With 42 states still waiting to legalize cannabis, a lot of people have been traveling to legal states for cannabis-related vacations. Some of the people have a great time, but some are left wondering what they could have done differently to make the experience more enjoyable.
Here are a few tips to ensure that your next (or first) trip to a legal state is as memorable as possible.
Know the laws of where you are going
Every state has different cannabis laws. Possession limits vary from state to state. No matter what state you are in, you can possess an ounce of flower. But concentrates and edibles are all over the board when it comes to legal states. NORML has a great database of state cannabis laws. Make sure to know all of the laws when you are traveling, as it could be the difference between you being in compliance, or going to jail. Be aware that all legal states prohibit cannabis use in public, so while it may seem like you are in a cannabis wonderland (and rightfully so), that doesn’t mean that legalization is unlimited.
Arrange safe travel where you are
If you are traveling to a legal state for the first time, you will not know the area very well. Combine that with cannabis consumption, and it’s safe to say that you should not be driving a motor vehicle. A cannabis DUI is a very, very serious offense, and is something that law enforcement in legal states have no tolerance for. If you are caught behind the wheel and there’s even a suspicion that you are a tourist who has been consuming cannabis, you will be arrested and your life turned upside down. Look into ride sharing services, public transit, and/or plan your trip in a way that you can walk a lot. It will be safer for everyone that way.
Do thorough research
Not all dispensaries are created equal. The same goes for dispensary listing/review sites. Doing a quick Google search is not enough to ensure that the dispensary, or dispensaries, you visit will be the best out there. Dig deep into review site comments, and ask questions on social media about dispensaries you are looking at. Chances are a local enthusiast will be able to provide some insight as to which is truly the best out there.
Find good lodging ‘close to the action’
Some dispensaries are for medical patients, others for all adults over the age limit. Know the difference. In most areas that offer legal sales, some parts of town have more outlets than others. Unofficial ‘cannabis districts’ are becoming the norm due to zoning regulations in legal states. Bud and breakfasts are becoming more common and make it very easy to get the most out of your experience. Many lodging establishments prohibit cannabis consumption on site, so keep that in mind when you are choosing a place to stay. The closer you are to where you will be purchasing cannabis and hanging out the better. You will thank yourself once you arrive.
Beware unregulated sales
Unregulated cannabis can be risky on several fronts. You may be approached by someone that is selling unregulated cannabis. They will tout how much cheaper it is than at dispensaries, and that the quality is just as good, if not better.
Yes, prices can be cheaper for unregulated cannabis, but it involves no testing, and is very much illegal. Also, the quality is likely not nearly as good as what is being sold at dispensaries.
Relax and explore
Keep educating others and one day this could be your state! Coming to a legal state and visiting a dispensary for the first time can be an overwhelming experience. Relax, take deep breathes, and take the time to take it all in. If you feel rushed, take a step back and be patient with your purchases. Dispensary operators see tourists all the time, so there’s no need to feel self conscious or embarrassed about the time you take to make your decision.
Go low and slow
You may think that you are the most hardcore cannabis consumer of all time back home, but that doesn’t mean that you need to try to go from 0 to 420 when you arrive in a legal state. Coming from an unregulated market often gives people the false sense that the can handle any cannabis product that is out there. It’s only after it’s too late that the person realizes that they should have held off a bit. Cannabis will not kill a person, but consuming too much of it can result in an undesirable experience. Don’t be that person!
Resist the urge to bring cannabis home
Chances are if you are visiting a legal state, you will be seeing and purchasing cannabis that is not available back home. That will create the urge to try to bring some back with you. Please realize that in addition to cannabis still being illegal at the federal level, traveling out of state is also illegal at the state level. Every state that has voted to legalize cannabis has a provision that carries its own penalties for transporting cannabis out of a legal state. Don’t do it.