It’s tempting to think of 420-friendly cities as hazy paradises where hemp oil flows like water, clouds of weed smoke hang in the sky like cotton candy, and you can share a bud with your buddy as easily as you might grab a latte back at home. Sadly, that’s not the case (no, not even in Amsterdam). The restrictions on the consumption of cannabis differ from one 420-friendly city to another: in some areas you can’t consume marijuana anywhere in public; in others you can’t even legally purchase it.
Too many tourists have found themselves shelling out for an expensive trip that has consisted of little more than a visit to a dispensary and then a surreptitious smoke in their hotel bathroom. So if you’re thinking of taking a trip to experience life under legalization, be sure to plan carefully, so your excitement lasts just as long as your high.
Where to go
The world is your oyster! (Or your…grinder?) More and more countries are going fully 420-friendly: recreational cannabis is legal in both Spain and Uruguay, decriminalized in Portugal (and, famously, Jamaica and the Netherlands). But even if you’re sticking with North America for now, your list of options grows every year.
Canada’s legalization bill is still going through Parliament, and both California and Nevada are still working through the details following the recent legalization in those states: we’re excited about the future potential of San Fran weed ‘n’ wine tours and Las Vegas vapor lounges. You’ll find a more well-established community of 420 friends in Colorado, Washington or Oregon.
Washington, however, has stricter regulations than some other 420-friendly states – canna-businesses find it harder to advertise, and there’s a ban on consumption in tour vehicles, for instance – so your options in Seattle will be limited compared to what you can get up to in Colorado or Portland.
What to do
If you want to buy a lot of weed and see how it grows, you’re in luck: there are several different tour operators running ‘dispensary and grow’ tours in both Denver and Portland, often with a smoke-friendly limo or party bus to transport you between the different locations and take you for some much-needed grub afterwards.
But if you’d prefer to try a more active or unusual way to make some new 420 friends, there are plenty of activities to choose from. Into fitness? Why not try Yoganja?
Or maybe you’re happier in the kitchen. Many tours stop off for a cannabis cooking class – or why not learn how to roll joints and sushi at the same time?
Where to stay
Even in the most relaxed of 420-friendly cities, you’re likely to find that large hotel chains will not allow consumption on the premises – at least the combustible kind. You can generally get around this by sticking to edibles, but if you’d prefer to stay in accommodation where smoking weed is permitted – and encouraged – then you’ll want to stick with specifically 420-friendly hospitality.
A lot of the time this means Airbnb or similar ‘sharing economy’ properties – check out Bud And Breakfast to find a 420-friendly rental. But more and more marijuana-loving entrepreneurs in legalized cities are opening their own hotels and B&Bs, where guests can feel free to enjoy their newly purchased stash in a relaxed environment. Many offer wake and bake or 4.20 sessions, and some even provide you with paraphernalia.
If you’re new to 420-friendly cities – or even to weed altogether – planning a cannabis-themed trip can seem overwhelming with so much to choose from and a handful of pitfalls to avoid. But as long as you do a little research before you go; abide by local regulations while you’re there; and don’t overdo it, you’ll have an enjoyable (if not necessarily memorable!) trip. Start planning now: it’s high time you did!