Thousands of marijuana enthusiasts are returning to the Sonoma County Fairgrounds in Santa Rosa this weekend for the two-day Cannabis Cup NorCal festival held by counterculture media company High Times.
Expected to draw about 4,000 people attending each day, the event is among four large cannabis festivals and trade shows at the fairgrounds this year expected to bring thousands of visitors to the area. They’re paying sales taxes, staying in hotel rooms, eating in restaurants and otherwise spending money here.
Joining events like the Ironman triathlon race, the Granfondo bicycle ride and the Russian River Brewing Co.’s Pliny the Younger special beer release, these events are increasingly providing economic boosts to the region, highlighting the potential for tourism focused on Sonoma County’s place within California’s newly legalized cannabis industry.
“Cannabis events became a revenue driver of us,” said Raissa de la Rosa, Santa Rosa’s economic development manager. “The sales tax revenue from these events is really good.”
The 2018 Emerald Cup, the iconic Northern California organic cannabis festival held in Santa Rosa the last six years, generated more than $17 million for the county, according to an independent economic impact