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Pot Country Is the New Wine Country

See the 2015 Travel Vanguard 

050115vanguard.headshotChase Nobles, cofounder of Seattle-based Kush Tourism, says interest in marijuana travel is smokin’ hot.

So weed tourism is a thing now?

“Yup. We’re a 100 percent legal tourism company focused on the cannabis industry in Washington and Colorado. We run tours—our popular Kush Tour might include stops at a cultivation facility, a cannabis testing lab, and a bakery—and provide resources for travelers, like info about where they can purchase and consume cannabis, where they can stay (and partake), and what they can do. We just rolled out a tourism map and, very soon, will reveal an app.” 

What’s next?

“It’s still illegal to consume cannabis in public—just like alcohol—so next we’ll see lounges: places that are cannabis friendly, like coffee shops in Amsterdam, but with more culture. We’ll also see development in other states. Cannabis is now legal to own in Alaska. There aren’t any shops open yet up there, but we’re working with a few B&Bs to provide places to get a taste of the pot culture. Alaska’s already an ultimate getaway, especially in the summer, but a vacation package where you stay in B&B where moose are roving around and you can fish for salmon in the river, all while consuming cannabis? That sounds like the ultimate experience to me. And, if Washington, D.C., figures things out, it could be the spot for cannabis on the East Coast. Eventually, I would like to see the cannabis industry comparable to the wine industry.”

Who’s smoking?
“People who don’t know much about cannabis culture often think we get 20-year-olds who just want to come party. But our clients don’t fit the stereotype at all. They’re generally in their 40s or older. Doctors, lawyers, very prominent people take our tours.” 

And you really don’t have to worry about it?
“Most of our clients are from out of state and could get into life-ruining trouble for consuming cannabis in their home state. It takes them a day to relax and realize, ‘Wow, I can have this in my pocket and have no concern at all.’ For example, one day the police pulled up behind our parked tour bus. We had a group from Minnesota and they were very nervous—they didn’t want to act like they were with the tour. But, to prove a point, I went up to the officer and waved. He gave us a thumbs up and we were on our way.

It really is a process of acclimation. In their home state, where it’s illegal, it’s a very different experience. But when you buy cannabis here, you get it from a state-licensed store, you get a receipt for your purchase and you pay your taxes on it. And nobody’s going to bust you for that.”

Header image by The Voorhes.