The Bay Area is already a tourist Mecca with millions of people flocking there every year, flooding the local economy with billions of dollars.
But now, with the legalization of recreational marijuana, new entrepreneurs are popping up trying to cash in on travelers looking to make a pot pilgrimage.
On Wednesday, KRON4 looks at some companies which cater to those who are both sightseers, as well as stoners.
It didn’t take long for spliffs to get sparked onboard the tour bus that picked up a group of day-trippers who signed up for a Cannabis Tours excursion
While the chauffeur sits in the sealed-off and then smoke-free cab, the tour guides join in the party atmosphere, indulging in cannabis concentrates.
The owner of the Denver-based business has expanded the touring company into eight different locations where pot is legal to consume.
“We want to be able to continue to promote normalization because that’s gonna help legalization happen nationwide, so having conversations about it and helping people realize cannabis is for everyone who is an adult. It’s not just a typical pot smoker stoner anymore,” Cannabis Tours Co-Founder and President Heidi Keyes said.
Many on this tour did not want their faces shown, mostly because they worried about what would happen if their bosses saw what they were up to on vacation. This tour matches up cannabis with the Bay Area’s other most popular crop when it comes to soaking up tourist dollars–wine.
After stopping at Oakland’s Magnolia Dispensary to get advice about purchasing pot products, they then stop in at two different locations to sip whites and reds–after they’ve smoked their share of green.
The manager at the Rigger’s Loft Tasting Room in Richmond, Star Valdez, was shocked at first at the idea of pairing up with a tour group specializing in stoners.
But now, she looks forward to when the cannabis tour bus pulls in.
“They are chill, and I love it there, some of the best customers that we have,” Valdez said.
And while some drinkers believe it’s not OK to mix grapes and grains, it turns out there is no similar rule for mixing grapes with grass.
Those who came along on this pot pilgrimage says it’s a good mix.
“There’s an elegance to it like…I’m not just gonna go to the park and smoke,” Kate Konstantynowicz said. “I’m gonna go have a nice day, drink some wine, have some fun.”
Not all pot-related excursions offered in the Bay Area are as smoke-filled.
A group was taking a behind-the-scenes look at Jetty Extracts, one of the many different Oakland businesses specializing in cannabis products. It’s part of Emerald Farms Tours’ Seed to Sale Tour.
In addition to checking out how cannabis oils are extracted from pot plants, they also walked through a local nursery and ended at the Harborside dispensary to learn about and purchase pot, if so inclined.
The tour operators, who also give a cultural cannabis tour of San Francisco, say they are doing this to help be ambassadors for this brand new industry.
So whether it’s a mobile pot party or a learning experience, both tour companies say they plan to expand their operations as the California cannabis industry continues to grow.
Learn more about Cannabis Tours on their website.