In Boston this weekend, attendees of the 2023 New England Cannabis Convention (NECANN) will have a special opportunity to learn about the growing field of cannabis tourism at a special presentation titled, “Cannabis Tourism: Adding Value for Cannabiz, Hospitality, and Travelers.”
The interactive 45-minute presentation is being given by Eli Harrington, founder and head cultivator of the Vermontijuana Farmstead and the Vermontijuana cannabis tours. Harrington recently spoke about cannabis tourism at the International Workshop on Agritourism in August 2022.
“My friend Ben from Off Piste Farm and I were talking about cannabis tourism on a chairlift in 2016 and have worked together ever since to show people our respective cultivation sites and to educate increasingly-curious consumers about cannabis.”
“We provide informational tours where we talk about the cultivation process and how cannabis is integrated into the other homestead activities, animals, and crops.”
Harrington clarified that as he and Wilcox are both licensed and regulated cultivators, cannabis tourists who visit are able to see — and smell — the plants from designated locations, but are not allowed to enter the licensed facilities or to purchase cannabis directly from their farms.
Harrington and Wilcox both see the tours as value-added products and marketing opportunities that set their outdoor cannabis cultivation facilities apart from their competition, especially those cultivating indoors.
However, the upcoming session also focuses on the conventional tourism and hospitality industries and how they can be more proactive in engaging with licensed cannabis operators.
“We’re at a point where the average New England and Canadian traveler has access to legal cannabis and expects to consume it while on vacation. It’s become a phenomenon too big for the conventional tourism operators to ignore so we want to encourage the restaurants, hotels, inns, tour operators, ski areas, breweries, etc to engage with their local cannabis community and at least be able to answer the cannabis questions their guests may have.
Harrington acknowledges that the cannabis industry still faces major challenges, specifically with the issue of where it’s legal to consume cannabis and who’s legally responsible for the consumption if there’s an issue with overconsumption or contamination.
“Even though a lot of this seems obvious when we’ve got regulations for alcohol — a much more dangerous substance — but it’s a low and slow approach where we’ve got to earn the trust of the tourism industry and make sure everyone is educating consumers as legal cannabis becomes social reality.”
NECANN session details:
March 11, 2023
Session Title: Cannabis Tourism: Adding Value for Cannabiz, Hospitality, and Travelers
Day/Date: Saturday, March 11, 2023
Start Time: 3:00 PM
Programming Room: 101
Purchase tickets for NECANN here. Learn more about the 2023 Vermont Cannabis Convention here.