Modeled after wine tours in California, there’s a new marijuana tourism industry budding in Colorado. But according to the Denver Post, the Colorado Tourism Office will not provide tourism assistance to any marijuana tourism companies.
That hasn’t stopped two Denver-based entrepreneurs, Matt Brown and James Walker, who have started the only marijuana tourism company in North America, My 420 Tours.
«There’s way too much to see and do in Colorado to use marijuana tourism as a platform for marketing our state,» Colorado tourism director Al White said.
There may be a lot to do in Colorado, but the company’s first tour, which will be held later this month, is already sold out.
Brown told Mint Press that the company plans to host three to four large events per year, but says the April event — which occurs from April 17-21 this year — will likely be the biggest one since April 20 is a “cannabis holiday.”
“We’re also planning smaller trips that are more tightly focused to a particular niche,” Brown said, using an example of local government officials from Rhode Island want a tour to see how Colorado’s recreational legalization worked. Brown says a tour for politicians could include trips to the Department of Revenue and the state’s marijuana policy regulation task force.
Tickets for the sold-out April event weren’t cheap — joining the tour Friday through Sunday of World Cannabis Week cost $499, and 5-day VIP tickets cost $850 per person, but that includes lodging in pot-friendly hotels, tours of marijuana dispensaries and growing operations, and admission to several cannabis-themed events and concerts.
“It’s an opportunity for people who prefer marijuana to alcohol to come to Colorado and know that they’re not going to have to walk around downtown asking strangers for pot,” Brown said.
Because the law does not allow the sale of marijuana until next year when the recreational dispensaries open, Brown says the company had to get creative at incorporating marijuana into the events.
But don’t expect My 420 Tours to skate around the laws by taping marijuana to a piece of paper with a stick figure drawing on it and charging for the “art,” Brown says he believes that tactic is “outside of the spirit of the law.”
Similar to a wine tasting tour, there will be three to five events throughout the tour that allow participants to sample the product. Brown gave examples such as a cannabis cooking class, in which an infused product manufacturer will come in and demonstrate how to make cannabis-infused oil, butter, desserts and other food items, which participants will be allowed to sample.
Another example Brown gave was having growers come in and teach participants how to grow different types of marijuana plants, and said the growers will be able to give small amounts of the plant to people in class.
“I don’t think anyone is going to walk away saying I wish I had more marijuana over there,” Brown said.
Since there was no requirement in Amendment 64 requiring a person to be a Colorado resident to consume marijuana recreationally, anyone 21 and older can go on the tour.
To ensure the business stays legal and open, Brown says the tour company plans to drill the rules of the amendment into the heads of participants, including that any marijuana can’t leave the state. And to ensure that the pot-tourists are not driving around a strange city while baked, Brown says the company has luxury transportation for participants.
While many Colorado residents have begun to get involved with the marijuana industry, hoping the green-rush will benefit them financially, Brown has been involved in the marijuana industry for years.
Diagnosed when he was 19 with Crohn’s disease, Brown moved to Colorado and became a licensed medical marijuana patient in 2007. He later went on to work as a business consultant specializing in setting up dispensaries, worked with the state legislature to write medical marijuana industry regulations and worked for a pharmaceutical cannabis company.