With the road to legalization in the United States on the cusp of major breakthroughs. Such as the DEA’s announcement to reclassify marijuana to a schedule 2 drug. November 2016 is an exciting time for states such as Nevada, California, Arizona, and Maine as cannabis legalization is almost a guaranteed victory.
Then these states can join the already booming cannabis tourism industries.
Cannabis Tourism has attracted thousands of eager cannabis enthusiasts to states where its recreational status has been legalized. States such as Colorado and Washington to name just a few. The states have seen astronomically high (just like its tourists), boosts to tourism due to the legalization of recreational marijuana. A study commissioned by the Colorado Tourism office found that legal weed is a “growing motivator” for trips to Colorado almost 50% of the time.
Not only that, but a record 71.3 million visitors spent $18.6 billion in Colorado in 2014. Marking a high point for the state’s thriving tourism industry. The cannabis tourism industry is immensely popular as most of the state residents don’t regularly partake in smoking marijuana.
Only 23% of Colorado’s population smokes cannabis regularly. Whereas tourists make up 90% of the sales in mountain resort community dispensaries.
Clearly the pot tourism industry is a lucrative one and come November some states will be able to reap these benefits. Nevada and California being two of the most closely watched states.
“We are far outstripping the national average at getting our share of guests into Colorado,” said Al White, director of the Colorado Tourism Office.
Due to the popularity of cannabis tourism it has created such a wide variety of activities you can plan. Thus enhancing the experiences of the visitors.
This boost in cannabis tourism has made the industry flourish. Where you can now do anything from sleep in a cozy room while someone brings your choice of food and bud at a “Bud and Breakfast”. Too “Puff, Pass, and Paint” classes where you relax by enjoying finely selected bud to refine your artistic abilities.
Cultivating this variety in the cannabis tourism industry gives tourists the ability to do completely different activities. And allowing those that seek it, the ability to spice up their itineraries. This could possibly even be a motivating factor to return. Since if you missed the 4:20 tour by Bobby you could instead pick to go on the 710 tour with Ronny. You might feel compelled to come back to visit and try whatever you missed.
Most of these ideas are pretty radical to think about. Especially from someone who lives in a state where it’s not legal but still partakes regularly.
The inability for stoners to smoke in illegal states is such a hindrance on daily life. I dream of the day where I can take an art class. Just light up as if it were a part of the regularly scheduled activities. But until that day I shall stick to my days of smoking in the comfort of my own home. While still worrying if the neighbors are going to complain.
Dispensaries – Something No One Should Take for Granted
The lengths through which stoners go through in order to mask their smells. It is over the top. It alone has created a industry with products such as the stink sack and smoke buddy.
Personally, I use those products when I am on holiday. And trust me a bottle of febreze won’t do me any good with how much I toke.
Stoners are reduced to the confines of their houses. Or illegally smoking in parks and public areas. However it doesn’t have to be like this as evidenced by the legalization of recreational marijuana.
I recently visited Seattle, Washington and was dumbfounded when I stepped foot into the dispensary. The look of awe immediately gave the clerk’s an easily detectable “you’re definitely not from around here” vibe.
I witnessed that every street corner was “loud” from the smell of the green sticky herb. It is heaven out their.
Just being able to walk into a store as if it’s a regular daily errand. That is something no stoner would take for granted come mass scale legalization.
Nevada – Tourist State
No state has ever made more sense than Nevada to legalize something that would bring massive amounts of tourists to its city of sin, Las Vegas, and who knows it might even increase small town visits too.
For example, small towns in Colorado saw boosts in tourism when they legalized marijuana. As it gave people a reason to visit the small secluded mountain towns other than just skiing.
Nevada can advertise the small secluded desert towns in a similar way Colorado marketed the mountain towns. Yet instead of skiing, hot cocoa, and bud they could have dune buggy racing, refreshing lemonade, and herb.
Nevada’s existence is based almost entirely off a tourism economy. How else could a state entirely surrounded by desert survive?
From lavish casinos, to breathtaking hotels, to legalized prostitution, to getting hitched for $99. It’s almost a no brainer for Nevada to legalize cannabis to boost its already gargantuan tourism industry.
Tourism makes up about 30% of Nevada’s overall employment. It is their largest contributor to their GDP, and the legalization of marijuana can only boost those numbers. Only 6% of the population works for travel in rural areas. So Nevada could see a drastic spike in jobs and employment for rural employment as most growers would be located rurally.
Growing in a desert might prove difficult however, but with hydroponic technology on the rise. Nevada should see no problem. If anything they should increase their budget for the rural areas as rural areas in Colorado and Washington have seen spikes in tourism for those areas.
Nevada – The next Mecca for Marijuana
This November Question 2 on Nevada’s ballot calls for a vote to legalize recreational marijuana. Up to one ounce per individual over 21.
This legislation is almost identical to that of Colorado’s Amendment 64 and Washington’s Initiative 502.
Marijuana for medicinal use is already legal since 2000, when voters approved of question 9. Once medical is approved it’s an easy gateway to get recreational legalized. No state has just decided to legalize recreational before medicinal.
Its’ one of those foot in the door type policies. Once medicinal is legalized many states have already appropropriated funding towards marijuana growth, dispensaries, and R&D. They then see the benefits it can have towards the economy.
History/Technical Background to Nevada Legalization
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Nevada has been pushing for legalization for a long time now. Dating back to 1972 as their first initiative to legalize cannabis. However this time seems like a sure fire success as there is little opposition.
The opposition has a weak case against legalization stating it is a gateway drug coming mostly from the republican side. Phillip O’ Neill, Republican Nevada Assemblyman stated “Working with the homeless on the street, I’m running into drugs constantly…. Every one of these guys I talk to, guys that are shooting up heroin, I ask them how they got started. Every single one of them started with the recreational use of marijuana.”
Clearly Phillip O’Neil’s words haven’t really resonated with the constituents of Nevada. Since as of June 10, 2016, Campaign Against Legalizing Marijuana registered to oppose this measure, has had no contributions or expenses and has generated little buzz among news organizations.
There seem to only be positives come this election cycle as proponents of the initiative were required to collect 101,666 signatures by November 11, 2014. The Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol submitted approximately 200,000 signatures by the prescribed deadline.
So come this election cycle it seems like an almost sure fire guarantee that Nevada will become one of the next states to legalize recreational cannabis. Making it just another stop for eager stoners to make the journey to satiate their cannabis tourism itch.
Instead of the breathtaking mountain views of Colorado and Washington, stoners can relish in the sandy dunes and sin city activities of Nevada while stoned on up to one ounce of marijuana.
Closing Thoughts on Cannabis Tourism
Marijuana, seen here growing in the middle of a residential street in Canada. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)
It’s almost every stoner’s dream to have legalized cannabis in their town. Nevada should count itself lucky to be among those that are on the road to legalization.
Being able to walk into a dispensary and ask for your legal herb is nothing someone should take for granted. Which is why I can see the cannabis tourism industry skyrocketing the way it has.
Those of us stranded under prohibition understand the day to day struggle of not having these luxuries. It’s no wonder so many people decide to visit states where it’s legal to enjoy all of the benefits of cannabis tourism.
Buying an ounce of your favorite strain and being able to smoke it while on vacation sounds like paradise in a nutshell.
The best part about it is you can feel good about it too as most states tax the hell out of it for the improvement of their community such as funding schools or park services.