Cannabis tourism: Travel to US pot spots on the rise

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How to travel within your bud-get

Move over, Amsterdam, there’s a fresh crop of hot pot spots in the United States where cannabis tourism is on the rise and travelers seeking legal recreational marijuana can have their pot and smoke it too.

Marijuana for recreational use by adults is currently legal in eight U.S. states (Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, Washington) plus the District of Columbia. Colorado and Washington were the first to legalize recreational pot in the U.S. in 2013.

Across the U.S., 28 states allow medical marijuana use. Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level in the U.S. Additionally, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada’s Liberal Party have said they will work to legalize, regulate, and restrict access to marijuana with legislation expected this spring; the country already permits medical pot use.

Travelers are showing interest in taking a toke-worthy trip right here in North America – public support for legalizing marijuana in the U.S. has reached 60 percent, according to a Gallup poll.

Here is what you need to know before taking a ganja getaway to any of the nine U.S. destinations where pot is hot. Can’t decide which one to head to first? Search for flights on Cheapflights.com and compare your options for a bud-get friendly trip.

Alaska
California
Colorado
Massachusetts
Maine
Nevada
Oregon
Washington
Washington, D.C.

Tips to cannabis tourism

  • Since marijuana is illegal at the federal level, it is illegal to take marijuana out of state or to an airport.
  • Check the rules where you’re going. While these destinations have all legalized recreational marijuana, there may be different rules in each.
  • Don’t drive high; it’s not only illegal to consume marijuana while driving, it’s illegal to have an open the package in the car, as well.
  • If you’re smoking marijuana, wait at least six hours before driving. If you’re ingesting marijuana, wait at least eight hours
  • It is illegal to use marijuana in public. A good rule of thumb for determining if you’re in a public place: If someone outside of your home can see you, you’re probably in public.
  • Don’t leave your marijuana extras in hotel rooms or rental cars – it’s dangerous when not labeled, it could fall into the hands of minors and you could be charged a fee for doing so.

Alaska

Juneau, Alaska sunset
Enjoy a joint in Juneau, Alaska. (Image: Ian D. Keating, Goodbye Juneau Alaska via CC BY 2.0)

Personal recreational use and possession of marijuana became legal in Alaska on Feb. 24, 2015, and the first retail marijuana store opened in Valdez, Ala., on Oct. 29, 2016. Since then, cannabis tourism has become a budding industry. Several attractions geared toward cannabis tourism in Alaska have cropped up across the state, including Juneau Cannabis Tours – which will give visitors an inside look at Juneau’s recreational cannabis market, with stops at cultivation and manufacturing facilities and the best retail stores beginning in May 2017 – and Bowman’s Bear Creek Lodge in Hope, Ala., which offers cozy, cannabis-friendly cabins. The Hemp and Cannabis Fair, which celebrates the legalization of recreational marijuana use, is July 29-30, 2017 in Anchorage. The two-day event features workshops and product displays. Each community within Alaska has different marijuana rules and ordinances that include the following marijuana statutes and regulations (be sure to check the rules in your destination before traveling):

  • Buyers must be 21 to purchase, possess, and use retail marijuana and marijuana products. Marijuana must be purchased from licensed marijuana retail stores. Travelers must show a valid form of government-issued photo ID to verify the age requirement.
  • Marijuana and marijuana products cannot be taken out of the state of Alaska. Marijuana cannot be taken on a cruise, ferry or airplane. It cannot be transported into or out of the state.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
  • State residents and visitors age 21 and older can purchase as much as 1 ounce (28 grams) of retail marijuana at a time.
  • Adults age 21 and older can possess or carry as much as 1 ounce of retail marijuana at a time.
  • AS 17.38 or Ballot Measure 2 bans public consumption of marijuana and using it (including eating, drinking, vaping or smoking) in public remains illegal. Public places include sidewalks, roads, parks, cafes, restaurants, sporting or music venues, national parks, public land, roads, cruise ships, national monuments, military bases and hotel lobbies. It cannot be used while driving or while riding as a passenger in a vehicle.

