By: Mishal Charania
As the legalization of marijuana has been more prevalent throughout the United States, cannabis tourism has become equally as popular. Selling cannabis for retail use was legalized in Michigan in 2019 and since then, the number of dispensaries have increased tremendously throughout Southeast Michigan.
Cannabis tourism is defined by CNBS as “Whether people are traveling from their marijuana-friendly states to see how green the grass is on the other side or are planning a marijuana vacation to experience the fun of spending time in a legal state or country, cannabis tourism has given rise to tax revenue for governments, great opportunity for businesses, as well as challenges for travelers and local authorities.” These types of activities can be individualised to the person or structured with festivals, guided tours, clubs, etc.
Tourism has become so popular, particularly in Michigan, that just last month on October 6, the Michigan Cannabis Hospitality Industry Growth Organization (MiCHIGO) was formed. The non-profit is based in Ann Arbor and was formed by members of the local cannabis business community as a way to “promote safe and responsible cannabis experiences in Michigan’s sprawling tourism and hospitality industry” and “helping businesses unlock new revenue opportunities that will lead to job creation and increased commerce.”
The chair of MiCHIGO Lisa Altschuler Liberman announced that the organization will be conducting a cannabis travel and hospitality study in order to further the cannabis industry in Michigan with the results being shared at the Michigan Festivals and Events Association Conference. They are also consistently hosting and promoting events that relate to the promotion of recreational cannabis use in Michigan.
“Our alliance consists of small and mid-size companies from all corners of the state, as well as individuals from all walks of life. We are a strong organization because we embrace the rich and diverse perspectives of our members, who collectively hold decades of experience in travel and hospitality,” Liberman said.
Serge Chistov, of Honest Marijuana Company and cannabis industry expert stated, “In the great state of Michigan, where legalized recreational use of cannabis is relatively new—late 2019—tourism focused businesses have embraced the idea wholeheartedly. From private members only supper clubs with fine dining and cannabis infused cocktails to guest cottages and resorts, there are a lot of options. One notable and original standout are the Mary Jane “CannaBUS” tours in Ann Arbor, an entertainment company that takes visitors 21+ to visit a grow operation, as well as a dispensary, all the while learning about how the cannabis industry has evolved in the area.”
MaryJane Tours’ “CannaBUS” provides a “guide to cannabis, wellness, laughter, and the reasons why Ann Arbor is on the forefront of cannabis advocacy.” Participants (must be 21 and older) will explore and learn about the history of cannabis and growing while traveling the area in a party bus. Keep an eye out for MaryJane Tours’ next events on their Facebook page. Another similar event is the Wacky Weed Tours where participants walk around the downtown area visiting cannabis stores and learning about the history of cannabis in Ann Arbor.
Just like MaryJane Tours is revolutionizing how people from Washtenaw County can experience recreational marijuana, WineWood Organics is a local “marijuana microbusiness”. The facility grows their plants on the property and has lots of products to offer.
According to their website, WineWood Organics “believe[s] the secret to quality cannabis comes from healthy plants grown as naturally as possible. In our grow rooms, nutrient injected grow cubes are replaced by organic soil and purified water. Chemical pesticides are replaced by a natural, holistic integrated pest management system. An automated irrigation system is replaced by the green thumb of a real person.”
Being a microbusiness means that the amount that they can cultivate at a time is limited, so if interested, one can see what they have growing and order online.
These types of events, businesses, and organizations are all committed to improving and participating in the ever-growing cannabis economy in our area. With this, people who are over 21 are encouraged to participate as well by booking a tour or just checking out one of the many dispensaries.