiful country in the United States. Those who want to get out of the city and see the great outdoors should check out one of the Club CannaBus Tours. These five-hour bus tours, priced at $250 per person, include some of Colorado’s most gorgeous mountain scenery, stops at two of the area’s most reputable dispensaries, a visit to the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, and a smoke-out — at an undisclosed location — at 4:20 pm. Cruise participants can choose from either northern or southern mountain tours (the southern tour reaches an elevation of two miles).
Many who visit Colorado — and the Denver area in particular — are interested in the dispensary and shop scene. Those from prohibitionist states often can’t visit enough retail outlets, their minds blown each time they swing the door of a legal business that just so happens to sell cannabis and edibles.
Enter Colorado Cannabis Tours. The service offers a 420-friendly limo, makes a stop at the infamous Cheba Hut sub shop, visits two or three dispensaries, attends a glass blowing demo, and even drops in on a 40,000 square foot cultivation facility. The company also encourages its customers to swap cannabis samples with one other. Tours run from noon to 4:20 each Saturday and tickets are only $99.
Fans of the cannabis culture who wish to openly consume with likeminded others don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a week in Amsterdam or Barcelona. An entirely different world — and an affordable vacation — is a short flight away in Denver, complete with cannabis-friendly limos, hotels, and tours.
This post was originally published on May 15, 2015, it was updated on October 5, 2017.