And the most irregular jump in demand is coming from states with the strictest drug laws in the country.
According to travel planner Hopper.com, flight search demand to Denver has been 6.3% higher than the national average since December 1st. Marijuana was legalized for recreational use on January 1st.
“Demand has been up at least 10% for each of the last three weeks, and peaked at a 14% increase during the first week of January,” Hopper’s chief data scientist Patrick Surry writes in the report.
Correlation does’t equal causality, but Surry thinks the spike in demand lines up neatly with the news cycle surrounding marijuana legalization.
“It doesn’t seem as though [the increased Denver traffic] is a seasonal thing,” Surry told the Riverfront Times. “It doesn’t match the pattern of demand you see for ski vacations.”
Plus: “Although Denver’s also been in the news for their January playoff run, that doesn’t seem to be a major factor causing increased traffic as neither of Denver’s playoff opponent cities showed an above average demand,” Surry writes.
Surry found that flight searches from the Midwest, in particular, are totally high right now.
“All those states, other than Minnesota, have strict laws. There’s no decriminalization or medical use,” Surry explained to the Riverfront Times.
The map from the report shows where flight search to Denver has rocketed at least 25% relative to the national average. As Surry notes, the cities tend to be clustered in the Midwest, where penalties for weed can be harsher (with the exception of Minneapolis)
See a list and map of the top twelve cities at Business Insider.