From oil medicines that give new life to kids with seizures, to safe proven recreational alternatives to alcohol and opioids, cannabis acceptance is on the rise! Before 2016, only 5% of Americans lived in a state with legal cannabis for adult use. Today, nearly 20% of Americans can legally use recreational cannabis in 9 states, including the District of Columbia.
Although not the primary pull factor, tourism and travel increased in states following cannabis legalization. For example, the LA times reported in 2017 that California stood to see a 5 billion dollar influx due to recreational legalization. Outside America, other popular travel destinations are poised to start legal markets, including Canada, where legal cannabis sales will begin in August 2018.
But what should you know before trying your hand at legal weed?
States with legal cannabis for adult use – dark green, medical cannabis – lime green, and CBD only – light green
Research cannabis laws for your destination, first and foremost!
You should familiarize yourself with your destinations laws, as each legal state allows and regulates cannabis differently. For example, you may possess and transport up to one ounce (28 grams) of recreational cannabis in California, whereas in Maine, you may transport twice that amount! These rules often vary in terms of flower (bud) and concentrates. You can find a comprehensive list of state cannabis laws here.
Along with possession limits, legal states enforce drugged driving DUIs for cannabis, so make sure you avoid getting behind the wheel after indulging. Plan ahead and arrange transportation during your cannabis travels. Also, don’t expect cannabis smoke to be tolerated in public.
While legal, many states, like Colorado and Washington, have warned potential tourists that legal cannabis doesn’t mean a public weed free for all. In terms of cannabis clubs, or areas where you can smoke, the first one only opened in Colorado, America’s first legal state, at the beginning of March. If you’re seeking a safe place to indulge during your travels, you may want to research 420 friendly Airbnb listings or Bud and Breakfasts, as many hotels and motels still prohibit smoking of any kind, even in legal states.
While you want to jump right in, it’s important to use moderation when trying recreational cannabis for the first time
Rome wasn’t built in a day, so be careful, and pace yourself, especially if you don’t use cannabis regularly. Legal cannabis markets possess high quality, high potency products which may not be what you’re used to. While cannabis cannot cause a fatal overdose, no one recommends overindulging. For example, you may become dizzy, pale, short of breath, and may even experience anxiety and paranoia if you bite off more legal cannabis than you can chew.
To avoid “greening out,” start small and slow, and always ask your budtender about the THC content in your cannabis. THC, perhaps the most famous cannabis chemical, produces the high that accompanies the plant. Strains with higher amounts of THC will be more potent, so beginners may seek out cannabis with lower THC content.
Legal cannabis isn’t simply a recreational substance, like alcohol, but a teaming community of advocates who have fought incredibly to legalize this plant
Lastly, before you venture into any legal cannabis state, nation, or province, take the time to treat the industry with respect.
Cannabis dispensaries aren’t frat houses. The cannabis community trains their workers intensively, so don’t treat them like your party servants, or talk to them like their on the Dazed and Confused set. The fight for cannabis legitimacy and respect for all users continues, so don’t ruin everyone’s fun by disobeying public use rules, transporting legal cannabis outside the state, or simply playing into typical cannabis stereotypes during your travels.
Cannabis legalizations’ first goal was allowance and acceptance, but following legalization these goals must shift toward deconstructing the negative social narrative that still surrounds cannabis. Shedding harmful cannabis stereotypes is important, as well as advocating for the expungement of all past cannabis criminal records, and acknowledging the role cannabis prohibition played in America’s war on drugs and mass incarceration.
Once we deconstruct cannabis’ past, we can build a legacy of legitimacy and respect for the plant.
I hope these tips help make your cannabis travel ventures enjoyable! If you have a tip for fellow cannabis travellers, please comment below!
About the Author
Chris Matich is a professional writer, journalist, and editor living in Pittsburgh, PA. Chris blogs for Schenley.net. His writing interests include LGBT+ people/issues, sports writing, and blogging. Chris currently writes about web optimization, blogging practices, medical cannabis, and cannabis lifestyle. He writes fiction and creative nonfiction in his spare time. Linkedin, Twitter