Summit, Inc: Colorado winning marijuana tourism battle with Washington state
Not all green states are created equal.
A study released last week by a New England-based travel firm found tourists flocking to Colorado since the state legalized recreational marijuana on Jan. 1, while Washington state was experiencing the opposite effect since its retail pot sales went online on July 8.
The travel firm, called Hopper, found a staggering 20 percent increase in traveler interest in Colorado. However, the same study found a 2 percent decrease in interest in traveling to Washington.
The study pinned down a couple areas explaining why Colorado is a better marijuana destination. The first revolves around the rule of supply and demand. Washington doesn’t have enough supply. Within the first dozen days, many shops found themselves shutting down early because they ran out of supply.
Some have had to purchase medical marijuana supplies from other states just to keep something on their shelves. This, of course, has led to higher costs being passed on to consumers. On average, retail marijuana in Washington is about $10 pricier per gram than it is in Colorado.
Washington also launched recreational marijuana without allowing edibles or concentrates. Both of these have been substantial sellers in the Colorado retail market.
Another factor might just be travel expense. The average price for a round-trip ticket to Seattle is about $250. Meanwhile, the average round-trip ticket to Denver is $179.
A factor not mentioned in the study was the process Colorado used when implementing the new legislation. The state has drawn praise from political analysts inside the Beltway for the way the governor organized committees to help move the process forward effectively and efficiently while drawing input from the industry, law enforcement, etc.
Speaking of tourism, Vail Resorts has already kicked off an “unofficial start of ski season.”
Locals have until Sept. 2 to purchase an Epic Local Pass before prices go up. It provides unlimited skiing and riding at Breckenridge, Keystone and Arapahoe Basin in Colorado, as well as skiing opportunities in Minnesota, Michigan and Utah and limited use at Vail and Beaver Creek.
Season passes can sell out quickly. Vail Resorts season passes are only guaranteed through Monday, Sept. 1. Go to http://www.epicpass.com for more info.
Considering that last year’s ski season broke records, it’s likely the same might happen again, making these passes even more valuable.
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