We all have that one stoner friend who brags about the place of origin of their weed. Why? It’s quite simple. Some places have better weed than the rest. Places stoners love visiting. Journeying across the rivers and streams, wearing their tricolor of red, green and yellow, laden with nothing but a backpack, they venture into the lush green valleys of hemp. All this, knowing full well, their journey and act is technically “illegal”.
But what if it wasn’t?
That is how you’d define cannabis tourism. Tourism in order to enjoy cannabis consumption - legally. India has always had a lot of tourists traveling to try the best cannabis, but the lack of a regulated infrastructure for both cannabis and tourism has kept cannabis tourism obscure. And illegal.
The potential success of cannabis tourism in India is extremely high. High...geddit?
India has the potential to be a stoners paradise. New Delhi & Mumbai are among the top 10 cities in weed consumption with a total consumption of 38.3 & 32.3 tons respectively. Himachal Pradesh, Orissa, Uttarakhand, and Andhra Pradesh grow some of the most noteworthy organic weed across the planet. Clearly, there’s no shortage of resources from the supply-end of cannabis tourism. It’s only the demand-end which needs to be fixed.
Additionally, unlike most other forms of tourism, cannabis tourism does not require skills training like in adventure tourism, nor does it require an investment ranging in one-thousand-crores. This is at the supply level. When it comes to demand … well it’s only growing. Cannabis consumption and domestic tourism are both on the increase, and cannabis tourism is in the unique position to leverage both these burgeoning markets.
Is weed tourism a purely recreational activity?
Weed tourism is not necessarily a purely recreational activity. Although heavily disputed in some academic circles, weed plays an active role in healing certain ailments and conditions; thereby hitching onto the medical tourism bandwagon. Similar trends have known to occur in Uruguay, USA, South Africa, and Canada; all of which have legalized cannabis either partially or fully.
There is more to learn from the international pattern of cannabis consumption. A regulated market is always better than a non-regulated market. It helps contribute to the country’s economic and social growth. In fact, internationally weed is taking a step further into the consumer goods space. Editor of House Spirit: Drinking in India writes “What’s happening is this: while the world, from Coca-Cola to Corona, appropriates our tropical plant and basically reinvents bhang, making billions in the process, we have no political, moral and judicial stand on it. We have given up all claims on what was our own for millennia. Instead, we have decided to channel our energies into cow dung soap and cow urine shampoo, now available on Amazon, but unlikely to spawn a global market like Cannabis indica. Looks like the sleeping giant will continue.”
That’s where organizations such as the Great Legalisation Movement come in. Backed by philanthropists, researchers, farmer communities and individuals, GLM is a collective which hopes to set up a well-designed, sustainable ecosystem for the legal cannabis in the country. India needs such researchers and activists to bring about a reform in the stigma associated with weed consumption. Curbing the stigma would allow for a healthy conversation and eventual legalization of cannabis which would then open the conversation for cannabis tourism.