Colorado Marijuana Tours
People once thought of Colorado as cowboys and ski resorts, today it’s big, bushy green plants and clouds of cannabis smoke. Make your trip to the “highest state” complete with an insider’s tour of real commercial grow houses, dispensaries, and everything about marijuana.
Marijuana Dispensary & Grow House Tours
Go behind the scenes of the rapidly growing, wonderful local world of cannabis. Be mesmerized at thousands of plants growing under industrial strength HID lights, learn from true pros the subtle differences in buds, and get VIP treatment at dispensaries.
You must be 21 years or older to attend these tours, with a valid state or government-issued ID.
Guide to Marijuana Tours in Colorado
Colorado has long been a 420 friendly state, with its laid-back culture and progressive attitude. Few were surprised it became one of the first states (along with Washington) to legalize recreational use of marijuana in January 2014. Now you can experience both public group and private marijuana tours in Denver, year-round.
While most long-time residents were already pot-friendly, with over a decade as a medical marijuana state (since November 2000), outsiders took notice. People moved to CO in record numbers. Some looked to join in the growing industry, while others just heard about how great Colorado is from all the additional media attention.
Guided Pot Tours in Denver
Whether you’re coming to Colorado in the summer or winter, spring or fall, or already live here, it’s worth your time to explore the cannabis industry. Educate and entertain yourself during these historic times because great memories are the best souvenirs.
Complete Cannabis Tour.
Tours are led by experienced guides, who will ensure your safety and make sure everyone has a good time! They are available year-round in Denver, throughout the week, morning and night, depending on what you’re looking for.
Cannabis and wellness have long been interlinked. Uncover the health and therapeutic properties of the plant, the science of the human endocannabinoid system, the latest consumption methods, as well its long history, and its current legal status. Learn the entire process from “seed to sale.”
Cannabis Wellness Tour.
Cannabis has come a long way since its underground days in years past, in terms of everything from THC strength to intake varieties. Marijuana strains are stronger than ever, and concentrates are among the most popular forms of enjoying the plant today. Learn firsthand the different extraction methods and concentrate types on Colorado’s marijuana tours.
Colorado Marijuana History
Colorado’s legal marijuana scene has grown rapidly in the last couple of decades. It’s one of the leading states in the country on the subject, and probably the best known for cannabis-related tourism.
California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana in 1996. Colorado followed four years later in November 2000. It would be fourteen years of learning, regulating, and living with “legal” pot in a sense before it became permitted for everyone 21+ statewide.
Marijuana grow house tour in Denver, Colo.
In January 2014, Colorado and Washington became the first two states to begin openly selling marijuana on a recreational level. And with that simple law, the flood gates opened.
Colorado’s economy boomed, especially in terms of real estate, with everyone wanting to come and see if they could strike it rich in the new industry, called “green gold”. All the national exposure Colorado got in the media, sent others flocking here, some not caring at all about cannabis, only everything else the wonderful state offered.
Commercial marijuana tours soon followed, guiding the new wave of green tourists behind the scenes. There are now numerous companies offering a range of experiences.
420 tours include everything from cultivation facilities to cannabis cooking classes and CBD-infused massages. If you want to discover what’s leading the development of Colorado’s future, be sure to reserve your spot on a marijuana tour.
10 Moments You’ll Have On A Colorado Pot Tour
Welcome to Denver, the Mile High City and the cradle of marijuana legalization in the USA. Get out there and explore the weedscape. If you’ve never hotboxed a limo bus with 10+ strangers before, this is your chance.
Aboard the weed-friendly party bus in Denver, Colo.
You’re bound to have some truly unique moments on a 420 cannabis tour.
1. You’ll get passed joints from both directions
As the 420 tour bus starts rolling, all guests are invited to take out their personal stash and light it up. Guests are also encouraged to share with others and try something new. Standard smoke circle etiquette applies — puff, puff, pass to the left. Clockwise, my friends.
