Study: Legal Weed Takes Colo. Tourism to New Highs

Nearly half of tourists surveyed came to Colorado at least in part because of pot
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2015 5:54 PM CST
Customers shop for marijuana inside The Grass Station recreational marijuana store in Denver. A new survey found legal weed has been a boon for Colorado tourism.   (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley)

(Newser) – Legal marijuana is taking tourism in Colorado to new highs, if a new study is to be believed. The Denver Post reports a study commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office found nearly 49% of Colorado visitors between April and September came at least in part because of pot. "I think it is rearing its head as a significant travel and tourism amenity for visitors coming to Colorado," a former tourism office head says. The survey also showed 20% of potential tourists were more likely to visit Colorado because of legal weed compared to 15% who were less likely. Somewhat surprisingly, only 8% of tourists surveyed admitted to actually visiting a marijuana dispensary while in the state.

A smaller study out of Fort Lewis College found most tourists come to Colorado for other reasons, but legal marijuana is "the icing on the cake," the Durango Herald reports. According to the Post, Colorado has welcomed a record number of tourists in the past two years. Prior to the study, tourism officials had been crediting that increase solely to "savvy marketing." The Colorado Tourism Office spent more than $5.3 million on a new advertising campaign, which doesn't mention pot at all, Colorado Public Radio reports. But it shouldn't be that way, the owner of one pot tourism company tells the Post: "The state of Colorado has had an amazing opportunity to embrace this industry. It is a complete advantage for Colorado to become the Napa Valley and Sonoma County of cannabis." (Read more Colorado stories.)

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