Food+Travel

Nevada Marijuana Guide: How to have an awesome cannabis weekend in Reno & Lake Tahoe

November 17, 2017

RENO -- The Biggest Little City in the World is dwarfed only by Las Vegas in Nevada’s green rush of recreational cannabis.

But thanks to Reno’s small scale, getting a taste of Nevada’s newly legal herb is a lot easier here than it is in sprawling Vegas. Reno is also a good place to start, because growers, processors and edibles makers from the Reno region supply the Vegas scene.

Whether you’re traveling to Reno to celebrate, gamble, ski, see shows and other attractions, or solely for some legal ganja — making cannabis part of your next visit here is easy peasy.

Of course, you’re going to want to behold breath-taking lake and mountain scenery, drink craft beer brewed from Lake Tahoe’s famous blue water and eat a cut above buffets.

But you’re also going to want visit Mynt, a short walk away from Reno’s “Biggest Little City” sign in downtown Reno. On the lake, the North Shore’s buzziest attraction is the tony NuLeaf dispensary. And you can hit the pot-tourist jackpot a mile south of the Nevada border in South Lake Tahoe, where Tahoe Wellness Cooperative operates a rare tourist necessity: a cannabis consumption lounge.

Lodgings options are eccentric, too. There’s an all-comers bud, bed and breakfast run by an innkeeper who provides locally grown cannabis. You can even reserve a 420-friendly gypsy camping wagon, custom-made by a Burning Man artisan and easily towed or delivered to campgrounds or private properties in the Reno-Tahoe area. Let’s ante up!


THE BASICS

  • Getting There — Reno is four hours from the Bay Area by car. South Lake Tahoe is 3.5 hours away. Reno is served by Amtrak, Greyhound and MegaBus. South Lake Tahoe is served by Amtrak. Major airlines fly to Reno International Airport. Ballers with private planes can land in Lake Tahoe Airport in South Lake Tahoe and Carson Airport in Carson City.
  • The Law — In Nevada, cannabis is legal for adults 21 and older to consume in private. It’s illegal to use in public, and that includes hotels, casinos, bordellos and in cars. It’s technically illegal to smoke on Lake Tahoe, which is patrolled by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  • Purchasing Limits — Adults can buy one ounce of flower, 3.5 grams of extract or 3,500 mg of edibles per day. That’s enough for one heck of a weekend party.
  • Consuming Edibles — Start low and go slow, especially with edibles — even if you’re experienced. The standard edible portion size in Nevada is 10 milligrams. Some low-dose edibles are 5 mg. Just 25 mg is strong enough make an experienced user wobble and swoon. Eat edibles after other food to aid digestion. It can take up to two hours before you feel edibles’ effects. Set a timer. Do not get impatient and eat more.

RENO LODGINGS + CLUBS

You don’t want to spend your weekend visiting all eight dispensaries in and around Reno. Most carry similar products at similar prices. Shop close to your lodgings -- unless you’re a hard-core fan of San Francisco rapper and pot mogul Berner and just have to try his high-end strains across town.

Staying at Harrah’s, Circus Circus, Eldorado, Whitney Peak or the Burning Man-themed Morris Burner Hostel in downtown Reno? Check out Mynt, downtown Reno’s only dispensary, located across the street from Harrah’s, and an easy walk to the Truckee River and the RiverWalk pedestrian trail. Mynt’s sister company, Kynd, produces the region’s leading edibles and topicals. Mynt is also where you can get The Vegas Weekend Box designed to last up to four newbie cannabis consumers throughout a weekend for $199.

courtesy of Mynt
Mynt in downtown Reno.

Luxuriating at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa or Peppermill Resort Spa Casino south of downtown Reno? Sate your need for weed at Blum or The Dispensary.

Staying at Grand Sierra Resort a mile and a half east of downtown? Sierra Wellness Connection is nearby.

Staying in nearby Sparks, Nevada? Reef and Silver State Relief are close to each other in a light industrial area.

Staying north of Reno in Sun Valley? Reef and Kanna Reno are located two miles apart. One reason to visit either Reef location is Exotikz by Berner, connisseur-grade bud personally selected by the San Francisco rapper and pot mogul and grown by Reef in Las Vegas; priced for high rollers and starting at $60 an eighth-ounce.

