How Big is Cannabis Tourism?

Stephen Andrews
06 Jun 2022

As legalization spreads, bud and breakfast tours with visits to cannabis farms and dispensaries are becoming an increasingly attractive proposition for cannabis users of all age groups and backgrounds, with Millennials being the most significant group. You can call it vacation or you can call it "canna-cation" — cannabis tourism adds billions into local economies.

Marijuana currently enjoys majority support in the U.S. with most people approving the legal recreational use of cannabis. Polling from 2022 suggests that around two-thirds of Americans support legal marijuana. 

In a separate survey, Harris Poll looked into how important is cannabis when people choose a destination for vacationing. The survey suggests that access to legal recreational cannabis products is important for half of all millennials population when they choose a travel destination. Over four in ten millennials, or 43%, claim that legal weed at the destination is a factor which influences their decision when choosing where to spend the holiday. 

A national study from 2020 reveals that cannabis-related experiences during travel and vacation were important to roughly one in five (18%) American leisure travelers. The same number climbs to 62% when the survey is limited to cannabis users of legal age with an annual income of over $50,000.

So, obviously there is a trend here. Cannabis is important to more and more people when it comes to travel. It's a thing people will spend money on. 

Cannabis Tourism Is Currently Worth $17 Billion

Cannabis tourism is an emerging sector and it's set to become much bigger in the future. It's estimated that around $4.5 billion of expenditure out of $25 billion in legal cannabis sales for 2021 came out from tourism and travel. But that's just a fraction of the money that cannabis tourists spend at their destination.

Cannabis tourism also pours money into other businesses in the hospitality sector. Their expenditure benefits both local economies and the taxman. Cannabis tourists add an extra $12.6 billion to hotels, restaurants and other venues. When that number is combined with legal sales, cannabis tourism has generated roughly $17 billion. 

Who is the Typical Cannabis Tourist?

With the onset of legalization, tourist destinations have become much more welcoming to cannabis consumers. Wave goodbye to the stereotypical stoner. There's now less difference between the typical cannabis tourist and every other traveler. 

The cannabis vacationer is just as likely to be female as male, with 63% chance to be in the millennial age group or even younger. The typical tourist is also very likely to have a college degree (59%) and an average household income of $87,000. That is according to a report from the Cannabis Travel Association International (CTAI).

According to CTAI, by 2025, half of all cannabis travelers in the U.S. will be millennials, and importantly, their relationship to cannabis consumption is extremely normalized compared to previous generations. 

Which Are the Big Tourist Destinations? 

California is definitely the big leader in cannabis tourism. Cannabis-friendly hotels, weed farm tours, and swanky pot shops are attracting cannabis tourists like never before. Those interested can easily search and find special cannabis tours in the Central Valley or other regions where they can discover eateries, local weed retailers and engage in other cannabis and non-cannabis related activities. Cannabis wellbeing experiences are focused on offering tourists access also to spas and beauty treatments, wine tasting, yoga, etc. A lot of these initiatives and partnerships are backed by famous celebrities. 

On the East Coast, Florida is perhaps the most significant player in terms of tourism. The Sunshine State has one of the largest medical cannabis markets, valued at $1 billion. It's the size of the market that can compete with cannabis tourist destinations such as California. Those in the Florida tourism sector see a massive potential if adult use of cannabis is permitted. Legal weed would benefit all other businesses and would add an approximate $190 million into state coffers after taxes and tourism boost. 

Also read on Soft Secrets:

- The Green Rush is Transforming the Californian Desert 

- Airbnb Partners with Californian Cannabis Farm 

- Do's and Don'ts of Travelling Internationally with CBD Oil 

Stephen Andrews