Cannabis Tourism is now a $17 Billion Industry.

Liz Filmer
31 May 2022

68% of American adults now support adult use. Half of the millennials (50%) say that access to legal recreational cannabis is essential when choosing a vacation destination. 43% have chosen a vacation based on the fact that cannabis is legal there

Up till now, cannabis travel has been greatly ignored by the industry to their loss. A Typical "cannabis vacation" customer will spend an average o $300 to $400 on dispensary products. This is roughly three times as much as locals. 

A pre-pandemic 2020 national study found that nearly one in five (18%) American leisure travellers are interested in cannabis-related vacation experiences. That rises to 62% when the survey is limited to cannabis-consuming adults over 21 with an annual income of over $50,000.

Legal cannabis helps other "tourist" businesses out too. From a total of $25 billion in legal cannabis sales for 2021, it is estimated that around $4.5 billion was tourist-based. 

Cannabis tourists add an extra $12.6 billion to hotels, restaurants and other attractions. This is not only good for the local economy but also the taxman. 

Destinations are starting to welcome cannabis tourism, especially as the stereotypical image of "the stoner" is beginning to change. The typical cannabis traveller now looks like any other traveller. 

A report from the CTAI or Cannabis Travel Association International states that "the cannabis vacationer" is just as likely to be female as male, within the "millennials" age bracket or younger (63%). Likely to have a college degree (59%) and an average household income of $87,000. 

 "There is no difference between a cannabis traveller and every other traveller." By 2025, 50% of travellers in the U.S. will be millennials. Their relationship to cannabis consumption is extremely normalized compared to the stigmatized industry leaders of today." -Brian Applegarth, founder of the Cannabis Travel Association International (CTAI)

California is currently the centre of cannabis tourism, with destinations from across the state launching their unique programs of activities. The Oakland Cannabis Trail takes visitors through the city's cannabis legacy. Greater Palm Springs highlight any cannabis "wellbeing" experiences through its retailers, spas, tours and hotels. Plus, the trendy West Hollywood neighbourhood has been christened "the Amsterdam of the Far West," thanks to its high number of dispensaries, including ones with celebrity links.

Florida is the second-biggest state in the nation for general tourism, bringing in $99 billion in tourist spending for 2019. Florida is the country's largest medicinal cannabis market, valued at $1 billion in annual sales. So far, all efforts to legalize recreational weed have been blocked by state leaders. However, those in the tourist industry see the potential. With 21 million residents and 130 million annual tourists, a recreational cannabis market would benefit all other businesses. It is an attractive proposition, as Florida could bring in a whopping $190 million in sales tax from the extra sales and the increase in tourism."

Liz Filmer