However, the rotation often gets jumbled once multiple pre-rolled or hand-rolled joints are in circulation. It’s not uncommon to find yourself at the crossroads of the hot box, with offerings being passed to you from both sides. Take both. Smoke both. At the same time if you want. Or just pass. Do you.
2. You’ll toke with a grandma from Texas
Pot tours attract people from all walks of life. It’s impossible to generalize about who you’ll meet onboard. Passengers range from 21st birthday revelers from Utah to a senior couple from Texas celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.
Cannabis is the most social plant on the planet. It’s the great equalizer. Sit back and admire the diversity of the group sharing this experience. You’ll see all skin tones and hear all kinds of accents. Branch out and make a new friend — that’s what travel is about.
3. You get plant sex ed
Once you’re in the grow facility, take a trip down junior high memory lane with a sex education crash course. Your cannabis tour guide will break down the reproductive ins and outs of cannabis cultivation. Find out why the grow facility is a girls-only zone and what would happen if male plants were to invade it.
Learn how to identify a female plant versus a male plant and how they keep it a female-only zone.
4. You’ll discover what terpenes are
What gives different strains of weed their subtle differences in aroma and effect? The answer is terpenes — the natural essential oils that occur in cannabis and many other botanicals.
A 420 tour is the perfect place to follow your nose to a new favorite strain and find out which terpenes appeal to you.
5. You’ll help other travelers celebrate a big day
Chances are high that you’ll be sharing your tour with a group that’s celebrating a milestone. We see all sorts of merrymaking from bachelor parties to 30th birthdays to high honeymooners.
Another fun one is retirement kickoff after decades of being drug tested as government officials, pilots, military, law enforcement, truck drivers, health professionals, etc. Now it’s finally time to cut loose. It’s their party and they’ll get high if they want to.
6. You’ll compare dispensaries to big-name retailers
Most pot tours always include a stop at a premier Denver pot shop. Tours visit the whole spectrum of dispensaries, from local “mom and pop” shops and artisanal boutiques to the largest of corporate chains.
Tour guides will prep you for each retail experience with an analogy to familiar retailers. Depending on which tour you’re on, you’ll see inside the “Apple store of cannabis,” with its chic tablet displays, or the “Ikea of weed” where shoppers pass through the entire maze of merch before exiting the store.
7. You’ll try all-new forms of weed
Before each dispensary stop, the tour guides will hand out a special menu of discounted packages for guests only. These bundled deals are designed to encourage you to try something new. You’re likely to find an edibles pack, a flower (bud) pack, and a vaporizer pack to get you started on vaping cartridges of oil.
For many, vape pens are the first step into the wondrous smoke-free world of concentrates. From there, expand your horizons by dabbing for the first time and exploring the terpene-rich properties of live resin.
8. You’ll lose track of space and time
After spending long enough on the 420 bus, you’ll realize that The Magic School Bus wasn’t a fictional cartoon after all. It’s real, and you’re on it. Ms. Frizzle is standing right there, dressed as a tour guide and dropping pearls of cannabis knowledge all over the place.
Speaking of place, where exactly are we? Is this bus still in Denver? What time is it? As the THC kicks in, your sense of orientation may get a little hazy. Let it. You’re on vacation, you’re in Denver, and you’re getting the full Mile High experience.
9. You’ll hear personalized restaurant recommendations
On the final leg of the tour, the munchies start to kick in. There’s a snack for that. The tour guides have you covered as far as Denver restaurant recommendations go.
Your tour team is a pack of hungry locals who know all the hot spots. They’ll even customize recommendations based on your location and tastes. Craving tacos? Orale pues. Feeling sushi? Learn to roll it. Looking for the best ice cream? You got it, Little Man.
10. You’ll get adopted into the 420 Family
Maybe you’re lucky enough to have 420-friendly parents. Maybe you’re even luckier and your mom or dad is here on the weed tour with you. If not, that’s okay. At the end of the ride, you’ll learn that you’ve been adopted into the 420 Family.
