No matter what happens anywhere else in the world, Colorado will always be the home of the original “pot trail” and we’re happy to be the pioneers blazing the way.
This April we got a visit from Natalia Angulo-Hinkson, an all-star reporter at Circa news. We had a great time hosting her and her cameraman as they traveled along Colorado’s “pot trail”. See her full report and video featuring an interview with My 420 Tour’s co-founder JJ Walker.
Other stops along Natalia’s “pot trail” tour were the Adagio Bud+Breakfast to interview our good friends Joel and Lisa Schneider, owners at operators of the bed and breakfast. Since their accommodation is a B&B, it’s licensed as a private residence and therefore isn’t subject to the same “public area” consumption laws that apply to hotels.
As Natalia points out, it seems easy to make the comparison between Napa Valley’s wine trail and Colorado’s emerging “pot trail”. That is, until you start looking at the legal gray areas and regulations that are keeping cannabis tourism in check. The unique problems it faces compared to food and beverage tourism are many. Among the several that Natalia listed:
Pot trail roadblock #1: Getting fined
The hardest laws to interpret and comply with for cannabis tour businesses are public consumption and giving/exchanging THC products. Schneider of Adagio B&B gave the example of his own guests getting cited for exchanging cannabis. Even businesses that have gone to great lengths to comply with the criteria of private invite-only events, owners can receive citations if an undercover officer is able to infiltrate the event’s security.
Pot trail roadblock #2: Unclear government regulations
We get a lot of mixed messages and run into plenty of gray areas in our field. Of course there’s federal-level prohibition and classification as a Schedule 1 drug, combined with a new wildcard Trump administration that has either stayed silent or hinted at crackdown on states like Colorado with recreationally legalized weed. Then there are hazy state laws, particularly surrounding “public” vs. “private” consumption, In November Colorado passed Initiative 300, a regulation which is set to allow neighborhood-supported businesses to qualify as consumption spaces. However, implementation is slow-going and an application process has yet to launch.
Pot trail roadblock #3: Pot’s inherent image problem
The stigma against weed use is lifting but still lingers — particularly for cannabis marketers. In addition to strict regulations about what they can depict and to what audience (similar to limits set for the tobacco and alcohol trades), they face even further roadblocks from the Internet’s most successful pay-to-play advertising platforms. Cannabis tourism brands can’t buy Google Adwords, can’t pay for advertising on Facebook, and can’t have listings on TripAdvisor. The Colorado Tourism Office will not recognize cannabis tourism or help promote it. This makes reaching potential new markets more difficult since, as JJ mentions in the interview with Natalia, “people have to find us.”
Pot trail roadblock #4: Crossing state lines
Tourists to Colorado are faced with yet another dilemma — they can buy THC products and consume it if they manage to find a private space, but they can’t take their leftovers home with them. They’re also limited in the paraphernalia they can carry across state lines — whether by vehicle or by flight — if the accessory has already been used. Clearly our visitors are receiving mixed messages about how welcome they are to partake in legal cannabis here in Colorado.
The outlook is sunny
On the bright side, Colorado tourism is booming. Our fair centennial state received a whopping 16 million visitors in 2015, and the tourism forecast is sunny. 23% of them reported that legal cannabis positively influenced their decision to visit — although only 4% reported that marijuana was the primary purpose of their visit.
At My 420 Tours, we’re optimistic. No matter what happens anywhere else in the world, Colorado will always be the home of the original “pot trail” and we’re happy to be the pioneers blazing the way. Our 420-friendly party buses are the covered wagons on this new frontier. Come take a ride along the pot trail with us with an all-inclusive cannabis vacation. Or rest at ease about where to consume in one of our 420-friendly hotels in Denver. If you want an immersive experience to sprinkle on top of the rest of a Colorado vacation, we have departures daily. Get on board.