Visit Mendocino County Taps Into $1.7 Billion U.S. Cannabis Tourism Niche

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Legal cannabis sales in the United States are expected to reach $37 billion by 2024, making it a growing business for tourism destinations. Legal cannabis and tourism-related activities will do the same for California as wine did for the state. Visit Mendocino County, a major player in the fabled Emerald Triangle of Northern California, is ready to show off its world-class cache.

The county’s cannabis and CBD products, along with those from Trinity and Humboldt counties, form the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States because of the region’s unique terroir and different microclimates. Although it may come as a surprise, Mendocino County’s highest revenue crop is cannabis, with 290 acres of approved cultivation totalling $131 million.

The “bud basket” of California, according to Forbes, is now a $1.7 billion sector for cannabis tourism. “Attracting this new market is key to smoking the competition*,” says Travis Scott, Executive Director of Visit Mendocino County, because “68 percent of Americans support adult use and half of millennials note access to legal recreational cannabis as important when choosing a vacation destination.”

Cannabis-related tourism is on the rise, whether you are looking to reconnect, improve your health, boost your creativity, or just relax in an ancient redwood grove. A new dispensary is not all that is attracting tourists these days. For cannabis lovers, events like VIP vineyard tours and estate tastings are just as enticing as those for wine connoisseurs, especially when they are combined with luxury products that set a place apart.

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RESTAURANT & CAFE

Mendocino, California, features a wide range of cannabis-friendly lodging alternatives, from the elegant Madrones to a seven-course micro-dosed supper at the Brambles. The MacCallum House in Mendocino, California, has a private balcony and Jacuzzi where you may gaze up at the sky.

Packages like this one contain everything you need for a night of drinking, including delivery and the option to relax in an elevated hot tub. Thatcher Hotel in Hopland, Oregon, has a contemporary minimalist design and a wide variety of cannabis-related activities.

Across the street, the MendoCann dispensary offers a wide variety of premium, locally sourced weeds, including the well-known Super Loud Farms Watermelon Mimosa variety. To wash the day away, pack it up and head to Thatcher’s alfresco lounge for a smoke and a homemade Penicillin drink.

The Madrones & Brambles, tucked away in Philo and flanked by vineyards and towering redwoods, are the ideal setting for a culinary canna-cation. Touring the five-acre Sugar Hill plantation with chef Bronson Macomber of Plato Verde Social Club is included in the weekend’s new Cannabis Tasting & Tour Weekends.

Yokayo Ranch, located on 40 generous acres west of Ukiah, is a great option for those who need lots of open space. It is time to “leave all judgments behind – unwind, reset and reconnect” at this secluded retreat with three types of lodgings: the 1950s Main House, the Bunk House; and the Pool Cabanas.

Yokayo Roots Farm, a saltwater pool, hot tub, outdoor fire pit and kitchen, and lots of room for sauntering and smoking are all on-site. Are you interested in having an in-depth encounter with Mother Nature?

The 160-acre property is maintained by legacy cannabis homesteaders and custodians of the environment, making it great for family reunions or “hiking-while-high” forest baths. Head north to Willits and visit the Emerald Triangle’s Cannabis Friendly Tent Camping site, which is ideal for both. Visit the Laytonville Sunday farmer’s market for top-notch weed.

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EXPERIENCES

In Mendocino County, there is no other way to get high and go around. Puff & Paint or “baked fresh daily” at Fort Bragg’s The Bakery, where artisanal cannabis products are displayed in bakery-style cases, are two options worth considering. The Plant shop in Ukiah is a great place to get a supply of sun-grown herbs or a therapeutic yoga session.

A comfortable half-acre Consumption Lounge is available on-site for those who want to indulge in their vices in a more social setting. Every Wednesday at 4:20 p.m., drop by Puff & Paint if the mood strikes you. The Compassionate Heart – the original home of the $5 pre-roll – has a great range of local green and a fun alfresco smoking room nearby.

Visit Kure Wellness, which has three locations and a stylish, shaded smoke room with a locally produced product for a group high. The Cannabis Culture Museum, located in Willits, California, is a little further north and has artefacts from the region’s long history of marijuana use as medicine, hemp culture, and the cannabis counterculture (by appointment).

The Bohemian Chemist in Anderson Valley, California’s wine country, is another must-see destination. Here you can find a custom-made selection of notions and potions housed in a restored Art Deco apothecary. Oak Terrace, a well-appointed Oak Terrace consuming lounge, and two adjacent wine tasting facilities are all within a stone’s throw of each other. Bohemian Chemist and other small artisan companies like Professor Snooks should be kept in stock.

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GREENLIGHT

As Napa was for wine, Mendocino represents the future of cannabis cultivation in the state. There are two new excursions that allow guests to get an intimate look at the emerald curtain and learn what makes this region’s green so breathtakingly beautiful.

On the Mendocino Experience, a four-plus-hour guided tour through the Redwood Valley, visitors can see a fully-operational sun-grown cannabis farm and an heirloom cultivation nursery on, the Northern California Cannabis Tour. Enjoy a relaxing afternoon of bud-tasting and photo opportunities while strolling around the fields with the master grower.

At Mendoexperience.com, the cost per person is $420.00. Emerald Farm Tours takes visitors to various nirvana, including Mendocino’s interior and Anderson Valley, a wine region known for its top-shelf Pinot Noir, sparkling wines, and dry Alsatian-style wines. The Mendocino County Cannabis Trail begins with a luxury Mercedes Sprinter bus arriving deep in the Mendocino redwoods for a hillside “weed walk” with a host producer, followed by a box lunch in the forest for $695.00/per person.

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