Picture adding marijuana to the Berkshires' famous lures of culture, retreats (photos)
HANCOCK — Imagine, wafting in to join the Berkshires’ renowned offerings of performing arts, museums and retreats, the addition of marijuana.
“The reason I think this is really important is because it’s about to explode and the more information we have the better we will be able to serve the community and the people that are coming to the Berkshires,” said Kathy Walsh, owner of KnockKnock Social, a social media agency for the cannabis industry.
Walsh was among over 30 business owners, representatives of the tourism and hospitality industries and others who attended a forum Thursday called “Canna Tourism in the Berkshires — What it Means for Your Business,” held at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort at 37 Corey Road.
It’s big business: Marijuana sales are projected to hit $450 million in Massachusetts this year, but expected to rocket to $1.5 billion in Colorado in 2018, forum presenter Andrea F. Nuciforo Jr. said. Colorado began permitting retail sales of marijuana in January 2014.
Nuciforo is a former state senator and the co-founder of the Berkshire Roots medical marijuana dispensary that opened in March in Pittsfield. Berkshire Roots offered the forum with 1Berkshire, the regional economic development organization.
Using slides in an upstairs conference room, Nuciforo framed the presentation of the marijuana industry as one that is fast-moving and marked by some uncertainties but nonetheless bustling with attractions in the way pot can be consumed and integrated into businesses.
Marijuana in other locations is part of lodging, cooking, tour, guidebook, retreat, transportation, dinner party and other industries, such as “sushi and joint rolling” classes, Nuciforo said.
“As you can see, there’s a lot going on here. Cannabis is somehow finding its way into all these different sectors,” he said.
Pot is available not only in smoking form, but baked into food like chocolate chip cookies and chews,