Tourism is one of the major industries that benefited from the cannabis boom.
As more states legalized recreational cannabis, the numbers in cannabis tourists grew especially in areas where local marijuana regulations made it welcome for them. One no longer had to dream of traveling to Amsterdam just to experience world-class marijuana as well as incredible sights; recreational cannabis legalization spread and along with it, the opportunity to travel for the high.
There are some destinations in the United States that are considered hot for cannabis tourism, and for good reason. Los Angeles, for one; this cultural melting pot has tons of immersive experiences ranging from beautiful beaches, art galleries, cinemas, and stand-up comics. It’s also where you can find the first cannabis café ever, located in West Hollywood, plus many other cannabis-infused culinary experiences. There is no doubt that cannabis is rooted deep in the culture of the city of angels.
Another is Portland, Oregon, a city that is synonymous to artisan everything: from craft beer to organic cannabis and everything else in between, it’s a hipster paradise unlike any other place in the United States. Tourists can choose from tons of cannabis-friendly activities including art classes, hiking, or getting to know the local cannabis community. Warm weather cannabis tourism locations always draw a bigger crowd than colder climates.
Meanwhile, Boulder, Colorado has a well-loved progressive vibe and a charming mountain ambiance that just goes so well with cannabis culture. While Denver has always been a hotspot for cannabis, Boulder is a little more relaxed and it tends to attract individuals who are passionate about the outdoors, and wellness to boot.
Other marijuana tourism hotspots include Washington DC, Anchorage, Alaska; Chicago, Illinois; Las Vegas, Nevada; Ann Arbor in Michigan, among many others. But since the pandemic, the face of cannabis travel as we know it has changed.
However, the pandemic may have slowed down the number of tourists though there is still a passion among Americans to travel for cannabis. A 2020 survey conducted by MMGY Travel Intelligence together with Enlightn Strategies revealed that 20% of adult Americans identify as “cannabis-motivated”. With 18 states today plus Guam, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands having legalized marijuana for recreational use, the possibilities of cannabis travel are better than ever too.
What To Know About Cannabis Travel Today
Research the laws in your destination. Go on the internet to scope out the laws, and the proximity of recreational dispensaries to where you are staying. Check out what the local government says about consumption, particularly what you can consume and where.
Take note that just because recreational cannabis is legal in a state doesn’t mean that you can walk down the street with a blunt, even if you see the locals doing this very same thing. Most public spaces are still illegal for smoking cannabis, so as a traveler, you want to travel with caution and follow the rules. Nothing ruins a trip faster than having to take a trip down to the local police county.
Discretion is always key – best to stick to your friend’s patio or renting your own cannabis-friendly AirBnB and keep smoking to these private places, away from the public eye.
Read up on cannabis-friendly lounges and bars. Socializing with other cannabis-loving locals is always fun, especially for the extroverts out there. A handful of states are welcoming to cannabis lounges, and these places offer terrific entertainment options while are also designed for private smoking and consumption in a safe and cozy environment.
Some cities that are renowned for excellent lounges include New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. In addition, some dispensaries also have lounges attached to them. So doing your research is your best bet.
Traveling on a plane with THC products is risky – and not recommended. Even if you are flying to and from states that have legalized recreational cannabis, the TSA has made it clear that while they do not specifically search for marijuana or illegal drugs, they are mandated by federal law to let law enforcement know if they have discovered cannabis even if it’s being used for medical purposes and you have an MMJ card.
Sure, you may have heard of people getting away with it. Certain things like edibles and vape pens may be easier to get away with especially if you repack them properly. However, it is all still quite risky and not advisable especially for amateurs. The rules also vary from city to city and airport to airport.
You don’t want to end your trip getting charged for an attempt to smuggle drugs. Just finish your pot at your destination before you hop on a plane.
Ask a local budtender for tips. The best way to get to know about the hottest strains and deals in a new destination is by chatting up a budtender at a legal dispensary. They can give you the low down on lots of useful information including cannabis lounges, products for your needs, and trendy new products that are only available in that destination.
Always bring a copy of your medical marijuana card if you have one. This type of paper work is important no matter where you go. It also helps to have your lawyer or physician’s number on speed dial in case you run into trouble in another destination.
No matter where you decide to travel, doing your homework is important. Medical marijuana patients can enjoy certain rights when they travel but even if you are, knowing the fine print everywhere you go will save you hassles and ensure you have a smooth, fun trip.
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