California

Santa Monica, California beach
Smoke out in Santa Monica, California. (Image: Visit California, Andreas Hub)

Voters approved Proposition 64 in November 2016, making California the most populous state to legalize recreational marijuana. The HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup, a trade show featuring a live grow room, a cannabis career fair, edibles village, topical massage spa and vape lounge, is April 21-23, 2017 in San Bernardino, Calif. and June 3-4, 2017 in Santa Rosa, Calif.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • Buyers must be 21 to purchase, possess and use retail marijuana and marijuana products. Marijuana must be purchased from licensed marijuana retail stores. It is illegal to give marijuana to minors. Valid ID is required to purchase retail marijuana.
  • Adults 21 and older can purchase, possess, and transport up to 28.5 grams of marijuana or eight grams of concentrate. Currently, California does not have any licensed marijuana retail stores, but the Bureau of Marijuana Control (currently the California Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation) will regulate and license marijuana sales. The state has until January 1, 2018, to start issuing licenses.
  • Consumption of marijuana in public places, at locations where tobacco use is outlawed, and within 1,000 feet of a school, day care, or youth center, is illegal. Public places include sidewalks, roads, parks, cafes, sporting or music venues, national parks, public land, roads and retail marijuana stores. Tobacco and marijuana use is outlawed in restaurants and theaters. It cannot be used while driving.

Colorado

Marijuana storefront in Colorado
Get high in the Mile High City. (Image: Jeffrey Beall, Cannabis Station (Closeup) via CC BY-SA 2.0)

Since voting to legalize marijuana for recreational use in 2013, Colorado has seen an uptick in toke tourism, and it’s big business. The state is home to Bud + Breakfast, the first and only all-inclusive cannabis-friendly lodge in Denver, Colorado and Silverthorne, Colo. The hotel offers a daily Wake + Bake Breakfast, munchies 24/7 and a 4:20 happy hour daily. 420 Tours offers a Greenhouse and Dispensary Tour and events like its Sushi, Sake, and Joint Rolling Class. There are 440 licensed retail marijuana businesses as of January 1, 2017, according to the Colorado Department of Revenue. In 2015, the state health department launched Good To Know, an educational campaign to help Coloradans and visitors understand the rules and guidelines for retail marijuana. It publishes a fact sheet that details the laws:

  • Retail marijuana may only be purchased at licensed retailers approved by the Colorado Department of Revenue and the local municipality.
  • Buyers must be 21 to purchase, possess and use retail marijuana and marijuana products. Marijuana must be purchased from licensed marijuana retail stores. It is illegal to give marijuana to minors. Valid ID is required to purchase retail marijuana and minors are not allowed in the restricted portion of a retail store. Adults over age 21 can give as much as an ounce of marijuana to another adult over age 21, but they cannot sell it.
  • Colorado residents 21 and older can purchase as much as one ounce of retail marijuana at a time. Non-residents can purchase one ounce.
  • Adults 21 and older can possess or carry as much as one ounce of retail marijuana at a time.
  • Amendment 64 bans public consumption of marijuana and using it (including eating, drinking, vaping or smoking) in public remains illegal. Public places include sidewalks, roads, parks, cafes, restaurants, sporting or music venues, ski slopes, national parks, public land, roads and retail marijuana stores. It cannot be used while driving or while riding as a passenger in a vehicle.
  • Marijuana can be used on private property; however, property owners and private businesses (including hotels and rental cars) can ban the use and possession of marijuana on their property, so if you’re renting a place to stay in Colorado, ask beforehand.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. Colorado passed a law in 2013 that makes it illegal to drive with more than 5 nanograms of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (the psychoactive THC) in your blood.
  • Marijuana and marijuana products cannot be taken out of the state of Colorado. Denver International Airport bans the possession, use, display and transfer of all marijuana on its property.
Search for flights to Denver

Massachusetts

Boston Harbor
Smoke a bowl in Beantown. (Image: Alan Kotok, Boston harbor and skyline via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Voters voted in favor of Question 4: Legalization, Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana in November 2016. The act went into effect December 15, 2016. The general supervision and regulation of marijuana falls under the Cannabis Control Commission.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • Buyers must be 21 to purchase, possess, and use retail marijuana and marijuana products. Marijuana must be purchased from licensed marijuana retail stores. It is illegal to give marijuana to minors.
  • Adults 21 and older can purchase, use and possess up to one ounce of marijuana or five grams of concentrate. Folks can possess up to 10 ounces of marijuana within his or her primary residence. Currently, Massachusetts does not have any licensed marijuana retail stores, but the Cannabis Control Commission will regulate and license marijuana sales.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
  • The use and consumption of marijuana in public is illegal. Public places include sidewalks, roads, parks, cafes, restaurants, sporting or music venues, national parks, public land and roads.

