MENDOCINO COUNTY, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–It’s a budding industry and one that tourism destinations are quickly cultivating given legal cannabis sales in the U.S., are projected to hit $37 billion in 2024*. Just as wine turned California into a tourism hotspot, legal cannabis and tourism-related experiences are certain to blow the roof off. A key player in Northern California’s legendary Emerald Triangle, Visit Mendocino County stands ready to showcase its world-class cache. Due to the region’s unique terroir and diverse microclimates – the county’s cannabis and CBD products – coupled with Trinity and Humboldt counties – represent the largest cannabis-producing region in the United States. Not surprisingly, cannabis is Mendocino County’s top cash crop, ringing in at $131 million with 290 acres of licensed cultivation+. https://www.visitmendocino.com/canna-curious/.
Forbes estimates cannabis tourism is now a $1.7 billion industry and California’s “bud basket” is ripe for the take. “With 68% of Americans supporting adult use and half of millennials noting access to legal recreational cannabis as important when choosing a vacation destination, luring this new market is key to smoking the competition,*” says Travis Scott, Executive Director of Visit Mendocino County.
Whether seeking to reconnect, ramp up wellness, boost creativity or chill in an ancient grove of redwoods, cannabis-related tourism is on the uptick. Travelers are seeking out more than just a novel dispensary. Like the wine enthusiast hooked on VIP vineyard tours, estate tastings, wine education and food and beverage pairings, cannabis lovers want experiences that are equally alluring, especially paired when with luxury offerings that differentiate a destination.
HOSPITALITY/FOOD & BEVERAGE
From a cannabis-forward stay at the sleek Madrones paired with a micro-dosed seven-course meal at the Brambles, to a private 20-acre camp tucked deep in the ancient redwoods, Mendocino has a diverse line-up of options for canna-curious travelers. Slip into the stars via a private deck and spa at the MacCallum House, set in the village of Mendocino. Here the “Everything But the Bud” package includes all the accoutrements for imbibing – along with delivery service – and the freedom to enjoy in an elevated hot tub. In Hopland, The Thatcher Hotel steps up with a contemporary minimalist décor and plenty of cannabis opportunities. Next door, MendoCann dispensary offers a selection of top-grade locally-grown green, including the popular Super Loud Farms Watermelon Mimosa. Pack it back for a smoke in the Thatcher’s alfresco lounge, paired with classic craft Penicillin cocktail and wash the day away.
Tucked in Philo, surrounded by vineyards and towering redwoods, the Madrones and Brambles hit the sweet spot when it comes to a canna-cation with a culinary slant. The new Cannabis Tasting & Tour Weekends include a private tour to the legacy five-acre Sugar Hill farm, lodging and a cannabis-forward repast curated by San Francisco chef Bronson Macomber of Plato Verde Social Club. www.themadrones.com; www.maccallumhouse.com, www.thatcherhotel.com.
If wide, open spaces are a must-have, pack the posse to Yokayo Ranch, set on 40 gracious acres outside of Ukiah. Here a cannabis-forward private retreat awaits, with the slogan “leave all judgments at the door – unwind, reset and reconnect.” Three types of lodgings – a 1950s Main House, Bunk House and Pool Cabanas – make for a comfortable stay for 29 guests. The property includes the working Yokayo Roots Farm, a salt water pool, hot tub, alfresco firepit and kitchen, and plenty of room to smoke and saunter. www.yokayoranch.com.
Seeking a full out rendezvous with Mother Nature? Head north to Willits and command the 20-acre Emerald Triangle’s Cannabis Friendly Tent Camping site is ideal for an extended family reconnect or “hiking-while-high” forest bathing enthusiasts, the 160-acre property is owned by legacy cannabis homesteaders and stewards of the land. Pop over to the Sunday farmer’s market in Laytonville for top-shelf bud. https://www.hipcamp.com/en-US/discover/california/cannabis-friendly-tent-camping.
How else can one toke and travel in Mendocino County? How about a “Puff & Paint” session or getting “baked fresh daily” at Fort Bragg’s The Bakery, featuring artisanal cannabis products presented in bakery-style display cases. In Ukiah, visitors can tap into the Plantshop for a stash of local sun-grown herb or a medicated yoga session. On site, a spacious half-acre Consumption Lounge provides a safe and communal environment for imbibing.
If the urge suits, slip into the Puff & Paint sessions every Wednesday at 4:20 p.m. Nearby, the Compassionate Heart – original home of the $5 pre-roll – offers a standout selection of local green, along with a playful alfresco smoke lounge. For a collective high, check out Kure Wellness, with three outposts, offering a hip, shaded smoke lounge and locally sourced product. Farther north, Willits is home to the Cannabis Culture Museum, offering 50+ years of insight and ephemera on the ancient use of marijuana as medicine, hemp culture, cannabis counter culture and more (by appointment).
Other key regional romps include a visit to the Bohemian Chemist in wine-centric Anderson Valley. This is the luxury stop with a bespoke line-up of notions and potions set in a vintage Art Deco apothocary. Focused on sun-grown cannabis, edibles and tinctures – with a well-appointed Oak Terrace consumption lounge and two adjacent wine tasting venues. Stock pile Bohemian Chemist’s signature house products, as well as other small craft brands like Professor Snooks. www.thebohemianchemist.com.
What Napa was to wine, Mendocino is to California cannabis. Two new tours take visitors behind the emerald curtain for an inside look into the legacy cultivation and offer a solid schooling on what makes this region’s green so spectacular. The Northern California Cannabis Tour’s Mendocino Experience offers a four+ hour guided tour that dips deep into the Redwood Valley with a visit to a fully-operating sun-grown cannabis farm and heirloom cultivation nursery. Meet the master grower and enjoy an afternoon of bud-tasting by the koi ponds while wandering among the crops for the ultimate Instagram post. www.mendoexperience.com; $420.00/2 people.
From Mendocino’s interior to the sharp contrast of Anderson Valley, a wine region sporting top-shelf Pinot Noir, sparkling and dry Alsatian-style wines, Emerald Farm Tours offers a different slice of nirvana. Tuck in for the Mendocino County Cannabis Trail, starting with a luxury Mercedes Sprinter bus arriving deep in the Mendocino redwoods for a hillside “weed walk” with a host grower, followed by a box lunch in the forest. www.emeraldfarmtours.com; $695.00/per person.
* Marijuana Business Daily
+Mendocino County Crop Report/ 2020