Explosive growth in the legal cannabis market has stirred up excitement amongst industry analysts. A team of analysts from Data Bridge Market Research predicts that, by 2026, the global cannabis market will swell to $110.7 million.
The prediction suggests that, considering previous estimates, the global industry will expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 32.2 percent between 2019 and 2026. With colossal growth expected for the industry at large and more places on the world map legalizing weed, cannabis tourism is on the rise.
What is cannabis tourism?
The 4/20 craze is spreading and with 11 U.S. states now having legalized weed for recreational purposes, is it any wonder why? (If you check out the official Washington tourism website, you’ll notice that there’s even a designated section all about marijuana tourism!)
It’s not just the States that’s jumping on the “Green Rush” express but also, Canada (since October 2018) and a number of other countries around the world. Cannabis tourism is not entirely dependent on the plant being legalized, however, what with a number of countries around the world capitalizing on the sector after decriminalizing the drug.
So, without further ado, let’s find out where on the world map weed aficionados are venturing to amidst the rise of legal pot.
Where are the best places on the planet to puff the herb?
Not sure where to vacation for the best 4/20 experience? Below, we discuss just a handful of global destinations that are quickly becoming the to-go spots for cannabis connoisseurs:
- Amsterdam, the Netherlands – The most famous of them all, Amsterdam is a fascinating city boasts some 250 coffee shops, including Barney’s Coffeeshop, Amnesia, Bluebird, The Bulldog, Smoke Palace and Mellow Yellow. If you usually mix tobacco with your weed, prepare to substitute it with the herbal mix you’ll find inside each coffee shop here. A law banned tobacco-smoking inside public spaces in July of 2008. There’s also a ‘Red Light District’ if you’re into that sort of thing.
- Vancouver, Canada – Canada legalized weed last year and Vancouver has quickly adapted to become the main cannabis tourism hotspot in the country. It has even been given the nickname “Vansterdam” after Amsterdam. Tourists can find heaps of spaces in which they can consume their weed socially and legally. The Marijuana Party of Canada is also headquartered here.
- Barcelona, Spain – Cannabis hasn’t been legalized at a governmental level in Spain, but the plant has been decriminalized. Locals can grow a couple of their own plants and private social smoking clubs can be found tucked away in street corners throughout the country. For access to over 300 cannabis clubs, check out Barcelona. Get ready to fork out for a membership fee, but don’t worry… it’s worth it. You’ll get exclusive member’s access to the clubs for a year, inside which you can buy bud, use the bongs, and claim your free rolling papers and tobacco.
- India, everywhere – Narcotics, like weed, are illegal in India. However, smoking cannabis is seen as a sign of worship to the Hindu god Shiva by the religion’s followers. Indians have been enjoying weed since as far back as 2000 BCE. Ganja (flower), charas (resin) and bhang (the plant’s leaves and seeds brewed into a drink) are frequently consumed throughout India. If you’re careful and you know where to seek out your herbs, you’re sure to have a good time in this spiritually cleansing country.
- Kingston, Jamaica – The locals in Kingston call weed ‘ganja’ and you’d better not disrespect their favorite herb when visiting! Cannabis is considered an integral part of the culture and despite being illegal for recreational purposes, possession of small amounts has been permitted since 2015… Well, if you call 56 grams a small amount. Should you be passing by, make sure you visit Kingston’s first legal cannabis room, which is housed inside the Kaya Herb House in Ocho Rios.
- Las Vegas, Nevada – What will you find in the 28th-most populated city in the United States? Quite a lot actually, but most recently, a thriving cannabis industry. As of January 1, 2017, the plant was legalized for recreational purposes and recently, the Las Vegas City Council approved licenses for “social use venues” to open their doors near Vegas’ playground of casinos.
- Nimbin, Australia – Snuggled alongside the Northern Rivers of New South Wales is a hipster village called Nimbin. Situated 43 miles west of Byron Bay, the village was first descended upon by hippies who were attending the Aquarius Festival in 1973. The hipsters never left and have greatly contributed to this place becoming Australia’s epicenter of cannabis law reform. Dealers roam the streets and most coffee shops permit smoking in the village, where the MardiGrass festival takes place every year.
- Oakland, California – California boasts the largest cannabis market in the U.S., having legalized the plant for both medical and recreational purposes, not to mention the fact that the population is on a par with America’s Northern neighbor, Canada. Oakland is one of the most progressive cities in California and is known for hosting some of the state’s 4/20 themed events. Planning on visiting? Get your hands on a maximum of one ounce if you’re a tourist.
- Portland, Oregon – Oregon decriminalized the possession of small amounts of weed before any other U.S. state. It was also one of the first states to legalize medical cannabis and if you make your way to the district of Portland, you’ll stumble across quite a number of smoker’s hangouts, including Chalice Farms, Doctor’s Orders, Rose City Wellness Center and Green Gratitude.
- South Africa – Western Cape High Court in South Africa recently ruled that cannabis prohibition is unconstitutional. Now, private cannabis use is legal in the country, which is home to millions of enthusiasts. The climate is pristine for cannabis cultivation, with farmers yielding plants in the “dagga belt” region. Many different locales have started welcoming an influx of tourism over the last few years, with high-grade buds flooding into markets like Kenya and Tanzania. Check the event schedule for your destination of choice prior to visiting, so as not to miss out on one of the many cannabis expos or 4/20 events that happen year-round.
Being Cautious About Traveling with Weed by Plane or Car
Don’t let the excitement of getting into vacation mode cause you to make a costly mistake when traveling. Getting slammed with a drug trafficking charge is highly possible if you try smuggling weed from one of the aforementioned 4/20 tourism hotspots to wherever you live. The same applies when crossing the U.S. border!
According to a statement published on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Transportation Security Administration (TSA) website, “Possession of marijuana and cannabis infused products, such as Cannabidiol (CBD) oil, is illegal under federal law.” The TSA claims that officers must report suspected violations local, state or federal authorities.
On that note, it’s not worth risking bringing some bud or broad spectrum oils back with you from your trip. On a more positive note, things could soon be changing, with what Congress rumored to be heavily focused on legalizing weed at the federal level.