DENVER – Partners invested in the world’s first marijuana resort are scrambling to find a new location in the Durango area after the announcement of the new venture drew international attention earlier this month.
When the Mary Jane Group announced June 9 that it would be opening the first cannabis-themed resort in early July, partners assumed they would be opening at the Wilderness Trails Ranch in Bayfield. They created a joint venture with Silverton resident Vanessa Roberts, whose in-laws had owned the ranch for more than 45 years.
But the announcement exploded, generating international attention as far away as France. So-called CannaCamp became the subject of jokes on several late-night talk shows, including Tuesday, when “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon used CannaCamp in a more than two-minute “Pros and Cons” segment titled “Going to marijuana camp.”
“Pro: It’s just like summer camp, except with weed,” Fallon joked. “Con: So ... summer camp.”
The early June announcement also coincided with the sale of Wilderness Trails Ranch. Between the sensation generated from the announcement and the sale of the ranch, partners realized they needed to find a new location to begin accommodating guests who had already begun booking their marijuana-themed getaways.
There was so much interest in the concept that Wilderness Trails wouldn’t have been able to offer proper year-round accommodations, even if the new owners allowed CannaCamp to lease space from them, Roberts said.
She hopes to announce a new location within the next few days, and she is optimistic that the resort will still open in early July. Partners are examining two locations in the Durango area.
“It was really important for us to stay in the Durango area because we do see that as a really important part of tourism for our area in Southwest Colorado,” Roberts said.
“We didn’t expect it to blow up the way that it did,” she said. “A lot of things happened that last week.”
When asked why the group made the official announcement before securing a location, Roberts responded: “It was clear that we needed to move a lot quicker than we were anticipating, which is a good challenge to have. I would not call that a problem.”
CannaCamp anticipates offering guests a “sophisticated” and “luxurious” rural experience, nestled in the rolling mountains of Southwest Colorado. Activities would include learning to cook with cannabis, lessons on different strains of marijuana, cannabis yoga, painting, massage therapy, pairing dinners and glass-blowing demonstrations.
Guests would stay in upscale cabins, with access to an endless array of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, rock climbing and ziplining, to name a few.
CannaCamp continues to take reservations as partners look for a new location, but owners say everyone will be accommodated once the new location is secured.
“I really am not concerned with anything being thrown in front of us that we can’t handle,” Roberts said.
“In hindsight, this pivot is going to ultimately be very successful for us,” Joel Schneider, chief executive of the Mary Jane Group, said of the scramble to find a new location.