RENO MUNCHIES
Consider local options beyond the air-conditioned confines of casinos. After hitting Blum or The Dispensary, stop by Brasserie Saint James, winner of the Great American Beer Festival’s 2014 Mid-Size Brewpub and Mid-Size Brewpub Brewer of the Year and the inspiration for the offshoot San Francisco brewpub. The menu features Belgian- and German-style beer and beer-friendly food like steak tartare, braised short ribs and oxtails and fried chicken and waffles. Waddle three blocks and you’ll reach SixFour Growlers, a barebones taproom where you can get take-out growlers filled with 30 local and regional beers. For higher style and abstract art, Loulu’s serves a sophisticated New American menu.

In downtown Reno, a meal at the Nevada Museum of Art is a must. Tucked inside the museum, Chez Louie serves French-inspired fare -- pates, terrines, bouillabaisse, crepes, tartines -- for lunch and dinner and fortifies Sunday brunch with a Bloody Mary bar and live jazz. After brunch, enjoy a free guided tour of the museum, a small gem that boasts rare accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.

For hipster casual with a side of cornhole, hit The Eddy, an open-air cluster of shipping containers on the north side of the Truckee River on Sierra Street featuring three bars, multiple patios, food trailers and games, including ball-rolling bocce and beanbag-tossing cornhole.

RENO ATTRACTIONS
For amusement, you could load up on edibles and lose yourself in immersive video-game-style slot machines. For non-casino shiny-object fun, check out the classic car collection at the National Automobile Museum. Or test your pot-addled deductive skills and claustrophobic tolerance by locking yourself behind a door and playing an escape game at Puzzle Room. Or not.


INCLINE VILLAGE ITINERARY

About an hour’s drive from both Reno and South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village is a picturesque hamlet on the north shore of Lake Tahoe -- located smack in the heart of the fictional Ponderosa Ranch of “Bonanza” fame.

Today, Incline Village is home to some of America’s wealthiest people as well as one of the better brands in Nevada’s cannabis industry -- NuLeaf, a dispensary with operational ties to Berkeley Patients Group.

Located on the town’s main lakeside drag, NuLeaf has the limited selection, higher prices and crowds that comes with being the only game in town. But it’s pleasant nonetheless.

Courtesy of NuLeaf​
Courtesy of NuLeaf

INCLINE EATS & ATTRACTIONS
Indulge in edibles, then pamper yourself with spa and massage treatments at Stillwater Spa & Salon at the Hyatt.

For lunch, grab a sandwich or the fixings for a meat-and-cheese picnic at Village Meats, a full-service butcher shop and smokehouse that also serves breakfast tacos and breakfast burritos and housemade quiche. For dinner, assemble a small-plates feast a Bite, a thoughtful, casually elegant American tapas cafe. For craft beer brewed from Lake Tahoe’s famously pristine water, don’t miss the snappy Saison or toasty porter at Alibi Ale Works.

VILLAGE LODGINGS
You can scour Airbnb.com for cannabis-friendly private lodgings. If you’re traveling solo, you might want to consider this BudAndBreakfast.com room rental that comes with a use of a vaporizer. If you want to forego smoking, check into dependably comfortable Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort overlooking Crystal Bay (where luxe rooms feature Keruig coffee makers, the easiest way to prepare the cannabis-infused Jane’s Brew coffee you’ll buy at NuLeaf). But for an exotic Lake Tahoe experience as colorful as anything Hoss and Little Joe encountered with gypsies on “Bonanza,” reserve a cannabis-friendly gypsy camping trailer wagon.

Tow the wagon behind your vehicle from Reno or have it delivered to Zephyr Cove Resort’s RV Park and Campground on the South Shore. Check with the resort’s operators; they’ll tell you it’s OK for adults to smoke cannabis inside recreational vehicles and trailers parked on Zephyr Cove’s private property.

Measuring 5 feet by 14 feet and outfitted with two double beds, propane stove, coffee press, solar-powered lights and 12-volt plugs and USB adapters for charging cellphones, Gypsy Getaway Wagon’s Sun Salutation wagon accommodates four people. Rates are $100 to $149 per night, plus $100 minimum delivery fee.

Courtesy of Gypsy Wagon Tours
Inside the hotbox-ready gypsy wagon.

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ITINERARY

Michelle Locke via AP
South Lake Tahoe

Jonesing for a joint after a three-and-a-half-hour drive from the Bay Area to South Lake Tahoe?

Californians with a medical card can make Tahoe Wellness Cooperative their first stop in South Lake Tahoe, the lakefront city on the California-Nevada border.

Fragrant of cannabis, reggae music and psychedelic art, Tahoe Wellness exudes South Lake Tahoe’s laid-back, casual vibe. Along with the only public smoking lounge in the Reno-Tahoe region, Tahoe Wellness grows its own house strains -- a sativa (SourBand), an indica (The Purps) and a hybrid (Girl Scout Cookies). Bongs and rolling papers are provided in the cozy lounge, which is open all day and transforms into a hash bar at 4:20 p.m.

courtesy of Tahoe Wellness
Tahoe Wellness’ lounge.

