Tag along as Oregon’s cannatourism industry formally kicks off (Photos)

It didn’t take long for the notion of cannatourism to hit Portland.

About six months after the recreational use of marijuana was legalized, the BridgeTown Weed Tour will give visitors a chance to view the state’s cannabis culture from the comfort of a tour bus.

Ryan McFallo of the Tour said his group offers glimpses of the state’s “urbane approach to cannabis culture.” The first tours will launch April 16.

Click on the picture above for a look at a few places the BridgeTown Weed Tour will visit

We threw a few questions at McFallo by email. His answers are below. He also sent some pictures our way of a few of the spots the Tour will visit.

Are you the first Oregon cannabis tour providers? Yes.

Where did you get the idea for it. Well, in 2014, prior to the legalization of marijuana in Oregon…

We don’t take for granted the unique position Oregon is in, being one of only four states to fully legalize marijuana for recreational use. We realize there are countless numbers of marijuana advocates, patients, and recreational users in the U.S. that may not have the pleasure to go to a legal dispensary, visit a growing facility to learn the horticultural aspects of cannabis, or freely partake in cannabis without the risk of arrest and jail.

Considering all of this, we felt there was an untapped opportunity and that people would be interested in an urbane approach to cannabis and the cannabis culture of Portland.

How are you marketing it outside the state? As you can imagine, as a start-up, our budget for indirect and direct marketing is relatively small compared to larger or more established companies in the cannabis industry … We felt that building name recognition in Portland first is instrumental for us to have future successes. Since 2014, we have been directly involved in every aspect of this company and pride ourselves on face-to-face connections and the knowledge that when you are working with Bridgetown Weed Tour you are not only getting a fantastic brand and product; you are also getting us. This philosophy has been instrumental in every meeting we’ve had, every owner we’ve met, and every partner we’ve made.

More to the base of your question, how have we marketed ourselves out of the state, first and foremost our SEO work has been phenomenal. We have self-built a top of the line responsive website and are currently ranked first for a number of cannabis related tour searches in Portland. This has generated a lot of interest nationally and directly led to us being featured in the March issue of an industry leading magazine, MG Magazine. It also led to partnering with a national multiple cannabis tourism agencies, who specialize in all-inclusive cannabis experiences.

Secondly, our social media marketing team have been forging connections locally and nationally with medical and recreational dispensaries, growing facilities, nonprofit organizations, retail cannabis companies, and individuals alike. This has been great for initial contact, lead generation, promoting our brand identity, and promoting causes that affect the entire cannabis community. It has been an instrumental part in curating our online presence, developing partnerships with locally owned farms and boutiques, and establishing a connection to the national cannabis community at large.

As we grow, we plan to expand our in state and out of state marketing, but feel that our current marketing strategy using SEO, social media marketing, and good old fashioned face-to-face meetings and handshakes offer a low cost high reward marketing strategy that builds our brand identity and has put us in the position we are in; a top tier cannabis tour in a top tier city.

What are some of the cooler places you’ve been to as you put the tour together?One of the cooler places we have had the pleasure to go has been Chalice Farms. They are in the process of building their national headquarters (24,000 total square feet) which will include office space, commercial kitchen space, state of the art growing facility, extraction lab, and dispensary. It’s pretty much a one stop shop for any cannabis connoisseur.

We are very excited to be in the beginning phases of forming a partnership with them as one of our featured shops. This is a great facility and a great opportunity for everyone involved. It highlights every aspect of the plant, from a seed through maturity to harvest and processing. We feel the more people learn the science behind cannabis cultivation the more it will be destigmatized.

Just to end on a touching note, speaking of destigmatizing cannabis, we received a touching email from a breast cancer survivor who was interested in booking a tour. Without knowing the extent of her circumstances, she wrote of her struggle with chemo, the after effects, and how cannabis was the perfect medicine for her. Her struggle and strength were inspiring to say the least and a direct result of this email, we are in the planning stages of hosting a breast cancer survivor tour with proceeds going to a locally owned nonprofit focusing on breast cancer research.

This anecdote is just a little reminder to why we do what we do. As individuals and as a business, we are here to connect communities to all of the beneficial aspects of cannabis.