With legalization and decriminalization gaining ground in every corner of the globe, it is not surprising that entrepreneurs of the tourism industry see golden opportunities in this promising new market. A thriving business that is still in its infancy, but which seems to quickly lead to new products regarding services and hospitality. Let’s take a short trip around to discover the emerging initiatives that approach cannatourism with more prestige, respect, and notoriety.
Strongly inspired by Airbnb, the concept of "Bud and Breakfast" seems by far the most prosperous at present. Aiming to connect cannatourists and guests with the same spirit, many private properties are available for stays ranging from a weekend to several weeks. A quick tour on the company's website will give you a hint of what is offered: from beach villas in Uruguay to rustic Alaskan chalets, all tastes and types of adventures are met - wherever consumption is legal. Some go as far as to provide pipes, vapor pens, rolling papers, homemade infusions or edible products, even avoiding in some cases having to visit a local dispensary. As for its more popular counterpart, Airbnb has no official company policy regarding cannabis, partly explained by its international operations in areas where cannabis laws vary widely. You won’t be able to refine the search with a ‘cannabis-friendly' filter, which doesn’t prevent some hosts to openly display their allegiances. Ask Google if interested.
Despite the numerous debates that this type of rental raises, it does nonetheless provides a perfect answer to the strict regulations in regards to consumption in public settings. There’s indeed somewhat of a gray area in which tourists have nowhere to take advantage of the cannabis they can yet obtain in all simplicity. This is all the more true as many commercial hotels prohibit the use of cannabis within their walls, making it almost impossible for travelers to enjoy it in a legal framework. In this regard, Nativ Hotel had first built its whole marketing strategy around its cannabis-friendly status - self-proclaimed as the first hotel of this kind - a position on which it was rapidly forced to return, an adjustment that some visitors learned the hard way.
Others have managed to play their cards right by taking advantage of the legislative vagueness surrounding private residences, the most notable example being Bud+Breakfast, a true leader regarding weed hospitality. Although using a similar terminology, the concept refers in this case to the more traditional offerings of Bed and Breakfasts - homestay with morning meal and other services included - with the only difference that cannabis can be consumed in private rooms and common areas. The ceremonial aspect of ganja becomes a pretext for bringing people from different backgrounds together: "Wake & Bake” themed breakfast is served, and a gastronomic snack is available for 420, provided that customers have what it takes to get high.
Apart from the Adagio and the Silverthorne in Denver, the company has also opened CannaCamp, a ranch in the Colorado countryside where the same philosophy is embellished with various outdoor activities. The owners have also shown interest in the Quebec and Canadian markets, and it’ll be interesting to see what position provincial governments take on this matter.
A MYRIAD OF ANIMATIONS
In addition to accommodation, cannabis vacation packages also seem to be gaining in recognition. The offer varies from one company to another but can include educational dispensaries and producer visits to learn about methods and processes of cultivation, edible cooking classes, mountain hikes, art workshops, yoga classes, and cultural visits of any kind. Most offer a welcome airport service, while bus travels provide the opportunity for participants to partake in complete legality.
Although most of them are present in US states that have recently allowed recreational use of cannabis - Colorado Cannabis Tours, Kush Tourism, The Travel Joint, and My420tours to name a few - Canada is no exception and different actors are getting ready to welcome the future legalization. It’s the case for Canada Kush Tours, Canada420tours, and Mtl420, who share the similar mission of offering a variety of tourism products to smoke and experiment in a legal and safe environment.
And since everything seems possible, American Green - one of the largest publicly traded companies in the cannabis market - recently bought a ghost town with the objective to transform it into a full ganja resort. The goal? Make of Nipton, located in a remote area of the Mojave Desert in California and near the Nevada border, a flagship destination for cannabis tourism. Madness or a brilliant idea ... let’s see how the project unfolds once launched.
Nevertheless, and whatever destination you go with, you’re better off doing some research before getting your luggage ready and leave for your next adventure to avoid any unpleasant surprises: social acceptance, public consumption, and legal possession amounts vary as you probably know from one place to another. In Barcelona for example, that many have falsely called the "New Amsterdam" because of the proliferation of cannabis clubs, you will in most of them need to be a member to join the party. To meet the growing demand, Cannabis Barcelona allows you to touch base with some private venues before your arrival in the Catalan region.
In any case, vaping, edibles, and topical products are once again more subtle than smoking and can, therefore, be interesting alternatives to indulge more discreetly. Just make sure you’re not breaking the law to avoid turning your holidays into a living nightmare.
We must, therefore, admit that this type of tourism has today entered a new era with options going on both sides of the spectrum, from the essentials to the most luxurious. An excellent sign for the industry that goes against popular stigmatizing beliefs and caters to users coming from various socioeconomic profiles. As a result, Canada has a lot to gain by standing out from its international counterparts as this sector will continue to prosper as long as prohibition exists elsewhere in the world. An openness that could potentially have the advantage of stimulating its local economies.