The perks are many. No awkward family photos are required, plus you can come back for special deals and discounts on your next experience. You can also pass on your newfound knowledge and advice to the next generation of our ever-growing clan.
The world of cannabis has grown rapidly in the last decade and continues to evolve. Puff puff pass one to the future!
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The Success Of Colorado’s Marijuana Tax Dollars
Since 2012, when voters in Colorado passed Amendment 64 and legalized the first adult-use, recreational marijuana market in the U.S., the state has surpassed $10 billion in total sales. This not only represents a massive success and proof-of-concept for the future of the American cannabis industry, it also accounts for billions in tax revenues for the state of Colorado.
Since 2012, when voters in Colorado passed Amendment 64 and legalized the first adult-use, . [+] recreational marijuana market in the U.S., the state has surpassed $10 billion in total sales.
During the last six years, the Centennial State has collected over $1.6 billion – that’s just at the state level- in marijuana taxes and fee revenues. This untapped tax revenue stream was a pivotal selling point for Colorado voters in passing recreational cannabis legalization in 2012. So the question is: how has Colorado allocated these newfound tax dollars over the past six years?
To answer this we have to examine the Amendment 64. The text stated that Colorado would collect a 2.9 percent sales tax from both medical and recreational sales and a 15 percent excise tax when cannabis moves from grower to seller. The 2.9 percent sales tax on medical marijuana goes entirely into the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund. According to Amendment 64, the first $40 million or 90 percent (whichever was greater) was to go to a capital construction grant program, where schools, districts, and various education providers could apply for money to build new buildings or renovate existing facilities.
The recreational 15 percent special sales tax, minus a local share, goes to the state’s general fund. A fraction is taken for the Department of Education’s State Public School Fund, and the remainder goes to The Marijuana Tax Cash Fund. Since retail sales became legal in 2012, 16.4% of the Marijuana Tax Cash Cash Fund’s budget, has gone to education initiatives. According to the Colorado Sun, lawmakers also set aside $25 million to help school districts set up full-day kindergarten programs.
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While marijuana tax dollars fund school maintenance and construction, they do not address Colorado’s per pupil funding ranking. Practically none of these tax dollars goes to school operating budgets, including teacher salaries, books, and school supplies. However, in 2018, more than $20 million went to grants for school health professionals, early literacy programs, and dropout and bullying prevention.
Interestingly, more than $2.2 million from this fund went to the state Department of Agriculture to fund the state’s industrial hemp regulatory and seed certification program. Recall that Amendment 64 legalized industrial hemp in Colorado two years before the passage of the 2014 Farm Bill did the same at the federal level.
Every Colorado jurisdiction appropriates marijuana tax dollars differently. Between 2014 and 2019, around $29 million of Denver’s marijuana tax revenue dollars went toward marijuana regulation and enforcement. Another $16 million went to youth prevention. Until 2017, those were the only areas outside of the general fund earmarked for marijuana tax dollars. After 2017, $16 million went to affordable housing, $3.1 million went to opioid intervention, and $19 million went to city capital improvements.
Local governments that allow marijuana sales impose local taxes. As Colorado’s largest city, and with such a high per capita of dispensaries, Denver has raked in the highest tax revenues from adult-use marijuana sales in the state. Since January of 2014, the city has collected north of $294.5 million in marijuana tax revenue. While a portion of those dollars have funded city infrastructure improvements, a good chunk goes to state revenue sharebacks, regulation and enforcement, and youth marijuana use prevention.
Proof Is in the Pot: Legal Weed Gives Colorado Business a Boost
New Year’s Day 2014 was the first day Colorado allowed licensed vendors to sell marijuana to anyone 21 years or older, making buying a bag of pot virtually the same as buying a six-pack of beer. Just 24 hours later, the state’s retail marijuana shops, most of which are in the Denver area, surpassed an aggregate $1 million in sales.
