Given the post-pandemic economic crisis, businesses, governments, and regulators see cannabis tourism as a driver of U.S. economic development. What is the potential of the sector? US$ 17 billion, according to a report presented in Forbes.
Of the US$ 25 billion in legal cannabis sales in 2021, Forbes estimates that up to US$ 4.5 billion came from tourists, who are responsible for an additional US$ 12.6 billion in cannabis retail sales and taxes.
Adult-use Retail Cannabis: A Multiplier Effect
For every US$1 spent at a cannabis retailer, there is a multiplier effect: an additional US$2.80 is injected into the local economy.
In California, for example, cannabis growers have incorporated tourist attractions into their farms. On Mendocino County’s cannabis tours, visitors learn about the plant's active ingredients and benefits, its terroir and geology, as well as local farming traditions.
They are tourists and they are shopping; they are here to spend money in the mecca of weed. Such customers typically spend US$ 300 to US$ 400 at the dispensary during their visits: four times more than the average customer.
Blossoming Market Thanks to the Millennial Generation
In recent years, the offer of health products and services linked to cannabis has exploded within wellness tourism, including therapies and treatments based on natural products and meditation, among other holistic disciplines.
According to the World Wellness Institute, wellness tourists spend around 50% more than the average international tourist; and 178% more than the typical domestic tourist. By the end of 2022, the market is projected to reach around US$ 919 billion. This represents 18% of the global tourism market.
On the other hand, a study by MMGY consulting firm conducted in 2020 showed that 18% of U.S. travelers were interested in trying cannabis experiences. If adults with an annual income of US$ 50,000 are included, the percentage rises to 62% of respondents. This is great potential for cannabis tourism.
Brian Applegarth, the founder of the chamber Cannabis Travel Association International, predicts that as they age, millennials will encourage cannabis tourism. According to Applegarth, "by 2025, 50% of travelers in the U.S. will be millennials and their relationship with cannabis use is extremely normalized," increasing, even more, the infinite potential of this market segment.