Cannabis usage in tourism: A sociological perspective

Yaniv Belhassen, Carla Almeida Santos, Natan Uriely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The present study aims to investigate the social forces that shape tourists' motives in consuming cannabis while on vacation. The underlying premise of this paper is that cannabis consumption in tourism is driven and influenced by the wider process of the normalization of cannabis use in Western societies and, therefore, should be examined in this context. Using a grounded theory approach, this study suggests four umbrella groups of motivations to consume cannabis while traveling: experimentation, pleasure and diversion-seeking, quest for authenticity, and accessible purchasing. Each category is illuminated and discussed, respectively, in the light of four theoretical explanations: loosening of social control, the leisure behavioral continuum, shaping and manifestation of social identity, and smuggling as a deviant career. Given the lack of previous research, it is suggested that these explanations can be viewed as an initial framework for further investigation of this under-explored topic. The paper concludes by examining several theoretical and epistemological issues revolving around the relationships between cannabis use, tourism and everyday life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-319
Number of pages17
JournalLeisure Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2007


  • Grounded theory
  • Marijuana
  • Motivation
  • Normalization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


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