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Oakland Blazes the Trail in Expanding Cannabis Travelers Market

Focusing on cannabis tourism a natural fit for city that helped pioneer the West and legalization.




The first legal cannabis sale in California was made at Harborside’s store in East Oakland, CA in 2016. Harborside is of the stops on a new cannabis-centric tour of the city to attract cannabis travelers. PHOTO COURTESY VISIT OAKLAND

Oakland, California, once the termination site of America’s Transcontinental Railroad, is hoping to “blaze” historic trails again with curated tours of the city and its elevated cannabis experiences. Its newly launched “Oakland Cannabis Trail”  travel package was specifically designed to tap into the rapidly growing market for cannabis-related tourism.

A 2020 travel study by MMGY Travel Intelligence unveiled the rise of a new kind of pioneer – the cannabis traveller. The study found that 18% of all adult Americans traveling within the United States cited sampling local herb as a motivation for hitting the road.

“With cannabis being deemed essential and product sales significantly increasing the past two plus years across multiple destinations, the cannabis travel audience has likely grown exponentially,” said Brian Applegarth, the Chief Strategy Officer of Cultivar Brands, a cannabis industry marketing agency. The company supported Oakland in the development and launch of the tourism program.

Cannabis Sativa receives tender plant-touching care from an employee at Harborside’s Oakland, CA store. PHOTO COURTESY VISIT OAKLAND

Invited to indulge
The Oakland Cannabis Trail takes tourists on an immersive trip to cannabis retailers and cannabis-centric experiences in the city’s diverse neighborhoods. Organized Visit Oakland, its packages for cannabis travelers don’t shy away from the California’s legal recreational use of  herb. Some of the tourism non-profit’s other excursions shuttle travelers to Oakland’s lush cannabis growing fields on 420-friendly buses, and invite them indulge in their cannabis purchases along the way.

The Oakland Cannabis Trail package melds art exhibits, sensory experiences and dining with trips to eight of the city’s cannabis shops: Blunts + Moore Dispensary, Cookies Oakland, ECO Cannabis, High Times Cannabis Market, Ivy Hill Cannabis, Root’d in the 510, NUG Oakland and Harborside’s storied East Oakland cannabis store.


Harborside is one of the nation’s oldest and largest cannabis retailers, and it played an instrumental role in making cannabis safe and accessible to Californians. The very first legal sale of recreational cannabis in the U.S. took place at Harborside’s Oakland store in 2016.

Still widening horizons
The citizens of Oakland played a prominent role in the legalization movement. The city continues to be at the forefront of progress with a compelling cannabis retail scene and, now,  innovative cannabis tourism. Visit Oakland and Cultivar see the packages as a solution to providing cannabis travelers with a safe, curated cannabis experience while on the road. Rooted in culturally significant history and powered by decades of steadfast activism, Oakland wants the world to know its pioneering spirit is still alive and well — and its cannabis scene blazing new trails.



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