You’ve heard of ecotourism – how about pot tourism? As more states legalize marijuana, it looks like the tourism industry will get a big boost from legal pot sales. Currently only two states allow recreational cannabis sales, Colorado, and recently, Washington. While you may think that the massive profits they are racking up are from residents in the state, you may be surprised (or not) to hear that tourists from out-of-state make up nearly half of the recreational marijuana sales.
While May sales for cannabis in Colorado are slightly lower than last month, the state still pulled in a whopping $21 million in sales (down from $22 million in April). Colorado has instituted an excise sales tax, and the state collected $4,775,679 from marijuana-related sales tax in June, 2014 alone.
The interesting bit as cannabis sellers move forward, is that many of their customers are traveling for several thousand miles to get their hands on some product. Yeah, tourists make up a sizable percentage of legal recreational purchases, especially in ski-resort areas.
The Denver Post reports:
“The study, released Wednesday, found that out-of-state visitors make up nearly half of recreational marijuana sales in the Denver area — and 90 percent of recreational sales in mountain resort communities.”
Furthermore, the report states that the top 22 percent of cannabis consumers in Colorado account for over 66% of the total sales. This means that Colorado is enjoying mostly repeat customers. Roughly 9 percent of Colorado citizens are now consuming recreational pot at least once a month.
Nonetheless, medical sales of cannabis still far outpace recreational sales. To compare, approximately $165 million have been sold in medical marijuana with just $90 million being sold for recreational use. While it is awesome that recreational marijuana is available, it is probably a good sign that sales are more geared toward the medical side.
The numbers on tourism and pot sales have yet to come out of Washington, but they are likely similar since only two states currently allow recreational use. These numbers will also likely affect outcomes in two additional states considering recreational pot legalization in the near future– Alaska and Oregon.