As more states and countries around the world legalize recreational marijuana, incorporating weed into your vacation has become increasingly popular. Just like sampling craft beer at a brewery or sipping wine at a local vineyard, enjoying cannabis has become a normal part of travel experiences. However, unlike bars and wineries, weed culture has its own set of manners and rules that you need to be aware of. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide you with essential tips and advice to help you navigate the world of being a weed tourist safely, smartly, and confidently.
Weed Tourist: Legalization and Destinations
Before embarking on your weed tourism adventure, it’s crucial to research and find out if recreational marijuana is legal in your destination. While the federal government still classifies marijuana as a controlled substance, many states and countries have legalized its recreational use. Currently, 22 states in the United States allow recreational marijuana, and more states are considering legalization. Countries like Canada and Thailand have fully legalized cannabis, while others have placed restrictions on its use. Uruguay only allows residents to purchase marijuana, and Portugal and Mexico have decriminalized the drug but do not permit commercial sales. Spain and the Netherlands have more permissive policies, although Amsterdam is tightening regulations on tourists smoking in its Red Light District.
It’s crucial to note that even when traveling abroad, you must abide by the marijuana laws of the host country. The penalties for violating these laws can be severe, and nobody is exempt. Regardless, of whether you legally purchased cannabis in another country. To stay informed about the specific regulations in each destination, consult the international travel section of the U.S. State Department’s website. For instance, the Netherlands, often associated with marijuana, considers possession of marijuana and hashish a crime, although it is not strictly enforced in defined tourist areas.
Weed Tourist: Carrying Cash and ID
When visiting a destination where recreational marijuana is legal, it’s important to have cash and proper identification. In the United States, you must be at least 21 years old to purchase and consume marijuana in states where it is legal. Dispensaries and lounges typically accept valid forms of identification such as a driver’s license, passport, or military card. Make sure to carry the physical version of your ID, as some establishments may not accept digital copies or photos of identification.
When purchasing marijuana, it’s essential to buy from licensed dispensaries and avoid black markets that may sell questionable products. Each state has its own verification system, such as QR codes displayed at pot shops in California and New York. Look for a “universal symbol” on the packaging, which indicates that the product has been tested and complies with regulations. Due to restrictions imposed by financial companies’ ties to large national or multinational banks, most cannabis businesses cannot accept credit cards. Therefore, it’s advisable to withdraw cash before visiting a dispensary as they may not have on-site ATMs.
Weed Tourist: Consulting the Budtender
Navigating the various strains and consumption methods of cannabis can be overwhelming, especially for beginners. That’s where the expertise of a budtender comes in. Budtenders are knowledgeable professionals who can provide guidance on different products and their effects. When visiting a dispensary, don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek recommendations based on your desired experience. Inform the budtender about the mood you want to achieve, whether you’re looking to feel relaxed or energized. A common rule of thumb in the weed culture is “start low and go slow.” Weed affects each person differently, so it’s wise to start with small doses and gradually increase as needed. This approach helps prevent overwhelming experiences and allows you to find your preferred dosage.
The strain of marijuana you choose will also influence your experience. Indica strains are known for their relaxing effects, while sativa strains provide a more energizing experience. Hybrid strains offer a blend of both effects. If you’re new to cannabis, it’s recommended to start with strains that have a higher CBD (cannabidiol) content than THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). CBD is non-intoxicating and may provide a more balanced experience. Additionally, budtenders can help you understand the legal limits for purchasing cannabis in a given day, as some states restrict the amount you can buy.
Respecting Antismoking Laws
While marijuana use may be legal in certain destinations, it’s important to respect antismoking laws and regulations. In general, any place that prohibits tobacco smoking will likely ban pot smoking and vaping as well. Many states have implemented antismoking laws, even if they haven’t legalized marijuana. For example, New York, California, and Connecticut prohibit smoking in outdoor recreational areas, including public beaches and parks. Federal lands, such as national parks and forests, are completely off-limits for marijuana consumption.
It’s crucial not to assume that cannabis can be consumed anywhere and that it will always be welcomed. Pay attention to your surroundings and consider what is appropriate and respectful for all parties involved. While some marijuana industry experts claim that certain places are more permissive, it’s best to smoke with discretion. When booking accommodations, look for hotels with rooftop pools or bars and guest rooms with private balconies, as these locations may be more tolerant of cannabis use. Some comedy clubs and nightclubs in West Hollywood, like the Emerald Village, allow pot smoking in their open-air areas. However, keep in mind that violating the rules of a property can result in consequences, such as fines or eviction.