Maine

Quaint Maine fishing village
Make time for maryjane in Maine. (Image: jar [o], Stonington, Maine via Flickr CC BY 2.0)
Voters approved the Maine Marijuana Legalization Act, which allows for the recreational use of marijuana in November 2016; however, a bill pending before the state’s legislature could push back sales at licensed shops and social clubs to February 2018, according to the “Portland Press Herald.” Unless the bill passes, it is expected that adults 21 and older will be allowed to grow, possess and use marijuana by the end of January or early February. The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry is tasked with developing the rules and regulations for recreational marijuana sales.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • Adults 21 and older will be able to possess up to two-and-a-half ounces of marijuana. 

Nevada

Las Vegas Strip at night
Get stoned on The Strip. (Image: Marco Verch, Las Vegas Strip at Night via Flickr CC BY 2.0)

Nevada’s law legalized marijuana for recreational use in November 2016 with the passing of Nevada Initiative Petition 1. The law went into effect January 1, 2017, and the state’s Department of Taxation is assigned to adopt regulations relating to the license to operate marijuana dispensaries and sales for recreational use. The HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup, a trade show featuring a live grow room, a cannabis career fair, edibles village, topical massage spa and vape lounge, is March 4-5, 2017, in Las Vegas.

Here’s what we know so far:

  • Buyers must be 21 to purchase, possess and use retail marijuana and marijuana products. Marijuana must be purchased from licensed marijuana retail stores. It is illegal to give marijuana to minors.
  • Adults 21 and older can purchase, use and possess up to one ounce of marijuana and up to one-eighth of an ounce of concentrated marijuana. Currently, Nevada does not have any licensed marijuana retail stores.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
  • The use and consumption of marijuana in public is illegal. Public places include sidewalks, roads, parks, cafes, restaurants, sporting or music venues, national parks, public land and roads.

Oregon

Tilikum Crossing bridge in Portland, Oregon
Take a puff in Portland, Oregon. (Image: Kenji Sugahara / dronescape / TravelOregon.com)

Recreational marijuana use and possession became legal and sales started on July 1, 2015, after Measure 91 was passed by voters in November 2014. Despite this, some counties in Oregon have still made it illegal to sell marijuana. (Here is a map of marijuana retailers throughout the state.) As of June 2, 2016, registered medical marijuana dispensaries that were participating in early-start retail sales were able to begin selling marijuana retail products including low-dose edibles and extracts, and the industry has been growing in the state ever since.

Oregon Weed Tours helps vacationers book legal cannabis holidays, including pot-friendly lodging, partitioned vans for passenger smoking and grow and dispensary tours, while Bridgetown Weed Tour connects individuals nationwide to Portland, Oregon’s refined cannabis culture. The Jupiter Hotel has partnered with “DOPE Magazine” to present Oregon’s first hotel cannabis experience. The package include a room at the Jupiter Hotel, the latest issue of “DOPE Magazine,” a munchie kit and an “Everything But The Weed Kit” that includes a “DOPE Magazine” vape pen and hat, Jupiter Hotel T-shirt and discount coupons to local dispensaries (note: no cannabis is included and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission prohibits the smoking of cannabis at the Jupiter Hotel and any public place in Oregon). The Hemp & Cannabis Fair, which features hemp and cannabis products, accessories and sessions on growing and medicinal benefits, hosts a “celebration of legal marijuana” in several locations throughout the year. The HIGH TIMES Cannabis Cup, a trade show that includes competitions, seminars, expositions, celebrity appearances and product showcases is in August 2017. Consult the state’s What’s Legal guidelines to “Educate Before You Recreate.”

