Study Finds Legal Marijuana Motivates Many Tourists to Visit Colorado

An increasing number of tourists are deciding to visit Colorado because of the state’s law allowing recreational marijuana, according to a study commissioned by the state’s tourism office.

Potential summertime visitors who were exposed to the state’s tourism ads said the marijuana laws influenced vacation decisions almost 49 percent of the time, The Denver Post reports.

“I think it is rearing its head as a significant travel and tourism amenity for visitors coming to Colorado,” said Al White, who retired as heads of the Colorado Tourism Office in August and now serves on the board of a cannabis tourism company.

The director of the survey noted the results may not reflect the opinion of people who decided not to travel to Colorado because of legal marijuana. She noted only 8 percent of the Colorado tourists who responded to the survey said they visited a marijuana dispensary.

“I think definitely the laws are having an influence when people are considering Colorado. We can see that it’s still not a large percentage in terms of what people are doing, but it’s become more of a motivator for those who want to do it,” said Denise Miller, Director of Tourism Surveys for Strategic Marketing and Research Insights. “It’s certainly having some influence — both, I think, positive and negative — on that decision process.”

While the state’s tourism ad campaign does not mention marijuana, 22 percent of survey respondents said the drug was “extremely influential” in their decision to visit Colorado. In addition, 20 percent said it was “very much influential” and nearly 7 percent said it was “somewhat influential.”

Of the 8 percent who visited a dispensary, 85 percent said marijuana was a main reason they visited Colorado, up from 29 percent last year.