Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Tourists account for a large percentage of cannabis customers in adult-use states. In Colorado alone, marijuana tourism brought the state $100 million last year, or roughly 17 percent of all cannabis sales. Yes, weed-friendly states are known to welcome the rest of the country with kind buds, oil pens, medicated chocolates, rolling papers, and open arms (for hugs).
Whether it’s your first time visiting a state where recreational marijuana is legal or you’re a seasoned cannabis jet-setter, there are some guiding principles to help make the experience chill for everyone. To start, be discreet and don’t overindulge. But, what are the rules concerning consumption in hotels, traveling to airports, sporting events, dispensaries, bars, and clubs? We put together this helpful guide of weed tourism dos and don’ts to clear up any confusion, help you stay safe, and make the most of your trips to states where the grass is, well, greener.
Do ask to go to a dispensary. Some drivers may have great recommendations. But, keep in mind not everyone consumes, so don’t expect pro advice from everyone you meet in green states.
Don’t light up in the car or ask the driver to sell you weed. In most regulated markets, people can gift each other cannabis, but you must purchase cannabis through licensed dispensaries.
Pro Tip: Wait until you check into your room and ask the host or concierge if they have any recommendations or discounts available for nearby dispensaries.
Do keep any cannabis you have or purchase out of view, in a container. In some adult-use states, it’s prohibited to have cannabis products out in the open while driving.
Don’t consume cannabis and drive. Most locales treat driving under the influence of cannabis similarly to drunk driving and you’ll face penalties.
Pro Tip: Wait until you arrive at your destination to imbibe cannabis. It’s not cool to toke and drive.
Do bring ID. Expect to pay cash only and feel comfortable asking budtenders for their recommendations or store specials. Explore various types of cannabis since some may be better suited for travel than others. Edibles, recyclable vape pens, tinctures, and moderate amounts of flower are great for bouncing around town.
Don’t touch the nugs. Cannabis flower is covered in valuable pistils and trichomes that break and shake off when handled. Plus, it’s best to keep the flower sanitary. Ask your budtenders if you need a closer look. They’ll hand you a magnifying glass and possibly tweezers. Be gentle with the merchandise. After the purchase, do not light up on premises. It’s generally unlawful to smoke anywhere within a few meters of most dispensaries.
Pro Tip: When you receive great service, ask if it’s OK to tip and leave a little extra. Budtending is similar to bartending and your tender will appreciate gratuity.
Do talk to the concierge about your cannabis needs and questions. Hotel concierges in adult-use states are generally well accustomed to cannabis tourism and may recommend dispensaries, tours, 420-friendly venues, and great insight on how to further enjoy the area.
Don’t assume smoking cannabis in your hotel room is allowed. Some hotels will tolerate it, but nearly none will advertise this. The concierge may be able to direct you. Follow these tips for getting lit without getting caught and use a vaporizer if you’re uncertain.
Are you over 18?
Pro Tip: Tip generously-—the receptionist, concierge, bellhop, valet, maid, etc. This is always good advice for hotels.
Do review your host’s rules on smoking and 420. If there’s no mention, smoking outdoors on private property is generally within reason, but still may be unacceptable to certain hosts. Like hotels, using a vaporizer is best when uncertain.
Don’t invite unannounced or unregistered guests to your Airbnb. Some hosts may assume you’re hosting a party in their house and frown upon it.
Pro Tip: When choosing an Airbnb outside of a metro area, check the local city’s laws on cannabis. While cannabis may be legal statewide, adult-use regulations often differ from town to town.
Restaurants / Bars / Clubs / Theaters
Do bring your cannabis with you, so long as the quantity is within legal limits. Generally, this means under an ounce of flower and a few grams of concentrates (vape pens, oils). Security at sporting events and concerts will usually let you through with your cannabis since it’s legal.
Don’t plan to smoke or vape inside. The public place you’re in must comply with an Indoor Clean Air Act, prohibiting smoking and vaping on premises. Also, if the venue serves alcohol, cannabis consumption is typically prohibited. Ask security where it’s OK to light up. Or, try cannabis edibles for the occasion.
Pro Tip: Avoid mixing cannabis and alcohol to the point of impairment. Both bartenders and budtenders are well advised not to serve intoxicated customers.
Do be cautious. Smoking and vaping cannabis in public spaces, including parks, is generally prohibited, most certainly so in government-protected parklands.
Are you over 18?
Don’t assume it’s OK to light up just because you are outside. Public parks, sidewalks, or any public property is generally off limits for consuming cannabis in adult-use states.
Pro Tip: Edibles and vapes help here. Or, rent an RV and consume inside while camped out.
Do feel comfortable knowing local police generally deal with cannabis at the airports, so the state’s cannabis regulations will apply. However, it’s not legal to cross state lines with cannabis, so plan to give away or ditch your weed before heading to the airport.
Don’t consume cannabis at the airport. Don’t fly with cannabis.
Pro Tip: During your travels, leave your extra cannabis as a tip wherever appropriate. The best way to do this? Simply ask the recipient if they like to partake. A receptive maid, waiter, waitress, bartender, or other service industry professional will graciously accept your extra stash.