We knew that certain segments of the travel and hospitality industries were cannabis friendly prior to the start of the COVID pandemic. Today however, the travel sector is being more than friendly. Everyone from hotel owners to tour operators is actively looking to cash in on cannabis. Cannabis travel is now a legitimate enterprise.
A survey taken just prior to the start of the COVID pandemic revealed that roughly 29% of America’s leisure travelers identified as cannabis-motivated travelers. The number has jumped to 37% since then. Given how much travel itself has exploded over the last year or so, it is not unreasonable to believe that we could approach 50% in another 12 to 18 months.
Cannabis Friendly Operators
As the industry sees it, there are two ways to approach cannabis travel. The first is to be cannabis friendly. In other words, you might have a hotel operator that actively markets to the cannabis crowd by saying they and their plants are welcome on site.
Being cannabis friendly is a strong marketing position throughout travel and hospitality. Hotel operators could obviously cater to the cannabis crowd. But so can restaurants, bars, nightclubs, and any number of tourist attractions.
Cannabis Specific Operators
The other way to approach cannabis tourism is to run a cannabis-specific operation. This is to say that your enterprise is more than just friendly; it attempts to create an environment that would be purposely chosen by cannabis tourists while simultaneously being avoided by people who have no interest in cannabis.
Under such an environment, a typical bed and breakfast becomes a ‘bud and breakfast’. The hotel that would normally stock its bar full of wines and spirits might also keep a good supply of weed. Guests would be invited to bring their own cannabis, buy from the hotel, or have a local dispensary deliver directly to their rooms.
Then there are cannabis tours. They are starting to take off in California. Like wine tasting tours, guests attending a cannabis tour get to see a growing operation and sample some of its more popular products.
Only in Recreational States
It goes without saying that cannabis travel is limited to states with recreational marijuana laws on the book. You may find plenty of cannabis friendly hotels and bud tours in California, but you will not find any in Utah.
Utah state law prohibits recreational cannabis consumption. Furthermore, all medical cannabis consumed in the state must be grown, processed, and sold by state-licensed operators. Even medical cannabis delivery is tightly regulated. The rules make it all but impossible to offer any kind of cannabis-related travel or hospitality in the Beehive State.
On a separate note, out-of-state guests can still use medical cannabis in the state, according to the folks behind Beehive Farmacy. They say guests must obtain a visitor’s medical cannabis card prior to arrival. It is good for 30 days and allows out-of-state guests to buy medical cannabis from any state-licensed pharmacy. However, guests cannot have products delivered to their hotels.
All Hands On Deck
For the recreational cannabis industry, it is all hands on deck where cannabis travel is concerned. Also known as cannabis tourism, it is one of the hottest things in tourism right now. That’s not surprising, given that 39% of all US travelers are interested in cannabis.
In all likelihood, cannabis travel is a fad that will grow for a time, peak, and then level off. There should be a steady market for it in the long term. No wonder so many in the travel industry are looking to cash in.