You Ready for a Canna-Cation? Guest Editorial on Marijuana Themed Tourism

© Can Stock Photo / michaeljungIn the following guest editorial, Sarah Godlin offers an idea for possible Canna-tourism:

Canna-Cations are the New Dude Ranch

A true cattle drive brings to mind campfires, cattle calls and the spirit of the Wild West, but in reality they were probably uncomfortable, hard, and wrought with rank smells. The idea of growing cannabis outdoors plays a similar trick on the uninitiated. One pictures the sun filtering through towering redwood trees onto lush gardens while butterflies land softly atop heavy, crystalline buds; Helicopters crisscross the sky. Though versions of this might exist, true production type growing is incredibly hard and unromantic work. Busted water lines, bears, and angry neighbors with weapons are also in the fun grab bag labeled Growing Weed in the Hills. Ask anyone in the industry for a horror story and they probably have one. But as the danger associated with illegal activity slowly recedes into the hedges à la Homer Simpson, the hard work remains. These positive changes in the figurative cultivation landscape make an inroad for tourism. “This Is Cannabis Country,” The travel brochures will read, and in smaller letters underneath it will explain, “Like wine country, but, you know, for weed.”

But can the pot industry play the same ballgame as the wine industry? Are weed connoisseurs here for cheese/ganja pairings and sunset strolls in khakis and cashmere, or will they come because they have a romanticized idea about the way things once were, back when outdoor growing was a little more “outlaw-esque.” If they choose a Cannabis farm as a vacation, maybe the end game isn’t relaxation, but to spend a week off the concrete to stick their toes in the soil and get down and dirty. Maybe they’re looking for a place where they can try their hand at the craft; A Weed Dude Ranch. Something in which they will pay to participate.

The Outlaws and rough living of the Wild West have been romanticized to an almost cartoon degree in films and music. How, in Jah’s name, did Gene Autry keep such a clean red kerchief? If it were covered in dirt-boogers and trail grime, cowboy life might not have appealed to so many suburban kids of the past. In the same vein a pro-canna couple from Toledo, in Humboldt for their anniversary, don’t want to know what the fishmeal bucket smells like (let alone the toilet bucket). There is a special shine that must be put on the industry to make it presentable to the weed loving public who may have been romanticizing the lifestyle since they hit their first joint. Licensed cultivators who have worked hard for their paperwork are chomping at the bit (pun intended) to provide the experience for them. They want to offer destination vacations and farm tours; Canna packages, getaway bungalows. They have built it, goddamnit! Let them come! But rather than emulating wine country, take a page from the dude ranches scattered around cattle country. Give the vacationer an experience in outdoor growing that he can brag about later as he holds up a nugget of Chemdog. “I helped grow this.” He’ll say. “I’m practically it’s father. Can I borrow your lighter?”

What would one want out of a Canna Dude Ranch experience? What do folks get out of regular dude ranches? Billy Crystal helped birth a calf while icing a midlife crisis in City Slickers. Daniel Stern learned to work a lasso. They camped on the open range. They played cowboy for a few weeks and ate brown food out of a covered wagon. Something like this would fit into the canna-cation brochure. Perhaps quad rides to the top of the mountain for sunset could be part of the Canna Dude Ranch Package. The yoga and de-leafing hour could be the one right before lunch. How about a demonstration on how to properly open a bag of soil and dump it into a geo-pot and stir it with the right amount of amendments just like a real cowboy, er, grower. If a guest is lucky, they might be privy to a real live trimming experience. They could buy a pound, rent scissors and trim it themselves, while we’re spitballing. And of course, there must be sampling of the products and a gift shop full of wares and camo and edibles to take home. And, of course, a coupon for next time.

Cattle drives and cannabis cultivation have more in common than one might think. Both concern a product that must be cared for until market. Both are associated with an outdoor lifestyle, peppered with stories of danger and bandits. One, though, has a lucrative side business in giving vacationers a taste of “the real deal,” taking in workers and charging for the luxury of helping them get their product to market, and, honey, it ain’t the cannabis growers.There’s a price tag of about $3000 per person to help out a real working cattle drive. If area cultivators can lasso even a part of this business, they would be in good shape, and the experience would tattoo the word “Humboldt” on the heart of the guests forever, guaranteeing the longevity of the weed ranch travel industry. The thing to do now is to propagate more lore and more outlaw hero stories, because these are the pivot points that make people yearn for a taste of the growing lifestyle. That and the weed.

And that couple from Toledo, they come every year. Rasta Dan, their favorite farm hand, is their baby’s godfather. They are thinking of buying a vacation cabin on the Trinity. The New Wild West captured their imaginations, their hearts and their wallet.

“Oh give me a home, where the bear and squirrel roam,

Where the deer might eat all of our teens,

And seldom was told, where the product was sold,

But now pride we may take in our greens.

Home, Home on the hill,

Years ago we’d have worked at the mill,

But now thanks to the laws,

The gray line we may cross

Oh the danger’s gone,

But not the thrill.”

Sarah Godlin is a writer and long time resident of Humboldt County. Follow her on twitter for jokes @bloglin



  • doob ranch

  • groba dude osnt trustafarian

    And what do we do with the “tourist” who sits in the ER clutching her head and saying “I’m so stoned, so stoned” and then sues the tour operator for getting her too high?

