30 September 2016

This piece in the Cannabist highlights some of the issues officials are facing across west coast states

We’d highlight the following

  • Look at the experience of Amsterdam over the last 30 years and work out where the city was successful and also where it wasn’t
  • Be aware that Europeans and especially  the British will travel the globe to enjoy the benefits of a legalized environment
  • Sort out a sensible set of regulations for the tourism industry with regard to the issue before the private sector runs away with it and cities / states are forced into a more draconian approach to the issue

Essentially a sensible regulatory environment managed well by state and local officials in advance will benefit many other aspects of the local economy with interstate and international visitors and will create a further tax base to improve local investment and services.

A quick peruse of the article below illustrates that in the main people have been inward looking and not really understanding the global nature of the market and we at CLR also see little or no mention of “medical tourism” rather it’s recreational appears to occupy the mind of most.

Or to use a more colloquial phrase , “They’ve got their head buried under a rock”

We’d also add that many people travel from around the world to the US for standard medical procedures knowing that the service and care levels they will receive are the best on the planet.

As medical opportunities grow in the cannabis market there are huge opportunities to provide a well regulated and managed set of care services for patients who could not receive that care in their home state or country.

The Cannabist writes..

As government tourism officials in Oregon, Washington, Colorado and Alaska take a wait-and-see stance on promoting tourism to prospective visitors, other states voting on legalization in November contemplate their touristic futures

The cannabis industry presents a tricky proposition for tourism officials in legal recreational marijuana states.

One one hand, the market is growing fast and it’s quite unique — not every state can lay claim to the ability for adults to walk into a store and legally buy pre-rolled joints, edibles and other cannabis products.

On the other, marketing to out-of-state visitors is untested and riddled with unknowns — because not everyone, especially the federal government, is on board with legalized pot.

So ultimately, what happens in legal cannabis states, has to stay in legal cannabis states.

But that doesn’t mean that the marketability potential of legalized cannabis markets is being ignored. Tourism officials in several marijuana-friendly states say they’re watching the industry closely while others are champing at the bit to make a move.

“As a market that may develop, we would look to absolutely be a part of that,” said David Blandford, vice president of communications at Visit Seattle.

But there are plenty of obstacles in the way, he said, notably state regulations and the federal government’s unfavorable stance on legality.

Additionally, Visit Seattle just doesn’t have a good grasp on the size and potential of the marijuana tourism market, he said. There’s a dearth of research.

“It’s just a new phenomenon,” he said. “We’re not quite there yet.”

Washington’s neighbor Oregon is taking a similar stance while keeping in mind a tight tourism budget, said Linea Gagliano, director of global communications for the Oregon Tourism Commission. Gagliano’s office has been in discussions with the state’s attorney general as to what they can and cannot do in promoting the new legal marijuana industry.

“It’s a funny place to be; we don’t exactly know what to do with it,” she said. “And yet, come election season, the whole West Coast may legalize. And at that point, we’re going to need to get our heads together and think, ‘Do we own this message, or just kind of let it do its own thing?’”

Oregon hasn’t conducted research on the topic, she said. Anecdotal evidence points to legal marijuana not being the impetus for travel to the state but an incidental factor — like that of wine tasting.

“Being that it’s still federally illegal, we’re not exactly sure whether to wade into that water,” she said.

In Alaska, the state’s leading tourism trade association has monitored the process of recreational marijuana adoption in the state and will host an informational session at its upcoming convention in early October in Anchorage, said Sarah Leonard, the president and chief executive officer of the Alaska Travel Industry Association.

“We want to be able to provide our industry and member businesses the best available information related to local ordinances and regulations, so that they can inform their customers,” she said via an e-mailed statement. “As managers of Alaska’s destination marketing program, we are also focused on what can or cannot be communicated about marijuana in promotional materials or on our website. We want to make sure visitors know that while recreational marijuana has become legal in Alaska, it is still illegal to transport it across states and it is not permissible to take on cruise ships and airplanes.

“We will continue to track these processes as the state and local jurisdictions determine rules around marijuana use and sales.”

The general consensus among legalized U.S. states is that while cannabis may represent a developing industry or an important opportunity, in most markets it’s one of many attractions or potential tourist draws, said John Kagia, executive vice president of industry analytics for New Frontier Data, a Washington, D.C.-based cannabis data analysis firm.

“They think it is not yet appropriate to put a distinct and significant emphasis particularly on cannabis,” he said.

Full report