It’s a budding industry and one that tourism destinations are quickly cultivating, given legal cannabis sales within the U.S. are projected to hit $37 billion in 2024.
Even as wine turned California into a tourism hotspot, legal cannabis and tourism-related experiences are bound to blow the roof off.
A key player in Northern California’s legendary Emerald Triangle, Visit Mendocino County stands able to showcase its world-class cache.
Thanks to the region’s unique terroir and diverse microclimates, the county’s cannabis, CBD products, and Trinity and Humboldt counties represent the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States.
Not surprisingly, cannabis is Mendocino County’s top crop, ringing in at $131 million with 290 acres of licensed cultivation.
Forbes estimates cannabis tourism is now a $1.7 billion industry, and California’s “bud basket” is ripe for the take.
“With 68% of USA citizens supporting adult use and half of the millennials noting access to legal recreational cannabis as important when choosing a vacation destination, luring this new market is vital to smoking the competition,” says Travis Scott, executive of Visit Mendocino County.
Whether seeking to reconnect, build up wellness, boost creativity or chill in an ancient grove of redwoods, cannabis-related tourism is on the uptick. Travelers are seeking out quite just a novel dispensary.
Like the wine enthusiast hooked on VIP vineyard tours, estate tastings, wine education, and food and beverage pairings, cannabis lovers want equally alluring experiences, especially paired with luxury offerings that differentiate a destination.
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From a cannabis-forward occupy the sleek Madrones paired with a micro-dosed seven-course meal at the Brambles to a personal 20-acre camp tucked deep in the ancient redwoods, Mendocino features a diverse line-up of options for canna-curious travelers.
Slip into the celebs via a private deck and spa at the MacCallum House, set within the village of Mendocino. Here the “Everything But the Bud” package includes all the accouterments for imbibing – together with delivery service – and the freedom to enjoy in an elevated hot tub.
In Hopland, The Thatcher Hotel steps up with an up-to-date minimalist décor and plenty of cannabis opportunities.
Next door, MendoCann dispensary offers a variety of top-grade locally-grown green, including the favored Super Loud Farms Watermelon Mimosa. Pack it back for a smoke within the Thatcher’s Alfresco lounge, paired with a classic craft Penicillin cocktail, and wash the day away.
Tucked in Philo, surrounded by vineyards and towering redwoods, the Madrones and Brambles hit the sweet spot when it involves a canna-cation with a culinary slant.
The new Cannabis Tasting & Tour Weekends include a personal tour to the legacy five-acre Sugar Hill farm, lodging, and a cannabis-forward repast curated by San Francisco chef Bronson Macomber of Plato Verde Social Club.
If wide, open spaces are a must-have, pack the posse to Yokayo Ranch, and assail 40 gracious acres outside of Ukiah.
Here a cannabis-forward private retreat awaits, with the slogan “leave all judgments at the door – unwind, reset and reconnect.”
Three sorts of lodgings – a 1950s Main House, Bunk House, and Pool Cabanas – bring a comfortable stay for 29 guests. The property includes the working Yokayo Roots Farm, a saltwater pool, hot tub, alfresco firepit and kitchen, and many rooms to smoke and saunter.
Seeking a full-out rendezvous with Mother Nature? Head north to Willits and command the 20-acre Emerald Triangle’s Cannabis Friendly Tent campsite is ideal for an extended family reconnect or “hiking-while-high” forest bathing enthusiasts.
The 160-acre property is owned by legacy cannabis homesteaders and stewards of the land. Pop over to the Sunday farmer’s market in Laytonville for top-shelf bud.
How else can one toke and travel in Mendocino County? How a few “Puff & Paint” sessions or getting “baked fresh daily” at Fort Bragg’s The Bakery, featuring artisanal cannabis products presented in bakery-style display cases.
In Ukiah, visitors can tap into the Plant shop for a stash of local sun-grown herbs or a medicated yoga session. On-site, a spacious half-acre Consumption Lounge provides a secure and communal environment for imbibing.
If the urge suits, slip into the Puff & Paint sessions every Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. Nearby, the Compassionate Heart – the original home of the $5 pre-roll – offers a standout selection of local green with a playful alfresco smoke lounge.
For a collective high, look at Kure Wellness, with three outposts, offering a hip, shaded smoke lounge and locally sourced products. Farther north, Willits is home to the Cannabis Culture Museum, offering 50+ years of insight and ephemera on the traditional use of marijuana as medicine, hemp culture, cannabis counter-culture, and more.
Other key regional romps include visiting the Bohemian Chemist in wine-centric Anderson Valley. This is often the luxury stop with a bespoke line-up of notions and potions set in a vintage Art Deco apothecary.
Focused on sun-grown cannabis, edibles, and tinctures – with a well-appointed Oak Terrace consumption lounge and two adjacent gathering venues. Stockpile Bohemian Chemist’s signature house products and other small craft brands like Professor Snooks.
What Napa was to wine, Mendocino is to California cannabis. Two new tours take visitors behind the emerald curtain for an indoor look into the legacy cultivation and offer solid schooling on what makes this region’s green so spectacular.
The Northern California Cannabis Tour’s Mendocino Experience offers a four+ hour guided tour that dips deep into the Redwood Valley with a visit to a fully-operating sun-grown cannabis farm and heirloom cultivation nursery.
Meet the master grower and luxuriate in an afternoon of bud-tasting by the koi ponds while wandering among the crops for the ultimate Instagram post. $420.00/2 people.
From Mendocino’s interior to the sharp contrast of Anderson Valley, a wine region sporting top-shelf Pinot Noir, and sparkling and dry Alsatian-style wines, Emerald Farm Tours offers a special slice of nirvana.
Tuck away for the Mendocino County Cannabis Trail, starting with a luxury Mercedes Sprinter bus arriving deep within the Mendocino redwoods for a hillside “weed walk” with a host grower, followed by a box lunch within the forest, $695.00/per person.