According to the latest data from the Colorado Department of Revenue, the state’s legal recreational marijuana industry sold more than $22 million worth of cannabis in April. Since legalization, weed sales have generated $11 million in sales and excise taxes, a figure expected to increase to $30 million by the end of the year.
Though that tax revenue is devoted to building schools and funding social programs, the marijuana business is having a huge impact on a wide array of industries–be they centered around pot or not. Nearly six months after the first state in the country ended the prohibition on weed, Inc. spoke with people at fast-growing private companies in Denver to see how their businesses have been affected.
On the job
Although marijuana is legal in Colorado, it’s still illegal according to federal law. Across the state, drug testing has increased since the law changed, and people continue to be fired for testing positive. Rich Johnson, CEO of the Premier Group, a search firm for both executives and workers, says the disparity between state and federal law has proved perplexing for some of his applicants.
“There’s a lot of confusion,” he says. “As the industry started to move along, we started to see people come in to apply for a job and give their medical marijuana card as an ID. There’s a lot of candidates who think they can come out as a habitual pot user and think it will not bar them from employment.”
Johnson says Premier tests for all drugs and warns candidates about it so those who smoke, ingest, or vaporize marijuana don’t waste their time by failing a test and ruining their chances of employment. The preemptive move has had little effect, however. “It’s amazing how many people will walk in the door after we give them a heads-up over the phone that we drug-test for marijuana and they say, ‘I don’t do any drugs, but I have a marijuana card,'” he says. “It doesn’t even enter their head. It’s like a driver’s license for some people.”
Even in industries in which drug testing is not common, however, it doesn’t appear that relaxed attitudes toward marijuana use have resulted in a work force prone to accidents from people’s being constantly stoned on the job. Before he started Premier Group, Johnson worked at a large corporate staffing agency that had a pilot program in which only one of two construction crews underwent testing. The result? There was no difference in safety records between them. “We all say drug testing is for safety, that it helps to find a better employee,” he says today. “But it’s probably not true.”
More jobs, more applicants
Demand for Johnson’s staffing services has gotten a bump recently, in part thanks to demand related to the marijuana industry. “In the first quarter of the year, which is typically a low season for us, we couldn’t get enough electricians out wiring circuits and electricity in places that used to be empty warehouses and now are grow houses,” he says. “They are literally everywhere.” Ironists may appreciate how Johnson sends only drug-free individuals to build and outfit marijuana-growing facilities, but the demand for more workers is serious business. “If we had 100 more electricians, we’d have them on a job by Tuesday,” Johnson adds.
There is also an influx of workers to the state, says David Bacon, the CEO for Better With Bacon, a recruiting firm for startups and technology companies. He’s found legalization has made Colorado a more desirable destination for the famously different-drummer types attracted by the businesses he serves. “The fact that companies based here are in a state that recognizes a certain freedom for recreational use has strengthened the appeal for job applicants,” he says. “I’d say there’s up to a 20 percent increase in people contacting us for a job in Colorado.”
The rise of weed tech
Meanwhile, entire new categories of businesses have sprung up around legal weed. One of Bacon’s clients is a software company that has built a seed-to-sale tracking system for marijuana growers and dispensaries. Colorado law mandates that marijuana must be tracked until it’s sold–so a plant is catalogued starting when it’s cloned, through when it’s chopped up and dried (or turned into oil or pot-infused foodstuffs known as edibles), distributed to stores, and placed on shelves. “Whenever you have a federal, or in our case a state, law or mandate, there are new regulations and compliances that come into effect,” Bacon says. “You can’t just go grow pot and sell it.” And with such regulation, he says, also comes opportunity.
Run on real estate
Ethan Chumley, CEO of Denver-based national steel building construction company Armstrong Steel, says revenue at his Denver business increased 35 percent in the past few months, in part from customers requiring buildings to grow marijuana. “It’s been such an uptick that it caused me to consider offering turnkey construction for growers–ventilation, lighting, and all the other things they need,” he says, noting that the rise in such construction projects has created a significant number of jobs.
