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US (CA): Napa Valley nervous over cannabis

Napa Valley sells most of its wine to Gen X and baby boomers. If the valley wants to keep thriving as millennials become a more important part of the market, it will have to add cannabis.

This was one of the points made Wednesday during a panel called "Is Cannabis a Good Thing for the Napa Valley," part of the annual Wine & Weed Symposium.

Currently, commercial cultivation of cannabis is not allowed in unincorporated Napa County, though the city of American Canyon recently approved indoor cannabis grows. Of more interest to tourists is that cannabis retail sales in Napa County are limited to medical-use dispensaries in the city of Napa, or delivery to county residents. Unlike in Colorado, where tourists go to spark up, visitors to Napa County cannot easily buy cannabis while they're there.

"We need diversification," said Stephanie Honig, who is both director of sales and communications for Honig Vineyard & Winery, and president of the Napa Valley Cannabis Association. "Napa is about wine primarily and will always be that way. But in marketing, people think that cannabis will hurt the Napa Valley brand. I feel like it's the opposite. Millennials see cannabis as part of their lifestyle. If we're not offering cannabis, they'll go somewhere else."


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