Cannabis Tourism: Opportunities, Issues, and Strategies by Enlightn & MMGY Travel Intelligence

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin on a US dollar bills looking through green cannabis leaves.

Interest in Cannabis Tourism is rapidly growing throughout the United States. In November of 2020, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota voted to join Washington, D.C., and 11 other states where recreational use is already legal and cannabis tourism is enticing travelers.

Now that the recreational use of cannabis is legal in Arizona, the door to the burgeoning cannabis tourism market is wide open. To understand the potential of this historic decision to boost tourism in your state, you will find useful data and insights in a groundbreaking new report entitled Cannabis Tourism: Opportunities, Issues and Strategies.

The report was compiled by MMGY Travel Intelligence, the leading source of strategic insight for the travel and tourism industry, and Enlightn Strategies, the most trusted advisor in cannabis-related tourism strategies for destinations.

Cannabis Tourism: Opportunities, Issues, and Strategies contain the results of a survey conducted amongst 1,500 U.S. leisure travelers to determine their interest in and understanding of recreational cannabis-related products, experiences, and services when vacationing.

Did you know…

  • California set a marijuana sales record of $348 million in July, the biggest month since the 2018 rollout of the state’s legal market.
  • Colorado’s marijuana sales reached a state record of $226,374,568 in July; sales have reached over $1.2 billion for 2020 alone.
  • According to New Frontier data, tax revenues from the legal cannabis industry for federal and state governments are projected to reach $4.06 billion in 2025.

Key findings from the survey include:

Other Key Findings:

  • For the cannabis-curious traveler, the option to purchase and consume cannabis, CBD, or hemp legally enhances the appeal of vacation destinations in which this is legal for recreational use for almost half of the respondents.
  • Millennials and GenZers are more open to participating in cannabis-related activities on vacation. They are also willing to spend a larger percentage of their vacation budget on cannabis experiences.
  • Adults open to cannabis-related experiences on vacation are more positive about cannabis generally; the legalization of cannabis for recreational use has increased their interest in learning more.
  • Visiting a dispensary is the cannabis-related activity respondents found most motivational when associated with leisure travel, followed by trying infused edibles or drinks, experiencing a spa treatment with a CBD product, and sampling cannabis in a safe environment.
  • Interest in specific cannabis-related activities varies by generational cohort. Spa treatments are the second most popular activity for Millennials/GenZers, followed by infused edibles or drinks and a tour of a cannabis farm. The second most popular activity for Baby Boomers is the ability to sample cannabis in a safe environment.
  • Colorado and California are by far the most recognized states where the recreational use of cannabis is legal. Awareness of the other states in which the use of cannabis is now legal is significantly lower.
  • Where recreational use of cannabis is both legal and regulated, it is also perceived to be relatively safe. The ability to sample cannabis in a safe environment is appealing.
  • Specific behaviors allowed in destinations where it’s recreational use is legal remains unclear and of concern.
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