In December 2018, Israel’s lawmakers finally approved a law to export medical cannabis. The move was a long time coming, and is a testament to how the world’s view on cannabis continues to change.
As more countries move to decriminalize and legalize cannabis, a new industry is emerging: cannabis tourism.
In the United States, where four states have legalized recreational use, the cannabis tourism industry is alive and well – and it’s growing. In Colorado, cannabis tourism has grown by 51% since 2014, and the state attracted about 6.5 million cannabis tourists in 2016. Hotels like Nativ Hotel and B&B Adaigo were designed with cannabis connoisseurs in mind. Websites like Bud and Breakfast help travelers find cannabis friendly lodging.
In California, “wine and weed” tours are growing in popularity. These party buses, which seal the driver off from smoking passengers, tour dispensaries and wineries in the area. Tourists have the chance to sample products along the way.
Across the U.S., you’ll find “puff and paint” events, which offer wine and cannabis tastings while you paint your own masterpiece.
In Canada, luxury weed tourism is the latest trend. One tour company in Victoria, British Columbia picks visitors up from a private airport, takes them for a hike in the mountains, feeds them and smokes with them. Tours like this are becoming commonplace in Canada, where locals are expected to spend $7 billion on marijuana this year.
Restaurants in Canada are infusing their dishes with cannabis. Travis Petersen, owner of The Nomad Cook, throws secret dinners across the country. Each adult guest is served a five-course, cannabis-infused meal. Petersen actually micro-doses to meet each person’s tolerance level. No alcohol is served, but CBD-infused mocktails are available.
In Barcelona, tourists pay fees to join cannabis clubs. Inside, they look just like your average coffee shop, but members partake in high-quality cannabis.
In places where marijuana is legal, cannabis tours are available for travelers of all experience levels. Connoisseurs have the chance to deepen their breadth of knowledge. Newbies get their first cannabis experience in an educational, positive setting.
Cannabis tourism may not make its way to Israel anytime soon, but many Israelis are taking advantage of these unique travel opportunities in other countries.
As legalization continues to spread, more entrepreneurs will seize opportunities to fill a need. Just as people embark on wine or food tours, enthusiasts will tour countries sampling the finest cannabis available.
It will be interesting to see where this emerging industry goes, but there are some complications that tourists need to be aware of. For starters, they need to understand the local laws. In Canada, for example, cannabis may be legal on the federal level, but minors are not permitted to use and public use is prohibited.
It’s also important for tourists to understand their tolerance levels and to be responsible. The effects of edibles, which are extremely popular with tourists, take much longer to set in than when smoking or vaping. It’s easy to walk away with a bad experience if caution is not taken.