According to Colorado law, retail marijuana grow houses must be located in buildings zoned for industrial use and be 1,000 feet away from a church and school. A scarcity of properly zoned real estate has driven up prices so high that Chumley says industrial building owners are being offered cash. “If you’re going to build [a new building], you’re talking months and months of lost revenue,” he says. Instead, growers “are offering four times market value, and a big chunk up front in cash.”
Weed-friendly real estate
Denver-based real estate agent Rona Hanson, who specializes in finding houses for medical and recreational marijuana home growers, says her business has increased 100 percent from two years ago. Hanson used to focus on accessible homes for disabled people, but once she realized most of her clients had cards that allowed them to grow pot, she decided to change her niche. “I used to get one call a week, because it’s a big deal for people with disabilities to move,” she says. “Now, I am getting 10 calls a day.”
Looking back to the depths of the recession in 2008 and 2009, Hanson says she “couldn’t give a house away.” But since the beginning of 2013, she says, properties have been snatched up within a week. “103 percent of asking price is normal,” Hanson says. “Part of this is pent-up demand from the recession. But there is a definite influence because of the change of marijuana laws.”
Change you can see
The opportunities from the Colorado gold rush don’t stop with new companies, new business models, and fast-selling properties. The Premier Group’s Johnson says the run on real estate has had tangible effects in certain areas. He remembers how rundown south Broadway, a major business district in Denver, was just two years ago. Now the marijuana shops have moved in and have attracted other businesses.
“These pot shops have actually turned south Broadway into a nicer area,” Johnson says. “The shops around the stores have been refurbished, the road has been repaved, and the whole shady district of south Broadway is now looking attractive–all because of the money flowing in from the pot shops. If you choose to go in and patronize them or not, it doesn’t matter–it’s better looking from the outside.”
No matter how good the city’s façade looks, not everyone was ready for recreational marijuana. Denver city Councilman Charlie Brown, the chair of the council’s Amendment 64 committee charged with implementing the legal-pot law, voted against the legalization of recreational marijuana five times.
Like many people, Brown remains concerned about the effect legalization will have on children. “I do believe we have the potential to lose a generation of young people–starting with 12-, 13-, 14-, or 15-year-olds in schools,” he says. “We’ve already seen a case where a fourth grader was caught trying to sell dope on the playground. You’re going to have more incidents like these.”
But he’s since reluctantly embraced the industry, citing how his constituents voted for it. He also may be swayed by the law’s economic implications. Between retail stores, grow houses, and product-testing facilities, by Brown’s calculations there were close to 900 existing or pending marijuana-related businesses in Denver as of mid-April. “The recreational marijuana industry certainly has improved the economy,” Brown tells Inc.
A weed grows in every business?
As the nation watches Colorado’s headfirst dive into a socioeconomic experiment of legalizing and commercializing weed, stories recounting pot-related tragedies and incidents of marijuana getting into children’s hands have appeared in top media outlets. (And, of course, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd famously ate far too much of an edible during a recent trip to Denver.) But so far, doomsday scenarios of crime spikes–or, worse, the state’s turning into a giant Phish festival–haven’t materialized. Instead, almost half a year after pot went legal in Colorado, the violent crime rate in Denver, the state’s largest city, has dropped 10 percent, and the government has banked tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenue.
Because marijuana has been illegal for the past 80 years, its strong economy has been historically underground. But as the pot market rises to legitimacy through new laws, new construction, new jobs, and new investments, in Colorado the birth of the legal weed economy is demonstrating how it’s touching many seemingly unrelated industries.
Which many in Denver now realize. The Premier Group’s Johnson, who is neither gung-ho supporter nor naysayer when it comes to pot, neatly sums up the big picture: “I could argue that it has made our life more difficult and complicated, and we have to work harder. On the other hand, jobs are falling into our laps. We thought we had nothing to do with this industry. But clearly we do.”