The need for cannabis lounges is greater than ever as more and more cities compete to become premier cannabis tourism destinations…
People pay for things they want but don’t necessarily need – the latest phone that just has a slightly better camera than the last version, home soda makers, and plenty else that will eventually sit unused and collect dust.
But when you visit Denver, Chicago, or Las Vegas, you are paying for an experience that will always be remembered.
Skiing at Echo Mountain.
Grabbing a slice at Pizano’s Pizza.
Winning a big hand at the poker table.
And now, cannabis consumption will increasingly be included in those memories.
Colorado just passed House Bill 1230, which promises to open up a whole new realm of possibility for cannabis businesses in the state.
The bill created business licenses for cannabis tasting rooms in dispensaries as well as business licenses for “hospitality establishments,” otherwise known as cannabis lounges, although these licenses do not allow for the sale of cannabis products.
It makes sense that Colorado would be leading this charge. As the first state to legalize recreational cannabis (alongside Washington), it has one of the most mature markets in the United States.
And thanks in part to its robust cannabis market, tourism is becoming a cash cow for Colorado. The 85.2 million visitors to the Centennial State set a record by spending $22.3 billion in 2018, and you can bet that many of those folks visited just to check out the cannabis scene or stopped in a dispensary as a part of their trip.
So the states and companies that get the importance of cannabis tourism are going to help open the spending flood gates in 2020…
Cannabis Lounges Become Essential to Tourism
It’s an exciting experience when one visits a city where they can purchase cannabis legally, especially when it’s for the first time. But nearly every state restricts cannabis consumption to one’s private property.
If you’re visiting a cannabis destination city like Las Vegas for the first time, chances are you don’t own any personal property there.
You are not allowed to smoke cannabis in public, even in outdoor areas. So unless you have a “420-friendly” hotel or Airbnb, you’re stuck out in the cold.
This creates a catch-22 for cannabis tourists and out-of-towners that only hurts the industry. It also puts these consumers in a vulnerable legal gray area.
While on-site consumption is legal in varying forms in some areas of the U.S., such as California, businesses that actually have these special licenses are few and far between.
Las Vegas was supposed to legalize cannabis lounges in 2019, but instead, that possibility was postponed for at least two more years.
Even still, the already popular Sin City has become a premier destination for cannabis tourists.
The Future of Cannabis Tourist Destinations
A company that wants to make it in this industry needs a presence there.
One business, NuWu Cannabis Marketplace’s Vegas Tasting room, found a way to get around the city’s on-site consumption regulations because it is located on sovereign land.
And Planet 13 Holdings Inc. (OTC: PLNHF), one of Vegas’s most recognizable brand names, already has plans in place to expand its offering to allow on-site consumption as soon as the law changes.
We visited Vegas back in October for the first annual NICI Retreat. You can see some of our highlights and find out how you can get your hands on all of the conference content right here.
With its hands on the pulse of cannabis tourism in the most important market in the world, Planet 13’s efforts are telling of what consumers want.
Other cities are looking for cannabis to bring in a similar tourism boom. When Illinois legalized recreational cannabis on January 1, it put Chicago on the map. On-site cannabis consumption was even legalized in dispensaries and tobacco stores as part of the state’s adult-use cannabis law.
But some advocates are concerned that the lack of clarity surrounding where people can and cannot consume their legally-purchased cannabis could open the door to even more drug-related arrests.
And with the murky laws surrounding THC-impaired driving, coupled with the impending wave of THC breathalyzers, business and the consumers they serve are left vulnerable should they choose to participate in on-site consumption.
There are a lot of pieces to the cannabis tourism puzzle that still need to be sorted out.
One thing is clear, though.
Creating an acceptable, legal social environment for cannabis use is now an important step in growing cannabis tourism, which will help this market reach its full potential.
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4 responses to “Open the Door to Cannabis Tourism and Watch the Money Flood In”
January 09 2020