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When Will In-Person Cannabis Events and Gatherings Return?

As the coronavirus took hold of the world in early March, governments, scientists, and doctors around the globe began the unrolling of policies to help slow the transmission of COVID-19. Included in those recommendations: wash your hands, try to stay a…

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As the coronavirus took hold of the world in early March, governments, scientists, and doctors around the globe began the unrolling of policies to help slow the transmission of COVID-19. Included in those recommendations: wash your hands, try to stay at least six feet away from people, and don’t gather in large groups. In fact, some large gatherings have been dubbed “super spreader” events because of mass transmission during the event. Under day-to-day circumstances, one infected person is likely to infect two other people. However, indoor events that invite people together to eat, sing, or talk loudly appear to be high-risk.

Take, for example, the Chicago funeral where the virus transmitted from one person sickened 16 people and killed three. Or the choir practice in Washington, where one infected person unknowingly transmitted the virus to 52 people, two of whom died.

The cancellation of SXSW (not technically a cannabis event, but one that is very cannabis-friendly), one of the first large scale events to postpone their annual gathering began a domino effect, as event after event said that they, too, would cancel or postpone.

Luckily, cannabis event planners moved quickly to help stop the spread by cancelling 4/20 events and creating virtual events.

Some events, like Colorado’s NOCO Hemp Expo originally scheduled for March 26-28, is slated to take place August 6-8, though that too may be up in the air as coronavirus hot spots continue to pop up across the country.

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Canceled Cannabis Events Due to COVID-19

Here’s a look at some of the events either canceled or in flux due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

Canceled Cannabis Events:

  • 2020 Cannabis Conference
  • 420 Vancouver
  • American Herbal Products Association
  • Baltimore Cannabis Relief Festival
  • California Cannabis Industry Association Policy Conference
  • Cannabis Business Summit & Expo
  • Cannabis Conference 2020
  • Cannabis Wedding Expo
  • Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo
  • CannaCon Detroit
  • Coachella
  • Emerald Cup
  • Hall of Flowers
  • High Times Cannabis Cup Central Valley
  • MedCan Summit 2020
  • Michigan Hash Bash
  • Mile High 420 Festival
  • National Cannabis Festival
  • National Cannabis Industry Association summit
  • National Cannabis Risk Management Association (NCRMA) conference
  • NeCann Boston
  • Ohio Cannabis Health and Business Summit
  • Southern Hemp Expo
  • Spannabis
  • Women in Cannabis Summit

If there’s one piece of good news, all these cancellations and postponements that happened just before the 4/20 holiday provided an opportunity for creative pivots toward virtual events. For now, the simplest way to get in on all the virtual happenings is to visit the website of the gathering you are interested in attending to see if it has been canceled or postponed.

When Will In-Person Cannabis Events Happen Again?

As for when it will be safe for us to gather together again, whether at an expo, conference, festival, or concert is to be determined. Like cannabis legalization, coronavirus-era policies vary from state-to-state. The Centers for Disease Control has provided interim guidance for organizations wishing to have mass gatherings, but the prevailing thought here is basically to not have them.

Events

It is still uncertain when cannabis events in-person will return. photo credit

Peter Bach, director of the Center for Health Policy and Outcomes told CNBC, “Concerts, sports, conferences, and festivals may be entertaining, but they’re not essential to life. It’s certainly not very high on my list of concerns as far as a return to normalcy…” He goes on to predict that large group events will probably be one of the last things to return to normal, barring a vaccine. Scientists and researchers are indeed racing to find a cure, but a vaccine release date is still undetermined.


As the pandemic unfolds around us in real time, there is little for us to do but be patient and practice the recommendations offered by the CDC to minimize exposure: wash hands frequently, wear face coverings in public, avoid close contact with others, and stay home if you think you could be sick. Not only does this protect you, but it also protects others, so we can all get back to cannabis business as usual.

Photo Credit: Jason Leung (license)

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Amsterdam

Amsterdam’s loss to be a gain for cannabis tourism in Toronto?

The doors of Amsterdam’s cannabis coffee shops have long been open to Canadians and other tourists. But that may change. Under Halsema’s proposal — supported by police and prosecutors — only Dutch residents would be allowed to enter the shops in an att…

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The doors of Amsterdam’s cannabis coffee shops have long been open to Canadians and other tourists. But that may change. Under Halsema’s proposal — supported by police and prosecutors — only Dutch residents would be allowed to enter the shops in an attempt to tackle problems associated with hard drugs, organized crime linked to the marijuana trade, and the city being overrun by tourists on the weekends. – Read the entire article at Toronto Sun.