    I am reminded of giving a joint of Hanoi Red to a girl in High School, and then I had to take her home, so loaded I thought her parents would have me arrested…

    Feed them some Humboldt weed. Keep some Thorazine and Niacin on hand for freak-outs though…

    And get some good insurance.

  • Oh. So let’s give em a fake realization of what it’s like to grow weed. Im a local of 44 years and have seen the hardships AND the rewards of weed growing. Welcome to La La land tourists. Fake Interpatations is the only way to safely do this. Add gunfire,alcoholism, drug abuse, mountain fever, yes… bears,dead rats in water, cops, ripoffs and lots of hard work and dirt(dust) and that would be the experience of a true humboldt grow scene

  • Sarah,

    Fun ideas and all. Thus is gonna sound nick-picky, because it is, but I gotta say it, because I’ve said it before: smart pots aren’t smart! (And neither is buying a bag of soil).

    This section in your letter sticks out to me:

    ” How about a demonstration on how to properly open a bag of soil and dump it into a geo-pot and stir it with the right amount of amendments just like a real cowboy, er, grower.”

    Buying a bulk load of soil, compost, etc., dumped by soil-hauling trucks is one totally fine practice. All comercial ag buys soil amendments, but it’s not going to be delivered in hundreds of small bags.

    Think about plastic waste and employment hours just to start with.

    Further, I don’t know of any commercial ag that grows in chemi-fabric pots littered around acres. They limit the plant, use more water than necessary, yada yada yada.

    This message is not so much for you sarah, just for the new hopefully legit growers out there.

    Time to put the farming into pot-farming.

    Drop the pots.

  • She must have got paid by the word

    All that could have been put in one sentence

  • Sick. Truly sick. Next up, a bus tour of the homeless of Eureka, a wine tour including stealing bottles from BevMo, and a shoplifting tour of Walmart. All dandy ideas for the criminally minded “entrepreneur.” What a sick society.

  • Hilarious, and over on the right here we have illegal stream diversion, if you look to your left you will see illegal poisons; as we move on you can see the illegal clearcutting performed to make way for weed. Oh and don’t forget the booby traps and armed guards. Please spend lots of money in our gift shop on the way out so we can keep going to our vacation homes in costa rica.

    • Don’t forget to break out their windows steal all there stuff and burn the car😂

    • LOL “to the left a 45kw diesel generator” “take in the fumes and sights of life up on the hill, not to mention the sounds ” What a rediculous idea cannabis tourism will NOT exist in Humboldt county. It will in the Salinas valley.

      • Jorge Cervantes

        Cannabis tourism has existed in Humboldt for over 40 years now. This is nothing new. People from all walks of life have been coming here to get high, buy our weed, and enjoy our number one attribute Natural majestic Beauty. Our Cannabis tourism will continue as it always has. It will just be more accepted now by straight law abiding people.

        • More Like, Cannabis Terrorism for the locals who moved here for peace and quiet years ago. Better sell the “Family Farm” and get outta dodge while the getting is still good.

  • Taurus Ballzhoff

    Wait, wouldn’t these “tourists” wanna just get wasted by the pool?

    Bring me a Pina Colada please!! And a Cheeseburger! Some fries! Chocolate sauce! Some chips! Gotta light?

    Gee, I don’t think they want to work on a dope farm…

  • We always joked about taking folks on tours of our old, overgrown Gorilla Grow sites tucked deep in the woods, but still exist, nonetheless. There would be strategically placed signs along the trail that would briefly describe what people were viewing at the various vantage points. The whole thing would be similar to Disneyland’s Indian Jones Adventure or the Pirates of the Caribbean. Near the end of the tour, our actual old school, long haired, hippy grower would show up to answer a few questions, shake hands, maybe smoke a little with everyone. Following the tour, we would have a fabulous open pit bbq, partake in some free samples, and let the kids go swimming in the pond. And, of course, transportation from the highway to the homestead, 3 1/2 miles up the dirt road, would be provided by tram-like atvs (driven by experienced operators only)…. and on and on.

  • Timothy McVeigh's ghost

    Open cafes in old town Eureka similar to Amsterdam, add some adult night clubs and the tourists will come.

    The farm in the middle of no where, and everything that comes with it…
    Not really a destination

  • Welcome to the Hotel California.

  • Put them to work trimming.

  • Sleepy Alligator

    Welcome ladies and gentlemen! Today I will show you one way to help prevent a caterpillar infestation, (as I swat the butterfly to the ground and squash it with my shoe) organically of course.

  • Is this fiction?

    • It is a ‘pipe dream’ from someone who smoked too much of the chronic before getting on their computer!

  • Yep, I have a real dude ranch in Siskiyou county – for sale to the highest pipe-dreamer! Come and get it before the next grower beats you to it…

  • Will they come dig a pool for my place? I’d really like a pool. I won’t charge them TOO much to do it. If they pay me a little extra ill let them build me a waterfall as well.

  • Welcome to the party, we are a full service 420 Friendly travel agent. Grass Routes 844-420-TRIP (8747)

  • More bong dreams. The ugly underbelly of the past 10 years of the “Humboldt Weed Scene” cannot be erased, nor should it be. Is the author unaware how disgusted just about everyone in Humboldt is of the dying grow scene here? It’s in its death throes, even people with and in the process of permitting will agree. To say the future is uncertain is an understatement.

  • Aquaman knows the answers

    Isn’t a dude in trinity doing a live on a cannabis farm B&B?? I’ve heard this from multiple sources and heard the county ok’d it. Makes sense to me.

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