How Oregon is Marketing Marijuana to Tourists

Marijuana tourism remains a relatively new phenomenon, but as cannabis becomes more accessible in states where recreational use is legal — and competition among dispensaries increases — many within the pot industry are looking to target tourists.

That's the case in Oregon, where ideal growing conditions make the state one of the more sought-after destinations for marijuana enthusiasts.

"Oregon in general has a nationwide brand," medical marijuana grower and Oregrown owner Aviv Hadar told the Oregonian. "People think our cannabis is better here."

While Travel Oregon spokeswoman Linea Gagliano isn't ready to credit the state's ascending marijuana industry for boosting tourism, she did acknowledge its emergence as a potential attraction.

"Maybe marijuana tourism will be part of their trip, but I am not sure that it will be the impetus," she told the Oregonian. "I think they are coming to Oregon for those iconic things that we do so well."

Nonetheless, it remains to be seen if or when destinations like Oregon would ever include its marijuana offerings as part of its marketing strategy. 

Because pot is still illegal under federal law and banned from being smoked in public or transported across state lines, tourists and those looking to appeal to them face several hurdles. 

"It's more complex, I think, than it would appear on first blush," said Visit Seattle spokesman David Blandford via the Oregonian. "For a destination marketing organization to advise travelers and market it, we have to be very careful about it."

Regardless, those whose livelihoods are tied to the industry anticipate plenty of business from curious travelers, even if they're visiting the area for other reasons. 

Dispensary owners have already set up shop near popular tourist spots, including Portland International Airport, where entrepreneurs are desperate for space in hopes of drawing in travelers.