PHOTO: Humboldt Social
Cannabis connoisseurs give us the lowdown on this budding industry’s potential for growth.
California reopened for business in June, which means weed tourism is very firmly back on the agenda, especially for local tourists who are keen to experience the “high” points of what the state has to offer.
Covid-19’s impact has meant tourism has taken a massive hit in this perennially popular region that has long been a favorite destination amongst all types of travelers as it appeals to many different interests, including wine and weed.
Pre-pandemic, there was speculation about whether weed tourism would overtake the winery visits that are a staple for bringing in travelers to many Californian regions, but Van Solkov, founder of Happy Travelers weed tours in Sonoma believes there is room for both.
While he doubts weed tourism will “overtake” winery tours, he thinks the experiences complement each other well. “There are explorers who come primarily for wine tourism but realize they can enjoy a cannabis experience as well. Many of my guests come to Sonoma for wine but get bored after a few days and find Happy Travelers because they’re looking for something else to do!”
Despite a promising start when he began in 2018, he admits the pandemic “crushed” Happy Travelers alongside every other tourism-based business in California and they only did 30 tours in 2020. In an effort to diversify they created a “High Tea Experience” where they delivered CBD-infused teas and treats to guests at their rented accommodation, but only achieved modest success due to the lack of tourists. It’s something they are hoping to reboot for the public now that people are using hotels again.
Thankfully, Solkov can say they are busy with tours again, and with a brand-new 14-seater they are set to