The tourism landscape is swiftly changing as more and more states legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Legal pot sales are expected to hit $33 billion in 2022. Cannabis vacations, coined “canna-cations,” are on the rise, and this brand of tourism boasts weed-friendly B&Bs, first-class dispensaries, guided bus tours, and even recreational activities based around getting stoned (ahem, Puff, Pass, Paint — a play on Wine & Design, but with weed).
In this 420-friendly study, we analyzed the average cost of a cannabis vacation in 50 major U.S. cities as well as the best destinations for a cannabis vacation around the country.
- The most cost-efficient destinations for a cannabis vacation are Oakland, California and Spokane, Washington, where a tourist can enjoy a 4-day “canna-cation” for $1,068 and $1,135, respectively. Vacations in both cities are over 22% cheaper than the national average cost of $1,262.
- The best city for a cannabis vacation overall is Denver, home to 19 guided cannabis bus tours and 64 licensed dispensaries for every 100,000 people.
- The cost of a cannabis vacation is noticeably cheaper in western states like Colorado, California, and Washington where adult, recreational weed usage has been legal for 6 to 10 years.
- An ounce of weed is most expensive in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Illinois, and Vermont. In D.C., an ounce of high-quality dope costs $590.50 –– almost twice the national average cost of $294.68.
The True Cost of a Cannabis Vacation by City
Is there a correlation between cannabis vacation costs and when weed laws were passed? We think so. The cost of a cannabis vacation is noticeably cheaper in western states like Colorado, California, and Washington where adult, recreational weed usage was made legal from 2012 to 2016. In these states, economies of scale have been built over the last decade, bolstered by a booming weed market that includes dispensaries, farm tours, and cannabis lounges. The industry supports over 83,000 jobs in California alone. Oakland, California (#1), Spokane, Washington (#2), and Fort Collins, Colorado (#4) are 3 of the least expensive destinations for a cannabis tourist.
Meanwhile, “canna-cations” in eastern states like Connecticut, Vermont, and Massachusetts can be much more pricey as an infrastructure for using, purchasing, and producing cannabis is far less established in these areas. Burlington, Vermont (#4), Bridgeport, Connecticut (#5), and Boston (#9) are 3 of the most expensive cities for a cannabis tourist.
The Best U.S. Cities for a Cannabis Tourist
We analyzed 50 U.S. cities where recreational marijuana use is legal against 10 criteria strongly related to cannabis tourism to uncover the best (and worst) cities for a cannabis vacation. And the winner is (drumroll please) … Denver! Denver is the #1 best destination for a weed tourist, and for good reason. In Denver, travelers can stay at a 420-friendly accommodation for under $176 a night on average –– compare that rate to $279 in Los Angeles or $270 in Reno, Nevada. What’s more, Denver has over 64 licensed dispensaries per 100,000 people (21 is the national average) and the average cannabis tourist can purchase a quarter ounce of weed (about 14 joints) for a little over $60.
Portland, Maine (#2) and Henderson, Nevada (#7) landed in the top 10, largely due to their high number of weed-friendly stays with respect to their population size. The 2 cities have 102 and 118 cannabis-friendly Airbnb listings per 100,000 people, respectively. Check out budandbreakfast.com for the scoop on marijuana-friendly hotel vacancies across the country.
Another Portland (Oregon) is the fifth-best city for a cannabis vacation, home to 9 guided, cannabis bus tours and where a tourist can purchase a quarter ounce of marijuana for nearly $50 on average. To boot, the average cost to attend a 420-friendly experience in Portland (think weed-infused yoga classes or “wake and bake” drag brunches) is under $20.
Weed Price Tags in Legal States
Again, the majority of the least expensive states for an ounce of weed are located in the American West. In Oregon, Washington, and Colorado, buyers can purchase an ounce of high-quality weed for under $250, on average. An ounce of weed is most expensive in Washington, D.C., Virginia, Illinois, and Vermont. In D.C. this much dope costs $590.50 –– almost twice the national average cost of $294.68.
We started with 50 of the largest American cities in states where recreational marijuana usage is legal based using data from U.S. News & World Report. To find the best cities for a cannabis vacation, we considered 10 ranking factors strongly related to weed tourism.
We assigned cities with a score of 0 to 5 for each factor, with a score of 5 representing the most favorable conditions. We determined each city’s total score from the total of its individual factor scores, which were weighted according to their impact on cannabis tourism. Individual factor scores were then added together to give each city a final score from 0 to 50. Higher scores indicate cities are better for cannabis tourists. The factors are listed below with their respective weights and source data.
Ranking factors include:
Next, we analyzed the cost of a cannabis vacation in the same 50 legal U.S. cities used in the city ranking portion of our study. We calculated the sum of the 8 cost factors below to find the total cost of a 4-day/3-night cannabis vacation for 1 tourist in each city.
Cost factors include:
Cannabis tourism is flourishing. The U.S. cannabis industry now supports more than 428,000 jobs and is anticipated to exceed $72 billion in sales by 2030. Recreational marijuana is currently legal in 19 states, Washington, D.C., and Guam, and weed tourism will only grow as more states are poised to legalize recreational retail sales of marijuana later this year. If you’re looking for the ideal destination for your “canna-cation” this year, the grass is greener in cities like Denver, Oakland, Boulder, and Portland.
For guidance on flying with medical marijuana, reference the TSA’s guidelines for possessing THC products in carry-on and checked bags.
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