Cannatourism. It may seem like a relatively new phenomenon, but that’s only because legalization is so new to those of us living in the United States. Cannatourism in Amsterdam has been alive and well for a while, given that possessing 5mg or less has been allowed since 1976. However, cannatourism in Amsterdam is facing a potential shut down, while it seems it is alive and thriving in California. Will California become the new Amsterdam?


It has been proposed that cannatourism be taken under control in Amsterdam by only allowing citizens of the Netherlands to enter coffee shops that vend cannabis. This is largely due to the fact that cannabis is still illegal in Amsterdam, but there is a “tolerance policy” allowing people to possess 5mg or less at a time without punishment. Coffee shops have been exploiting this workaround by vending cannabis in small amounts, which has drawn people from around the world to the country. 

Authorities are concerned that, if allowed to continue to sell to tourists, these coffee shops will enhance illicit drug trade within the country. The hope is that only citizens will be allowed to enjoy the benefits of these coffee shops by 2022. Accompanied with this move will be a larger effort on the part of the government to advertise the other aspects of their country that make it worth visiting like its scenery and culture. The hope is that this will not negatively affect tourism in general and will help to cut down on crime involving illicit drugs. However, there is concern that this proposed plan will only lead people to take cannabis to the streets instead of in a controlled environment like the coffee shops.


As a state, we are experiencing a huge boost in cannatourism and new efforts to promote it. The biggest thing differentiating us from Amsterdam is that recreational use is legal! This means people can come from all over and, as long as they’re 21, partake in cannabis. This might mean that we become the new hub for cannatourism instead of Amsterdam or maybe alongside it, depending on what happens in 2022.

California is so invested in cannatourism we have an association. The California Cannabis Tourism Association (CCTA) was founded to promote safe and responsible tourism, partnering with brands and companies to further this goal. We also have cannabis tours dedicated to bringing people to the best dispensaries in the area as well as showing them local cultivation practices. All you have to do is hop on a bus and enjoy a doobie while you get educated! These tours are pretty popular in Los Angeles and San Francisco, but the demand is on the rise.

While California in general is pushing itself to the forefront of cannatourism, Coachella Valley is definitely a key player that stands out. A lot of the focus of cannatourism is turning toward Coachella Valley because of their own efforts. The residents and authorities have long recognized the influence, impact, and reach of cannabis. Now they really get to use that knowledge to drive tourism and push themselves into the spotlight!

Here are just a few of the notable things driving tourism in the Coachella Valley.

  • Recently, authorities approved the use of 3 million square feet dedicated to cannabis cultivation facilities. 
  • The Lighthouse is the first Californian hotel to accommodate cannatourism.
  • There are plans in place to open two additional cannabis hotels, Coach Hill Inn and Resort as well as the Grape House, which will feature a dispensary and smoking lounge along with other amenities.
  • Progressive officials who recognize the lasting economic stimulus that cannabis provides.

Cannatourism will be something to watch as more cities take advantage of the cannabis industry to drive sales. California stands to make a huge impact in the cannabis sphere with tourism as we continue to modernize, innovate, and grow.