COLORADO: Nick Remaklus, born and raised in Kentucky, was one of them. As soon as he got some time off work, he headed to Denver to check out America’s new smokers’ oasis. “It was great. I took a wonderful tour and learned so much about the industry,” says the 29-year-old. “It just felt great to know I wasn’t doing something illegal.”
Remaklus is one of the growing number of visitors flocking to Washington and Colorado in search of some once-forbidden grass, creating a brand-new vice tourism industry. Fun for tourists; lucrative source of income for those states.
Tours are popping up in Denver and Seattle, slowly transforming them into cannabis meccas offering everything from good old-fashioned weed sampling to first-class pot cooking classes where visitors can learn to make THC-infused ricotta-stuffed bell peppers.
Local dispensaries have been the first to notice a surge in out-of-state customers. “We’ve found that upwards of 80 percent of our revenue is coming from bordering states that have not yet legalized recreational marijuana,” says Ryan Griego, managing partner at Cannasseur, a recreational dispensary in southern Colorado, just an hour and a half away from the state border. Most visitors are from Texas, Kansas and Utah.