In June, Seattle officials publicly voiced their support for pot tourism. It’s too soon to tell whether the city will become the next Amsterdam, attracting THC-seeking tourists throughout the region and beyond. But Mike Momany, 61, has high hopes.
His vision: to start cannabis clubs that host private, bring-your-own-bud events for paying members. What sort of events? Bar parties, catered soirees and outdoor cinemas. “We might watch Cheech & Chong movies or the original Woodstock,” he says.
To get the ball rolling, he has set up the Mary Jane Members Association ($10 a year; Facebook: “Mary Jane Members”) and, for the older crowd, Boomer Buds Social Club (Facebook: “Boomer Buds”). He also launched the Washington State Cannabis Tourism Association. So far, it’s an organization of just one, but Momany is confident other entrepreneurs will join him once recreational pot shops open and state rules surrounding pot tourism solidify.
Of course, some restrictions are already in place. I-502’s ban on using pot in public means tourism events must be private. Likewise, state anti-smoking laws mean smokefriendly tourism events must be staffed by volunteers rather than employees of the hosting establishment.
The Liquor Control Board has no intention of promoting pot tourism, says spokesperson Brian Smith, who adds that opening a marijuana café is verboten. But even if the board bans establishments that serve alcohol from having smoking and vapor rooms, it can’t touch existing boozefree cafés and lounges, says Hilary Bricken, attorney with Seattle’s Canna Law Group.
What about tourists flocking to Seattle to sample the local herb? Bricken suspects the city is heading in that direction. “If we get the storefronts off the ground,” she says, a change she puts in a two- to five-year window, “I think it could be huge.” — M.G.