Cannabis tourism is on the rise in California, and L.A. is leading the way. According to KushTourism.com, searches for cannabis tourism–related information were up nearly 300 percent in the last year. That data point, for what it’s worth, seems to be in line with the busyness of the market.
“When I started my tour company a year ago, I think there were three pot tour companies,” says Robert Fiore of DopeTour. “Now there’s 10 to 15. … The landscape is changing so fast.”
The cannabis tourism scene in L.A. is a pretty compelling microcosm of the cannabis industry — frustrations with regulatory challenges, a diversity of entrepreneurs addressing a diversity of market demands, and hustlers.
The proliferation of tour operators and the resulting competition for customers makes it a buyer’s market, which should be welcomed as good news for anyone interested in taking a cannabis tour. Prices for tours are competitive, itineraries offer something for everyone, and tour operators are eager to please.
Tours are also a great way to get a sense of the many dispensaries and the dizzying number of brands and products now available to anyone 21 and older. Whether you’re visiting L.A. or live here and want some guidance scouting out good shops, most tours include at least one dispensary, if not more. And tour operators are incentivized to build relationships with dispensaries they can trust to accommodate their groups, schedules and questions.
“The majority of people coming don’t know good products from bad ones, medical from non-medical,” Fiore adds. “We try to steer people to products that are right for them. We’re constantly educating our tour guides on the latest products, brands, reviews and feedback.”
Why take a cannabis-themed tour at all? Why not just walk into any adult-use dispensary, buy your gummy or joint or vape cartridge, and take your own canna-tour of L.A.? The short answer is, plenty of people — tourists and locals alike — do exactly that. But cannabis tours offer a few benefits that make them worth considering, whether you’re visiting L.A. from Tokyo or Tallahassee or Torrance:
1. You get an education along with the sights and sensations. Every tour operator in the cannabis scene right now recognizes the opportunity, and the imperative, to educate their guests: about the plant, its effects, its culture and the bevy of products available. Having a knowledgeable guide to show you around makes plenty of sense for cannabis tours, just like it makes plenty of sense when you’re visiting cultural and natural destinations around the world.
2. You’ll make new friends. Not to sound like an encouraging parent on the first day of school, but taking in a new experience with others with similar interests can be a very rewarding way to sight-see. Add in the fact that many canna-tourists are new to the scene or new to L.A. or both, and you can see why a tour bus of strangers + a knowledgeable guide + weed = fast (and hungry) friends.
3. Social consumption work-around! Basically, every state and local jurisdiction that has legalized weed has done so by (initially) taking social/public consumption off the table. Now states that legalized early (Oregon, Colorado) are working hard to pass social consumption laws allowing people to consume cannabis at bars, cafes, lounges, etc. But for now, if you’re visiting L.A. and staying at a hotel or even a private rental, you may find it difficult to find a place to enjoy your legally purchased bud. A cannabis tour provides one solution. Consuming while on board the tour bus is allowed, so long as the driver is physically separated from the main cabin. Tours vary in what’s permitted to be consumed on board, but it’s better than being kicked out of your hotel room or forced to pay excessive cleaning fees for that Airbnb.
To Read The Rest Of This Article By Claire Kaufmann on LA Weekly
Published: February 01, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News