First US Pot Tourism Company Launches in Denver

First US Pot Tourism Company Launches in Denver

By Victoria Kim 04/01/13

"My 420 Tours" offer a week of events, from concerts to cooking classes, in celebration of 4/20.

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Colorado is famous for its annual 420
celebration.
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Following the recent passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado, which legalized recreational marijuana possession of up to one ounce for those 21 and older, two Denver entrepreneurs have launched the country's first marijuana tourism company. In celebration of the worldwide marijuana holiday on April 20th, My 420 Tours has a full week's schedule of events planned for visitors as part of "World Cannabis Week." This includes car service from the airport to a "420 friendly" hotel, cooking classes, Home Grow Cultivation 101, concerts, bus tours, daily 4:20PM Happy Hour parties, and more. These packages range from $499 to $849 per person, and about 160 people have signed up so far. Since recreational marijuana sales remain illegal for at least a few more months in Colorado, the company won't be doling out marijuana to its clients. But participants will enjoy access to certain events—such as the High Times Cannabis Cup—where pot is likely to be shared freely and legally. Matt Brown, one half of the entrepreneurial duo behind My 420 Tours, describes his vision for the week-long event: "This is not about coming to Colorado to get wrecked and smoke as much pot as you can and be a degenerate stoner hippie. We've modeled World Cannabis Week as a cross between a wine tour of Napa Valley and the best concert or entertainment experience you can imagine." 

Still, not everyone is thrilled about the budding industry. Prior to the passage of Amendment 64, many tourism officials were against marijuana legalization and warned potential pot tourists that the drug is illegal under federal law. "Colorado's brand will be damaged, and we may attract fewer conventions and see a decline in leisure travel," said Visit Denver president Richard Scharf before the election. Al White, the director of the Colorado Tourism Office, said he appreciate's the "entrepreneurial spirit" driving My 420 Tours but he also believes pot tourism could harm the state's outdoorsy, family-friendly image. "Legalized marijuana promotes just the opposite," he said. But Brown, and his business partner James Walker, say their business is no different from wine-country tours, and could benefit a wide range of potential travelers. "Whatever happens," said Brown, "this [year's event] will be one to remember and say, 'I was there.'"