Consuming with Care
Before smoking or consuming cannabis edibles, it’s advised to have a meal beforehand. THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in marijuana, is fat-soluble. Eating real food, especially something fatty, can enhance the effects of THC and help counteract any potential negative side effects. Some cannabis lounges even offer snacks or more substantial food options, allowing you to enjoy your high while satisfying your munchies.
When visiting consumption lounges, familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations before arriving. Some lounges may not allow outside weed, so it’s important to know if you must bring your own or if it’s available for purchase on-site. Additionally, mixing marijuana with tobacco or alcohol products is often prohibited in most states. Clean any shared equipment, such as bongs or mouthpieces, with alcohol wipes before and after use to ensure hygiene. It’s crucial to respect the privacy of others in these spaces and refrain from taking photos or videos without their consent. Recreational and medical cannabis use can be a personal matter, and it’s important to create a safe and respectful environment for everyone.
Privacy in Consumption Lounges
In consumption lounges and other spaces where marijuana is present, it’s essential to respect the privacy of others. Avoid taking photos or videos of fellow cannabis enthusiasts without their permission. Cannabis consumption, whether for recreational or medical purposes, can be a personal and private matter. Even outside of private residences, it’s important to be mindful of others and create a safe and comfortable space. Lounge owners and staff work hard to provide a welcoming environment, and by respecting their rules and the privacy of others, you contribute to a positive and enjoyable experience for all.
Traveling Out-of-State with Weed
While you can travel across state lines with hemp products, which are legal, it’s important to note that marijuana products must remain within their home state. The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers are not actively searching for weed in passengers’ bags. However, experts generally do not recommend flying with marijuana due to the potential legal implications.
If you find yourself with unused cannabis products at the end of your trip, consult with the local dispensary to see if they can dispose of them. Some airports have installed amnesty boxes where you can safely deposit any cannabis products before boarding your flight. Another option is to find composting facilities that accept organic waste. If you’re staying at a rental property listed on platforms like Bud and Breakfast, they may have a donation box where you can leave behind your smoking accessories. However, never deposit weed itself in these boxes for health and safety reasons. To dispose of leftover marijuana, mix it with kitty litter or coffee grounds, seal it in a container, and discard it in the trash. Always ensure that children and animals cannot access the container.
To avoid having excess weed at the end of your trip, plan your purchases thoughtfully. Buy smaller quantities and use up what you can before leaving. It can be disappointing to throw out unused cannabis, especially when it’s of high quality. By being mindful of your consumption and purchasing habits, you can minimize waste and fully enjoy your weed tourist experience.
Tips for an Enjoyable Weed Tourist Experience
To enhance your weed tourist experience, here are some additional tips to consider:
- Research local cannabis events and activities happening during your visit.
- Seek out 420-friendly accommodations that cater specifically to cannabis enthusiasts.
- Familiarize yourself with local cannabis culture and etiquette.
- Explore different consumption methods, such as vaping, edibles, or topical products.
- Stay hydrated and have water available, as cannabis can sometimes cause dry mouth.
- Be aware of the potency of the products you consume, especially if you’re a beginner.
- Respect the boundaries and comfort levels of others when consuming in public spaces.
- Engage in responsible and safe cannabis use, especially if you have pre-existing health conditions or are on medication.
- Connect with local cannabis communities or tour operators for guided experiences and insider knowledge.
- Educate yourself about the potential health benefits and risks associated with cannabis use.
Remember, the key to enjoying a weed tourist experience is to prioritize safety. As well as, respect local laws and regulations, and consume responsibly.
Weed tourism is a growing trend in many states and countries where recreational cannabis is legal. As you plan your next vacation, consider incorporating cannabis into your travel experience. By following the tips and guidelines outlined in this guide, you can navigate the world of being a weed tourist safely, smartly, and confidently. Remember to research the legality of marijuana in your destination. Carry proper identification, consult with budtenders for personalized recommendations, respect antismoking laws, consume with care, and have an exit strategy in place. With a mindful approach and responsible consumption, you can enjoy a memorable and enjoyable weed tourist experience. Happy travels!