Cannabis tourism in the United States

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Cannabis tourism in the United States is a form of drug tourism that exists in recreationally legal cannabis states.  As of 2022 there are 21 states, Washington D.C. and Guam that have legalized recreational cannabis.[1]

In 2014, the travel guide Fodors published a "how to" for cannabis tourists in Washington state.[2] The official Washington tourism website has a FAQ section for cannabis tourism.[3]

In 2013, prior to legalization, the Washington State Liquor Control Board (now the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board) commissioned a study of cannabis legalization on the state, including the impact of tourism. The study, written by Carnegie Mellon University researchers, estimated over 400,000 new visits a year to the state.[4] The Washington State legislature specifically considered tourism in its 2015 I-502 reform.[5] One legal expert stated "Washington’s cannabis tourism industry is in jeopardy" as a result.[6]

Because consumption in public is illegal, rentals like (Bud and Breakfast) and Airbnb include "420 friendly" in descriptions for cannabis tourists, and cannabis tourism rental specialists have sprung up to meet demand.[7][8] Some states like Illinois have provided an “on-premise” consumption license for dispensaries and any businesses that sell some form of cannabis, whether it be a dispensary, cannabis-infused restaurant or coffee shop like those commonly found in Amsterdam.[9]

The actual impact of cannabis tourism is debated. Industry groups say it is significant, but state tourism officials in Washington said there is "fairly low amounts of consumer interest through our visitor information", and in Colorado "We still don't have any numbers that support that marijuana tourism exists".[10] An NBC News report stated that bookings were up slightly after legalization in both states.[10]

Manitou Springs is a small town in El Paso County, Colorado. It is home to two recreational cannabis dispensaries,[11] the only two in the second most populous county in the state. As a direct result of recreational cannabis sales the city's tax base increased. Manitou sales tax collections set a record in July 2014, which included only a few hours of recreational cannabis sales for the month.[12] One operator's Manitou Springs location is their most popular, due to its location at the foot of Pike’s Peak.[13]


Tourism in Oregon was expected to begin in 2016 with legal retail availability for non-residents.[14]

Expansion of cannabis tourism to Vermont,[15]: 60 [16] and to Mendocino and Humboldt Counties, California, has been discussed.[17]: 151 


  1. ^ Hansen, Claire; Alas, Horus; Davis Jr., Elliott (9 November 2022). "Where Is Marijuana Legal? A Guide to Marijuana Legalization".
  2. ^ AnnaMaria Stephens (September 25, 2014), Pot Tourism: How to Buy Marijuana in Washington State, Fodors
  3. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions on the Sale and Use of Recreational Marijuana",, Washington Tourism Alliance, 2015, retrieved 2015-08-11
  4. ^ Caulkins, Jonathan P.; Andrzejewski, Susan; Dahlkemper, Linden (June 28, 2013), How much revenue could the cannabis tax generate, under different scenarios? (PDF), BOTEC Analysis Corp. / Carnegie Mellon University, p. 32, I-502 Project #430-8b
  5. ^ Jeanne Kohl-Welles; Ann Rivers (February 5, 2015), Senate Bill 5858 (PDF), Washington State legislature, The legislature further finds there are efforts to expand this industry into other areas, such as industrial hemp, food processing, tourism...
  6. ^ Daniel Shortt (August 3, 2015), Marijuana tourism in Washington: Over before it even begins?, Harris Moure Canna Law Group
  7. ^ Julie Weed (March 17, 2015), "Book Your 'Bud And Breakfast', Marijuana Tourism Is Growing In Colorado And Washington", Forbes
  8. ^ Becker, Olivia (April 28, 2014), There's Now an Airbnb for Colorado's Pot Tourists,
  9. ^ "410 ILCS 705/ Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act". Retrieved 2022-12-01.
  10. ^ a b Bill Briggs (August 14, 2014), Marijuana Tourists: Are More Flocking to Washington and Colorado?, NBC News
  11. ^ Healy, Jack; Johnson, Kirk (July 19, 2014). "Next Gold Rush: Legal Marijuana Feeds Entrepreneurs' Dreams". The New York Times.
  12. ^ Hobbs, Stephen. "Manitou Springs tax collections booming amid recreational marijuana sales".
  13. ^ "Your Guide to Marijuana Tourism in America". Time.
  14. ^ Jolie Lee; Karl Gelles (November 6, 2014), "Will Oregon be next spot for pot tourism? Not until 2016", USA Today
  15. ^ Caulkins et al. 2015 "Vermont should expect that any form of legalization, even just legalization of retail sales, will likely trigger substantial marijuana tourism ... it would generate revenues for hoteliers and restaurateurs just as fall leaves and ski slopes do."
  16. ^ Evan Halper (January 16, 2015), "Will Vermont be the East Coast hub of marijuana tourism?", Los Angeles Times citing RAND
  17. ^ Hecht 2014 "Blake and Cohen ... argued at a local forum that Mendocino and Humboldt Counties must seize their destines as pot tourism hubs..."


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