Just 12 Percent of Visitors Use Marijuana, Says Colorado Tourism Panel

Article by Kate McKee Simmons, Westword


Yes, tourists are coming to Colorado for the weed — but just not as many as you might think. In fact, according to a state-subsidized survey, only 12 percent of visitors to this state visit a dispensary.

Although tourism boosters shied away from discussing marijuana right after recreational use was legalized, pot was the focus of a panel yesterday morning at the Colorado Governor’s Tourism Conference in Beaver Creek. During “The Marijuana Message,” two experts spoke to an audience of about fifty tourism representatives from around the state about how many tourists are using cannabis, and how the state is working to educate them when they visit.

Denise Miller, executive vice president of Pennsylvania Strategic Marketing and Research Insights (SMARI) has been conducting market research for over forty years, including a survey for Colorado’s Come to Life campaign. That project was designed to help the Colorado Tourism Office better understand how tourists are engaging with marijuana when they visit the state; the survey was conducted from the summer of 2013 through last winter.

Fewer tourists are coming to Colorado for the sole purpose of partaking in cannabis-related activities than many people believe, Miller says: 64 percent of the visitors surveyed said marijuana had no influence on their decision to visit the state, while only 5 percent say it was the primary reason for their visit. A total of 12 percent reported visiting a dispensary during their stay.

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