But the folks behind a company called My 420 Tours aren't waiting for lawmakers to sign off. They're actively promoting an April 17-23 vacation package they're calling World Cannabis Week, replete with events aplenty to captivate and entertain travelers with a taste for ganja.
Matt Brown, one of the principals behind My 420 Tours, will be familiar to longtime members of the marijuana community. He first stepped into the spotlight in 2009 as the executive director of Coloradans for Marijuana Regulation (CMMR), a business group that lobbied for legislation to empower the MMJ industry.
As such, he was a key player during the regulatory bill's progress through the Colorado general assembly, and he celebrated its passage in May 2010. But right around the moment of victory, CMMR imploded amid charges, counter-charges, backbiting and bad blood, leaving Brown on the outside looking in. The organization ultimately folded in February 2011, with Brown's successor, Betty Aldworth, moving on to become communications director for the Amendment 64 campaign.
As for Brown, he says he was "hired by the group that bought Full Spectrum Labs. My job was to figure out the science and make products. But by early 2011, we realized that no matter how much state licensing existed, federal repercussions to do research were too severe" -- so Brown and company relocated to Canada, where such testing is allowed.
Over the next year-plus, Brown worked for that firm, followed by "another natural health-products company." But the passage of Amendment 64 called him back to Colorado. "It opened up a lot of exciting possibilities," he notes -- among them My 420 Tours and World Cannabis Week.
"It's intended for people from out of state, and particularly on the East Coast, who don't have any idea of what's really going on here beyond what they've seen in the news," Brown says. "They're blown away by what Colorado is doing, but they don't know how to experience it."
How's the tour package work?
Continue for more about My 420 Tours and World Cannabis Week. Tourists will be picked up at the airport and transported to what's described as a 4/20-friendly hotel to begin a week's worth of activities, including attendance at the annual 4/20 rally at Civic Center Park, the High Times Cannabis Cup and a weekend concert at Red Rocks featuring Slightly Stoopid, Redman, Method Man and more. In addition, there'll be daily happy-hour parties (naturally, they'll get underway at 4:20 p.m.), plus assorted cannabis workshops, including cooking and growing classes and a hash-making lab, dispensary and cultivation-center tours and more.
"This is not about coming to Colorado to get wrecked and smoke as much pot as you can and be a degenerate stoner hippie," Brown stresses. "We've modeled World Cannabis Week as a cross between a wine tour of Napa Valley and the best concert or entertainment experience you can imagine."
As is the case for Napa Valley tourists, Brown goes on, participants in World Cannabis Week will be able to attend events "where they can use different products," including edibles. But the amounts won't be unlimited. "We're trying to stick as closely to the intention of the Amendment 64 task force as we can, so there'll be limits of a couple grams at a time. We're being mindful of how we as Coloradans can bring people in and show them our state without annoying the people who live here."
Is Brown concerned that regulations will not yet be in place when World Cannabis Week gets underway?
Continue for more about My 420 Tours and World Cannabis Week. "We've spent a lot of time thinking about that issue," he concedes, "and preparing ourselves to follow all the rules possible. We're in the same position as dispensaries in late 2009: We know rules are coming, but they're not yet defined. So our goal is to pass the sniff test in every way possible -- including providing transportation. We were adamant that we didn't want people coming to town, renting a car and driving around a strange city with a lot of weed.
"We're not trying to gamble and take huge risks and take the chance of having problems. Our goal is to be cautious and not push things too much."
After all, My 420 Tours doesn't want to be a one-shot operation. Brown envisions two to four branded events each year, with future offerings being simpler to manage, because regulations will presumably have passed by then. And that's not all.
"We'd like to be a gateway not only for people who say, 'I want to go to Colorado, but I don't know anybody there,' but also for film and TV companies. If Showtime was to launch a sequel to Weeds, they could do it right here and film in licensed grow centers. There are all kinds of opportunities for businesses not directly involved in growing and selling pot."
In the meantime, though, Brown is focused on World Cannabis Week, which he says will allow "anyone who wants to come and experience the future in Colorado."
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For more information, phone 855-MY-420-TOUR (694-2086) or click here. Here's a video about the tour package.
More from our Marijuana archive: "Marijuana tourism recommended by task force -- but can rules prevent smurfing?"