In a newly developing legal market, cannabis has been making its way into the public eye in more ways than dispensaries alone. As the cannabis industry begins thriving in Chicago and Illinois as a whole, opportunities have been opening up for cannabis-adjacent industries to find their footing in the Illinois business world post-legalization.
One company, Chi High Tours, is the first of its kind for the city. Instead of pushing for a license to operate a dispensary, Chi High Tours is the first official cannabis tour to hit Chicago. The company offers a handful of tours that highlight Chicago culture, history, local businesses, and of course, cannabis.
While the company exists on the cusp of this great economic renaissance that always comes along with the green rush in newly legalized markets, Chi High Tours firmly believes that the Windy City will be one of the latest cities to climb its way to the top of the booming cannabis tourism industry. In fact, founder and CEO James Gordon believes that Chicago is set to be the next top tourism destination.
In 2019, a full year before cannabis was legalized in Illinois, Chicago saw record-breaking tourism numbers, attracting a whopping 117 million visitors to the city. With that in mind, it’s clear that people are already visiting Chicago in record numbers, far surpassing places like Los Angeles and Las Vegas where cannabis tourism is booming. That said, there are already so many people visiting Chicago, even without legal cannabis—a good sign for additional streams of tourism in Illinois.
“Adding legal cannabis to the mix creates an opportunity to attract more tourists that are visiting legal states for the sole purpose of partaking in recreational cannabis use and tourism,” Gordon said. In a study conducted by the department of tourism in Colorado,