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Buyers must be 21 to purchase, possess and use marijuana. Marijuana must be purchased from licensed marijuana retail stores. Travelers must show a valid for of government-issued photo ID to verify the age requirement.
  • Marijuana and marijuana products cannot be taken out of the state of Oregon, including to neighboring Washington where recreational marijuana use is also legal for adults 21 and older.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
  • State residents and visitors 21 and older can purchase as much as one ounce of marijuana at a time. The daily limit on purchasing edibles is as follows (cannabis concentration and serving size limits are here):
    • 50 mg of THC per container
    • Topical- 6% of THC per container
    • Tincture- 1,000 mg THC per container
    • 
Capsule- 100 mg THC per container
    • Cannabinoid concentrates of extracts- 1,000 mg THC per container
    • Cannabinoid products other than cannabinoid edibles, topicals, tinctures, capsules, suppositories, or transdermal patches: 1,000mg THC per container
  • Adults 21 and older can possess or carry as much as one ounce of usable marijuana (dried marijuana flowers or leaves that are ready to smoke) at a time and up to eight ounces in their homes.
  • Edible products can be made at home or be received as a gift. They can only be used on private property.
  • Using marijuana in public is illegal. Public places include sidewalks, roads, parks, cafes, restaurants, sporting or music venues, national parks, public land, roads, cruise ships, national monuments, military bases and hotel lobbies. It cannot be used while driving or while riding as a passenger in a vehicle.

Washington

Seattle Lakefront with Space Needle in background
Washington’s weed scene is 420-friendly. (Image: Visit Seattle)

Recreational pot use was legalized on December 6, 2012, in the Evergreen State, and sales of pot began on July 8, 2014. Seattle hosts HEMPFEST, the largest cannabis convocation in the world. The 25th annual HEMPFEST is August 18-20, 2017. Kush Tours offers guided tours like The Kush Tour – Glass, Garden, Extraction & More!, a three-hour tour that explores the legal cannabis industry with stops for glass blowing and a visit to a Tier II grow operation and retail stores.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Buyers must be 21 to purchase, possess and use marijuana. Marijuana must be purchased from licensed marijuana retail stores (a growing number of retail outlets have opened in Seattle and across Washington State). Buyers must show a valid for of government-issued photo ID to verify the age requirement.
  • Marijuana and marijuana products cannot be taken out of the state of Washington, including to neighboring Oregon where recreational marijuana use is also legal for adults 21 and older, or through federal jurisdictions like Seattle’s harbor or Puget Sound where the Coast Guard has jurisdiction.
  • It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana.
  • State residents and visitors 21 and older can purchase and possess as much as one ounce of marijuana, 16 ounces of infused product in solid form, 72 ounces of infused oil, or up to seven grams of extract or concentrate.
  • Marijuana can only be consumed in private residences only. Using marijuana in public is illegal.

Washington, D.C.

Reflecting Pool at the Mall, Washington, D.C.
You will have to retreat to your home to enjoy reefer in Washington, D.C. (Image: Pedro Szekely, Washington via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0)

The nation’s capital voted to legalize recreational marijuana use via Initiative 71 during the 2014 election (it became law on February 26, 2015); however, it doesn’t allow for the sale of marijuana, making it difficult for tourists to gain access to marijuana. Congressional interference has meant the District hasn’t been able to enact any regulatory framework for the sale or taxation of marijuana. Under the law, it is legal to grow marijuana at home and to share it, but it can’t be sold.

Other things to know:

  • Adults 21 and older can possess up to two ounces of marijuana. Up to one ounce can be shared with adults 21 and older as long as no money, goods or services are exchanged.
  • Marijuana (including edibles) must be consumed on private property only (folks who live in public housing cannot).
  • It is illegal to drive a car or boat under the influence of marijuana.
  • Marijuana can only be consumed in private residences only. Using marijuana in public is illegal. Since much of Washington, D.C. is federal property, taking a toke on federal property is illegal. You cannot smoke in a car, even if it is stopped. Same goes for restaurants, bars, cigar bars, hookah bars and private clubs.

Which of these pot-friendly destinations are you hoping to visit? Share with us in the comments section and search for flights on Cheapflights.com.

Featured image: Kosamtu

Cannabis tourism: Travel to US pot spots on the rise was last modified: March 22nd, 2017 by Lauren Mack
Author: Lauren Mack (262 posts)

Lauren Mack has traveled to 40 countries on five continents, including Cuba, New Zealand, Peru and Tanzania. For many years, she called China, and then Taiwan, home. Countries at the beginning of the alphabet, particularly Antarctica, Argentina and Australia are on her travel bucket list. Lauren is a multimedia travel and food journalist and explorer based in New York City.