In the green Los Angeles, became in 2016 the largest city in the world where cannabis is legal, many guides offer tourists to immerse themselves in this burgeoning industry, or even smoke with the stars.
To set up his business, Gene Grozovskiy was inspired by the experience of his father, a traditional guide for decades in the Californian megalopolis.
“In the beginning, the cannabis industry did not accept us, and the tourism sector either,” recalls the 35-year-old entrepreneur. “For a year, I knocked on doors and clogged.”
His company, Green Tours, is shooting today. And after a year 2018 in the red, he hopes to release its first profits in 2019.
Like Gene, many of them offer cannabis-focused courses in Los Angeles, which has been more used to seeing bus tours of Hollywood and Beverly Hills in search of show business stars.
Green Line Trips, Weedology, Dope Tours and Food High have bloomed in just a few months. Competition is raging, while cannabis has been on sale for recreational use only since January 1, 2018.
To distinguish himself from his rivals, Gene Grozovskiy says he seeks authenticity and originality. In particular, he offers his clients a chance to share a few puffs with actor Tommy Chong, who is used to supporting Hollywood roles (the series ‘ That’s 70s Show, in particular).
It will cost the interested 149 dollars each for this enriched course.
Gene Grozovskiy hopes to convince other stars to play the game, with the dream of one day becoming the absolute star of celebrities, rapper Snoop Dogg, volunteer ambassador of marijuana since its inception.
In the wings
The tours of Green Tours are meant to be sharp, designed as a real dive into the cannabis industry in the United States and its history, about four hours.
The guide, Ryan Lance, unavoidable, discusses legislative developments and the origins of the arrival of cannabis in America.
Later, in a specialized trade, Scott B, the manager, goes very far in the details on watering and pollination.
“If something interests you and you can see what’s going on behind the scenes, it’s always fun,” says Dan Chlebanowski, 30, who has participated in the visit and has been eating grass since adolescence. . “We see it at Disneyland, or Hollywood. Why not with cannabis? “
Surprisingly, sales of cannabis and its derivatives in 2018 fell in California to $ 2.5 billion from $ 3 billion in the previous year, according to research firm ArcView Research. another firm, BDS Analytics, was expecting 3.7 billion.
Some see in this retreat the influence of the very strict texts that surround culture and distribution in California, which would have deterred more than one entrepreneur.
The burden of taxation, which can be as high as 40% in some cities because municipalities often add their own tax to that of the State of California, has also, according to some, allowed the maintenance of some of the drug.
To date, the California Bureau of Cannabis (CCB) has granted 2,782 licenses.
The California Parliament is due to review this year a possible relaxation of the texts.
“We are expecting changes, but not in-depth reform just a year after” the legalization of recreational cannabis, says Alex Traverso, BCC Communications Manager.