On Wednesday, February 24, a group of cannabis industry pioneers led a free online webinar titled “Destination Cannabis: Insight for New Jersey Hospitality and Tourism.”
115 people attended the Zoom moderated by Amanda Hoover, a reporter for Cannabis Insider, NJ.com and the Star Ledger. The panel also featured Rob Mejia, President of Community Harvest: A Cannabis Education Company and adjunct professor of Cannabis Studies at Stockton.
Talking points of the event included the implications of N.J. Governor Phil Murphy’s recent decision to legalize marijuana. Hoover states that medical sales are currently the only available option, but that recreational dispensaries are coming. At this time, marijuana can only legally be consumed by individuals 21 and over in their private residence.
Panelist David Yusefzadeh, Massachusetts-based chef, food designer, and CEO/Founder of Cloud Creamery, a cannabis ice cream company, discussed his goal of opening a consumption lounge. Currently, a handful of other states have safely and successfully introduced consumption lounges, which offer a communal place for people to consume cannabis.
Yusefzadeh also mentioned how cannabis and cooking go hand-in-hand. Commonly infused foods like edible candies and treats don’t offer the same experience as infusing real foods. Not only is the market interested in trying these healthier consumption options, but this opens a door to find foods that could greatly benefit people with auto-immune diseases who are relying on infused junk food as their medicine source.
CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabis component, is also being incorporated into local foods. Mejia emphasized how this is a step in the right direction, additionally advocating for cannabis-friendly yoga classes and tours.
According to a study conducted by panelist Brian Applegarth, 29% of travel audiences are cannabis motivated. This explains why the legalization of marijuana will open opportunities for New Jersey hospitality and tourism businesses.
The webinar concluded with an exploration of how someone can get involved in the industry. Tips included suggesting new ideas and new demographics of patients, talking with local advocacy programs, and maximizing education on the industry.
Destination Cannabis is an annual event co-sponsored by the Lloyd D. Levenson Institute of Gaming, Hospitality and Tourism (LIGHT) at Stockton University, the Stockton Cannabis Studies Certificate program, and the Greater Atlantic City Chamber of Commerce. Although it could not be held live this year, it remained a successful event full of valuable and timely information.