The tourism sector and the economy as a whole took a major hit due to the pandemic all over the world. Maine’s fate wasn’t any different. Like other states in the U.S, Maine is currently on the path to economic redemption through whatever means necessary.
The government of Maine is keen on capitalizing on the newly affected cannabis legalization and decriminalization bill. This coupled with the calm and serene atmosphere on the streets of Maine is sure to attract a significant stream of tourists.
States like California and Colorado are perfect examples of how this cannatourism idea might work out. The appeal recreational cannabis has is quite massive; it pulls both locals and tourists together.
This summer is about to be lit with tourists already booking rooms and spaces for their “pot vacations”. Maine holds a lot of charm even without considering the availability of adult-use cannabis, the natural tourist attractions spots are also worth it.
Since the official retail sales of cannabis began in the last quarter of 2020, the state has seen a noticeable increase in the number of visiting tourists.
Brief Overview of Maine Cannabis Legalization
Maine has the slowest rollout of recreational weed legalization in US History. Voters in the state approved legalization almost 5 years ago in 2016. Legislation slowed down the progress of the bill by requesting various amendments. Gubernatorial vetoes, the pandemic as well as a change in government administration prevented the quick legislative approval of this bill.
When retail sales of weed started last October, only six stores were a license to supply cannabis in the state. By May 2021 the total number of retailers had increased to 34 with an astounding increase of $ 1 million generated through sales. (This information was gotten from the state office for Marijuana policy). Total sales generated from October up until a few weeks ago are nearing $ 6 million.
Hospitality Maine Seminar
In a seminar that took place a few days ago, Charlie Langston, managing director of Wellness connection, spoke on the role of cannabis in improving the tourist industry in Maine. Mr. Langston’s company is a popular retailer of marijuana products for medical and adult-use purposes. He is in charge of the four storefronts of the Wellness connection; two for recreational marijuana and the remaining two for medicinal marijuana. The company also runs a cultivation facility and an extraction laboratory located in Maine.
Mr. Langston is also of the view that Maine is going to experience a tourist boost in a couple of weeks.
Summer is just around the corner and it is the best period for tourist visits. Many people have been in contact with wellness connections for information on the steps to take to purchase recreational cannabis once they arrive in the state.
In his speech, Mr. Langston said that Maine can tread the path laid down by Colorado, the first state to legalize adult-use marijuana in the US.
Colorado boosted its tourist industry by 51% as far back as 2021 when it decriminalized recreational weed. The government claims that cannabis tourists spend as much as $ 161 per visit, and non-cannabis tourists spend way less than this. Langston emphasized a report from the Colorado Office of Tourism that states that 50% of tourists coming into Colorado each year have an intention of using recreational weed legally. Not to mention the millions of dollars raked in each year from adult-use and medical-use weed in Colorado. Just last year, the state made over two billion dollars in sales despite the raging pandemic.
Benefits of Cannatourism in Maine
Jobs and more jobs. Businesses will make added revenue as more tourists begin trooping into the state. There will be more demand for the services of local businesses and their products.
Cannabis-related businesses like lounges, coffee shops, and bars can help to stabilize the state’s economy by generating added revenue.
Maine’s hospitality industry also stands to gain a lot, as the tax revenues from cannabis-related businesses would be utilized to improve the industry. The effects of the pandemic will be drastically reduced as cannatourism takes root in Maine.
Some residents fear the expected boost in tourism this summer might increase the illegal activities in the city. It could also prevent the police force from monitoring the activities of legalities involved in using cannabis.
However, the government claims with proper record keeping as well as surveillance, it will be easy to guarantee the safety of the tourists and residents. It will also ascertain that marijuana is being provided within the legal limits.
Things to put in place
For cannatourism to work in Maine, all businesses involved in the sales of marijuana must educate themselves, as well as their employees on the rudiments of the approved cannabis legislation.
The government must also allocate spaces for cannabis consumption around the state as soon as possible. This would limit the amount of pollution due to smoking. Locations can be built for adult-use weed activities. Even hotels can modify their services to include CBD-infused products.
A popular hotel, Magis Lodge Hotel Group is one of the pro-cannabis lodges that are currently considering different means for their guests to utilize and consume cannabis. The executive manager, Phil Kronenthal, also agrees that pot has a high potential of boosting tourism. If other hotel groups can adopt this measure, more tourists will find visiting mine for cannabis-related reasons very appealing.
The present government must quickly develop an efficient system to generate profits instead of relying on only taxed sales for revenues. The regulatory body created mist also keeps a proper recording system for all legal cannabis-related activities in the state.
The numbers being expected this summer could fully resuscitate the hospitality industry in the state.
After a difficult and somewhat pandemic year, tourists are planning to enjoy the relaxing and therapeutic benefits of the pot while they take strolls around the calm streets of Maine.
The government and state residents only need to work hand-in-hand to figure out how to integrate cannatourism with other aspects of the Maine community, especially the traditional hotel experience.