Marijuana Tourism May Become Increasingly Common in California

There are a lot of reasons to make California a vacation destination. Now, the newest it seems is recreational cannabis. airplane

On the West Coast, we now have California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Nevada that allow recreational marijuana. The only other places allow it are Alaska, Washington D.C., Massachusetts and Maine. For people who live in all the states in between, most are limited to recreational marijuana access, if they have it at all. It’s anticipated that legal marijuana is going to be a major driver of tourism to these states in the coming years.

This has resulted in a number of ancillary cannabis businesses, including travel agencies booking “tours” of various dispensaries and must-see sites. Travel research company MMGY Global reports that while overall travel to California didn’t surge much right after the election, it did spike 23 percent when looking at just Millennials. It also increased notably among households that earned $100,000 or more – presumably because they had more discretionary income to spontaneously make that trip. But others could be planning a trip for the coming months or years. 

A few companies have crafted their entire business model around cannabis-centric travel. For example, Colorado Highlife Tours offers full service, cannabis-friendly tours – and that’s all they offer. On average, these tours are estimated to cost consumers about $1,100. Although stiff competition in Colorado forced several of these companies to shutter, we may see another boom now, particularly in California and Nevada.

Travel agents looking to carve out a niche should consult with an experienced L.A. marijuana business attorney who can help them craft a business model that will comply with all regulatory guidelines and requirements. This is especially important amid the election of a more conservative federal government, particularly with Sen. Jeff Sessions as the U.S. attorney general. It’s possible these ancillary businesses may find themselves at risk, though not as much as those directly handling, processing or distributing the drug.

A big question mark is whether the government is going to entrust states with more authority in these matters, in which case cannabis tourism is likely to soar.

Other business models have included so-called “bud-and-breakfast” hotels, at which some entrepreneurs anywhere from $300 to $400 a night.

Meanwhile, those who are on a “weed vacation” need to make sure they are abiding by state laws and being cautious too. For example, while state law in Colorado gives those from out-of-state the green light to buy up to one ounce of flower at a given time, that’s actually a substantial amount of marijuana, particularly when the average potency of pot in that state is about 19 percent THC. A lot of the substance ends up being abandoned with Uber drivers or in rental car parking lots. Other issues include users who get too high, underestimate the edibles or aren’t discrete. Visitors must remember that they are still responsible to make sure they don’t get behind the wheel impaired and also that they could be ticketed for public intoxication or consuming the drug in public. In each of these scenarios, those who were arrested or cited should consult with an attorney to discuss how to avoid the episode becoming a permanent mark on the defendant’s record.

The Los Angeles CANNABIS LAW Group represents growers, dispensaries, collectives, patients and those facing marijuana charges. Call us at 714-937-2050.

Additional Resources:

Will Cannabis Travel Flourish As More States Legalize? Jan. 18, 2017, By Richard D’Ambrosio, TravelMarketReport.com

More Blog Entries:

Has Your Cannabis Dispensary Staff Received Adequate Training? Dec. 31, 2016, L.A. Marijuana Lawyer Blog