Travelers and vacationers often dream of excursions into Northern California’s Napa Valley to experience the 400 wineries in the region and get a taste of the process from grape to alcoholic beverage. But thanks to Kush Tourism, a new bucket-list item is popping up all over the world: witnessing every aspect of the cannabis industry, from seed to sale.
The Birth of a New Industry
Kush Tourism was created in 2013 by Chase Nobles and Michael Gordon. After Washington legalized recreational weed in 2012, the two business partners saw a wide-open niche in the Emerald City marketplace. They built a comprehensive cannabis industry experience for visitors and natives in the Seattle area, with hopes of educating the public about the marijuana business and the cultivation of cannabis. Through the formation of Kush Tourism, Nobles and Gordon now offer a journey that is certainly fodder for interesting dinner table conversation among stoners and newbies to the cannabis industry alike.
Kush Tourism’s flagship Seattle excursion brings guests to four different locations for a comprehensive look at all things cannabis. The tour starts at the Diego Pellicer recreational dispensary in the SoDo neighborhood of Seattle, near the home stadiums for the Seattle Seahawks and Mariners. Diego Pellicer is known as one of the most upscale pot shops in the country, and its interior design is reminiscent of a cross between an ancient Roman palace and the kind of jewelry store that the likes of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos would walk into to buy a diamond ring for their wives.
Many of the Kush Tourism guests are losing their legal cannabis dispensary virginity upon entering Diego Pellicer, and they welcome the novelty of a friendly chat with the shop’s budtenders. Imagine finding out for the first time that indica is the relaxing, watch-a-movie type of cannabis and sativa is the one that causes a racy, heady high and burst of energy. Or receiving the infamous advice that when trying cannabis edibles for the first time, make sure to go slow because most people freak out when they take too much. The retail side is obviously a critical part of the overall cannabis industry experience, and Kush Tourism checks off that box with its starting point at Diego Pellicer.
Guests then head onto the Kush Tourism bus for a trip over to a glass-blowing studio in Seattle’s Westlake area. While there, they can witness the art of turning glass into cannabis pipes and even purchase a freshly made pipe, which will be sent directly to their home address after it has cooled off.
Perhaps the standout moment of the tour is a visit to the Dawg Star headquarters, Seattle’s first licensed and permitted grow facility. Dawg Star is known around the state of Washington for its premium strains like Blueberry Cheesecake, Ewok, and Gorilla Glue #4. The company’s professional growers educate visitors on the lifecycle of the cannabis plant and the daily routines necessary in cultivating great weed. Many of the guests are seeing marijuana plants in their growth stages for the first time, combining a lasting memory with an educational component, thanks to Kush Tourism.
The final stop of the excursion is Vela, a multi-purpose facility that includes a recreational pot shop along with a grow facility and an extraction laboratory. Visitors can see another group of cannabis plants in various stages of the growth cycle, view some of the equipment used in extraction, and make some purchases on their way out. The three-and-a-half hour tour then concludes with a drop-off at Diego Pellicer, the initial stop of the trip.
Other Tour Locations
Along with Seattle, Kush Tourism has now expanded into five additional states where recreational weed is legal. Visitors to Colorado, Alaska, Nevada, California, and Oregon can take trips that are similar to the Seattle version and get their own firsthand experience of the seed-to-sale process.
Kush Tourism continues to emerge as a leader in marijuana-related tourism; Michael Gordon told Travel Weekly that the company reaches more than one million people each month through its website and print publications, and has cannabis tourism pamphlets available in more than 3,000 hotels across the United States.
The Seattle cannabis tour costs $150 per person, and judging by the outpouring of positive reviews on Yelp, it might very well be worth every penny, if not more. “I’ve lived in Seattle for three years now, and I can say with confidence that this is one of the coolest things that I’ve done since I’ve moved here,” one reviewer stated.
As the green revolution continues and more states legalize recreational cannabis, Kush Tourism plans on being at the forefront of the weed tourism industry.
“Cannabis culture has been alive and well here for more than 20 years,” Michael Gordon said. “Every time a state [legalizes recreational pot], our resources are ready on the first day.”