The opening of the first recreational pot shops in Colorado seems to have created a noticeable boost to the state’s important tourism industry. According to, in the three months since the first marijuana shops opened the city of Denver has seen a dramatic 25 percent increase in hotel searches compared to the same three months last year.
Marijuana’s Effect on Denver Tourism

There is strong indication this increase was caused primarily by marijuana legalization because there was also a remarkable 73 percent increase in hotel searches for the weekend of April 18-20 compared to the same time last year. The day “4/20″ is as close as the country gets to a marijuana holiday. As a result several events are planned in the city that weekend. is not the only travel site to find a significant increase in searches for Colorado. Hopper similarly showed a spike in flight searches to Denver immediately after the first stores opened at the beginning of January.

It would appear Americans aren’t just voting for legalization at the ballot box but also with their vacation dollars. It will be interesting to see how this aspect plays into the politics in other states. Politicians continuing on unpopular marijuana prohibition could cause their state’s tourism industry to suffer.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy