A new study titled “(Pot)Heads in Beds: The Effect of Marijuana Legalization on Hotel Occupancy in Colorado and Washington” and published in the Journal of Regional Analysis & Policy revealed that marijuana legalization increases tourism significantly.
The study compares hotel room rentals in Colorado and Washington after cannabis legalization versus states without legalized recreational cannabis use. It found that legalization turned the two states into travel hotspots.
Recreational marijuana legalization in Colorado created “an increase of almost 120,000 room rentals per month,” the room rates increased “by $6.31 (3.8%),” and hotel revenue increased by “$23.71 million per month (or roughly 11% per month).”
Washington also saw an increase in travel due to legalization, however, it wasn’t as significant as Colorado.
“Marijuana legalization led to a larger increase in tourism in Colorado than Washington,” the study noted. “One possible explanation is that Colorado is an easier travel destination than Washington and Denver’s airport is a major hub for United Airlines. Another possible explanation is that Colorado may have achieved a first mover advantage over Washington since it legalized commercial sale six months earlier than Washington.”
To date, more than 10 states have legalized recreational marijuana use and over 40 have legalized medical marijuana use. Seven states are attempting to legalize recreational marijuana in 2020.