Friday, September 29, 2023

The Ultimate Guide To West Coast Cannabis Tourism

Marijuana vacation travel is really taking off, with many desirably dank destinations available for visitation. Plan a pit stop, or a pot stop, the ultimate guide to west coast cannabis tourism.

The Flow Cannabis Institute in Redwood Valley, Mendocino County, California is an 80-acre former winery that is currently developing into a cannabis processing, manufacturing, testing facility as well as a tourist destination.

Flow Kana, is a cannabis distribution company that sources from small sun-grown farmers in Mendocino and Humboldt County. They have distribution hubs across the state, which originate from the Flow Cannabis Institute.

Billed as the world’s first cannabis campus,  Flow Kana’s co-founder and CEO Michael Steinmetz says touring the facility gives people the opportunity to learn how “preserving the immense biological diversity that exists in this Northern California region is key to fighting against the monocropping culture we see moving into the cannabis industry today.”

Amanda Reiman is on the Board of the California Cannabis Tourism Association and is also the Vice President of Community Relations for Flow Kana.

Reiman sees cannabis tourism becoming similar to wine tourism. Urban areas will specialize in tasting rooms and small production facilities, while rural areas where most production occurs will host farm tours, tasting rooms and specialty retail based on regional strains.

“The Mendocino Appellations Project is working on establishing growing regions similar to wine, where the unique qualities of the environment and their subsequent impact on the plant are used for marketing purposes, think the Champagne region of France,” says Reiman.  “I also think that we will see cannabis infused into different tourist experiences. From CBD treatments at health spas, to infused meals and pairing cannabis with everything from wine to yoga, tourism will see an uptick in experiences that are cannabis and something else.”

Reiman is beginning to experience a lot of outside interest from people who want to tour cultivation sites/cannabis farms.

“We do see a lot of interest in farm tours,” she says. “I feel that many folks think touring a cannabis farm is like touring a winery. And while an up-close look at production might be a goal of both, the policies have not caught up to where cannabis is treated like wine, leaving those experiences still quite bare bones. Whereas a winery might have a vineyard in the back and an air conditioned tasting room with a parking lot, bathrooms and food for purchase, cannabis farms, for the most part, are in the hills at the top of long, winding dirt roads. They are not allowed to house tasting rooms or retail and are often an extension of the farmer’s home, which was not built for public tours, in fact, quite the opposite, most of these farms are hard to access by design. “

Handling cannabis plants, or even getting very close to them runs the risk of transferring pests or other contaminants from people’s clothing. And, unlike grapes and other produce that has an acceptable level of pesticides, cannabis in California has a “zero tolerance” pesticide rule. Farmers have to be very careful about maintaining the health of their garden. So having tourists traipsing in, isn’t the best idea. Anyone lucky enough to take a cannabis tour, must be cautious and mindful because it is a privilege, not a right.

Emerald Country Tours and Emerald Farm Tours, both do farm tours and originate in the San Francisco Bay Area and Sonoma, California, respectively.

Emerald Farms Tours has several different options.  Take a four-hour San-Francisco cultural cannabis tour on a limo bus. In addition to hitting historic dispensaries, sightsee all the landmarks of the medical cannabis movement.

On Fridays, EFT does a seed-to-sale tour which explores the business side of the cannabis industry, which includes visiting a nursery, extracts manufacturer, and a few dispensaries, such as world-famous Harborside.

EFT’s newest, most sophisticated offering is a three-day, fully immersive, all inclusive, heritage cannabis tour, that treks deep into the heart of the Emerald Triangle. Leave on a Friday morning from a partner dispensary in the city, then “get on the bus, Gus,” and drive a few hours north of the city, while enjoying a jam-packed itinerary along the way. The stops include visiting the farms of the folks who pioneered the legendary Emerald Triangle.

The Solar Living Center in Hopland, California hosts Emerald Pharms dispensary.

You won’t have to go as far as Tokyo, Japan to find a “love hotel,” which is just as well, because marijuana is heavily banned in Japan. Opt for Las Vegas instead. A state with legal prostitution probably isn’t the best place for a romantic rendezvous, unless you go to the 420 Luxury Condo. Escape the carnival atmosphere of the Sunset Strip in this one-bedroom, located on the 33rd floor. It provides guests unparalleled views of the Spring Mountains to the west.

The condo is stocked with curated cannabis products to try. If nothing in the marijuana mini bar strikes your fancy, the property’s location is within walking distance of its official dispensary partners. Since it is adjacent to the Palms Casino Resort, guests have access to its Drift Spa, 24-hour room service, concierge, pool, hot tub, and other amenities.

Hicksville Pines Resort located in Idyllwild, California, near the San Jacinto Mountains is one of the coolest little herb-friendly retreats you will ever come across. Hicksville Pines Bud & Breakfast Motel contains several properties, each with their unique feel and personal style.

A particular favorite love shack is burlesque star Dita Von Teese’s private chalet retreat. Sleep in the 1970’s-porn-star-style round bed, swing on the indoor swing or take a bath in her glittery, two-person claw-foot tub, by the bathroom fireplace. There are gorgeous views from the private deck which features a hot tub built for two. Just try not to picture Von Teese soaking in it with Marilyn Manson.

Converted, mid-20th-century motor inn  The Jupiter in Portland, Oregon is Portland charm personified.

Jupiter’s 81 rooms contain flirty shag pillows and fun chalkboard doors. Most of the guest rooms have platform beds. The hotel has a hair salon and a tattoo parlor just in case you want to get all dolled up before your date night at the in-house Doug Fir Lounge, one of Portland’s most popular music venues.

Getting high is A-OK when you book the first ever cannabis-friendly package in Oregon, which includes a munchie kit, a vape pen, and coupons to nearby cannabis dispensaries.

Share the love at the 70’s-inspired, adults-only Ventana Inn & Spa in scenic Big Sur, California. The relaxing, rustic guestrooms are designed for snuggling. There are oversized hammocks in front of the river rock fireplaces, and cavernous tubs in the bathrooms. Take in the views of the towering redwoods from a balcony, while munching on some edibles, over a glass of local wine. You can also book a guided hike to see hidden waterfalls and exotic wildlife. If you are not an active participant in the great outdoors, you can opt-in for the clothing-optional pool and sundeck, or the hotel-run yoga class instead.

There are plenty of opportunities for full immersion cannabis experiences. With so many 420-friendly, fun places to explore, “Go west, young man, go west!”


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