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Travel

Will 420-Friendly Lodging be Popular Post-COVID?

It’s a New Year, but the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. In fact, turning the calendar page onto 2021 only greeted us with news of an even more transmissible variant of the virus, a piece of disheartening news as states in the U.S. and countries ar…

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It’s a New Year, but the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. In fact, turning the calendar page onto 2021 only greeted us with news of an even more transmissible variant of the virus, a piece of disheartening news as states in the U.S. and countries around the world recommence widespread shutdowns and many hospital ICU’s are bursting beyond capacity. The hotel industry – from mega-chains like Marriott to the local 420 friendly bed and breakfast – has incurred a lot of financial damage from COVID because of travel restrictions and general consumer fear of traveling while the pandemic plays out. While it’s certain COVID has negatively impacted cannabis tourism, one question remains to be seen. Will canna-tourism and the demand for 420 friendly lodging be strong once it becomes safe to travel?

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COVID-19 and the Hotel Industry

While it’s harder to quantify the losses of a boutique hotel, or bed and breakfast, one need only look as far as the required financial disclosures of some large hotel chains. Booking at Hilton hotel chains, as an example, dropped more than 81 percent in 2020 and put the company in the red to the tune of $430 million dollars. 

There may be a silver lining. When news broke in December that the FDA had approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, hotel booking platforms like Kayak and Priceline as well hotel chains like Marriott, Best Western and Hyatt, saw their largest daily booking bumps since COVID began its furious spread through the country last March.

It’s even harder to understand how the average 420 friendly lodging accommodation has suffered during the pandemic. But given the recent great news on the vaccine and subsequent hotel booking upturn, it’s safe to assume that 420 friendly lodging will see similar popularity post-COVID.

The Return of Cannabis Tourism and 420 Friendly Lodging?

Weed-friendly lodging not only brings tourists to specific destinations like Denver or Las Vegas, but contributes to local economies like restaurants, museums, shopping centers, and sports and entertainment venues. Getting tourism back to its pre-COVID state is an important part of a thriving economy overall. However, what is unique to tourists interested in cannabis is that they tend to pick destinations specifically because the state has legal weed.

Someone paying with a credit card

Compared to other tourists, cannabis tourists spend more money on average during their trip. photo credit

Another interesting tidbit about cannabis tourists is that they tend to spend more money during their travels. Looking at Colorado as an example, tourists who cited cannabis as their primary reason for visiting the Centennial State spent more money during their visit, around $2,030 on average, than their non-consuming counterparts who spent around $1,869.  While a difference of $161 dollars may not seem like a lot, over time (and with enough people) that can add up to a lot of cash. 

Bud and breakfasts and other cannabis-friendly lodgings do not comprise a large percentage of overall tourism on the whole, though they may play a larger role in well-established tourist markets like Colorado, or cities whose economies are driven by visitors like Las Vegas. However, that doesn’t mean that 420-friendly lodging won’t be vital to the revitalization of local economies post-COVID. For example, they are better positioned to connect their lodgers to a uniquely local experience by directing visitors to local dispensaries and their unique offerings.

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The Future of 420 Friendly Lodging

Even though access to legal cannabis is more widespread than ever, there are still some touristy areas like the Berkshires in Massachusetts that haven’t had an opportunity to grow a cannabis tourism industry and affiliated 420 friendly lodging due to the lingering effects of cannabis prohibition.  

Will 420-friendly lodging be popular post-COVID? It seems that people, in general, are champing at the bit and are ready to go somewhere – anywhere – other than where they have been sheltering for more than nine months. And judging by the hotel booking spike on news of the vaccine, the answer seems to point to a resounding yes, though perhaps not as soon as we’d all like.


In the meanwhile, get to dreaming (and planning!) about your 420 vacation by checking out our collection of 420-friendly travel guides that cover many legal states across the country. 

Photo Credit: Private room in house hosted by Leah & David (license)

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Article

Will Cannabis Tourism Lead The Way To Economic Recovery?

The events of recent months – which, at no risk of ambiguity, will not be discussed here – have created something of a roadblock for nearly every industry that was, just twelve months ago, thriving in the global marketplace. Not least among those indus…

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The events of recent months – which, at no risk of ambiguity, will not be discussed here – have created something of a roadblock for nearly every industry that was, just twelve months ago, thriving in the global marketplace. Not least among those industries is the world of travel and tourism which, on both a local, national and international level, has ground to a halt for nigh-on twelve months. There are plenty of ideas swirling…

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