SOUTH LAKE LODGINGS
Not from California? Don’t have a medical cannabis card? Don’t worry. The innkeeper of The Om House, Tahoe’s only bud, bed and breakfast, has you covered. Under California’s recreational cannabis law, it’s legal to gift cannabis among adults 21 and over. That sweet treat in your charming South Lake Tahoe mountain retreat won’t be chocolate on your pillow -- it’s going to be mountain-grown cannabis the innkeeper gifts to his guests; pipe included.

You don’t have to be a California resident to receive or use a cannabis gift at The Om House. Just be at least 21 years old.

Craft beer drinkers, rejoice, too: The Om House also gifts crowlers of beer from South Lake Brewing Company.

Located in a tranquil, tree-filled residential neighborhood on Gardner Mountain, about a mile from where Highway 50 meets Lake Tahoe Boulevard, The Om House is a 15-minute drive to Tahoe Wellness and a five-mile hike to picturesque Fallen Leaf Lake via a nearby trail. Priced $149 per night for two people, it’s dog-friendly, too.

Sound too good to be true? There is a catch. The Om House is strictly vegan -- no meat or dairy allowed on the property, even on the deck’s grill. Good thing The Om House is well-stocked with healthful snacks.

courtesy of The Om House.
The Om House is a vegan bud & breakfast.

For lunch, the nearby Red Hut Cafe serves breakfast all day so you can enjoy the meal you skipped traveling here and get your fill of bacon and milkshakes without upsetting The Om House’s vegan vibe.

For dinner, take advantage of The Om House’s well-appointed kitchen and prepare a meal from local sources gladly recommend by the innkeeper. Or slurp dinner at The Oyster Bar at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino across the border in Stateline.

SOUTH LAKE ATTRACTIONS
You can catch a show at MontBleu, a nearby Stateline casino-resort that hosts Robin Thicke Nov. 25; Johnny Lang Dec. 2; the 1th Annual Tahoe Adventure Film Festival Dec. 9; and comedian Daniel Tosh Dec. 15.


RENO WEED TRAVEL PRO TIPS

  • Traveling with Pot — It’s illegal to take Nevada cannabis out of Nevada. Don’t take cannabis on airplanes. Don’t carry cannabis on Greyhound, MegaBus or Amtrak. Don’t drive across state lines with Nevada cannabis in your car. Don’t get on a local bus from Incline Village to Truckee or anywhere on Lake Tahoe’s California side.
  • California Side of Lake Tahoe — Tahoe Wellness Cooperative is the only medical cannabis dispensary on the California side of Lake Tahoe. Dispensaries are banned on the western shore of Lake Tahoe and inland into Squaw Valley and Truckee. Delivery firms service the region.
  • Deliveries — Deliveries are allowed by Nevada law but under a statewide emergency order that allowed recreational cannabis sales to begin July 1, deliveries to hotels are banned. Deliveries can be made to any other public or private -- a coffee house or your aunt’s house.
  • Personal Limits — First-timer? Resist kid-in-candy-store urges to purchase and consume mass quantities. A little pot can go a long way. One eighth of an ounce of cannabis flowers can last a seasoned cannabis user three days or more.
  • Smokin’ Verboten — Avoid causing any sort of stink at hotels and commit to going smoke-free in Reno, opting instead for discrete edibles, tinctures and vape pens. You won’t incur a room-cleaning fee for eating cannabis-infused candy or brewing a K-cup or pouch of Jane’s Brew cannabis-infused coffee or tea. Harrah's, Peppermill, Whitney Peak, Hilton Garden and The Nugget feature Keurig K-cup coffeemakers in rooms.
  • Stay Hydrated — Think cottonmouth is bad? High desert air and mountain altitudes plus smoked or eaten cannabis can mean dehydration headaches, dizziness and muscle cramps. Drink eight, 8-oz glasses per day minimum.
  • Wear Sunscreen — Save your skin with cannabis-infused sunscreen. Evergreen Organix is THC infused and SPF 30. It not only provides anti-aging sunblock protection but it’s anti-inflammatory and reduces localized pain should you get burned. Available at NuLeaf, Reef, Rise, Silver State Relief, Sierra Wellness and these dispensaries.
  • Reciprocity — Reciprocity is a unique Nevada program that honors medical cannabis cards from other states, allowing non-Nevada residents to purchase medical cannabis products. Not only can medical card holders avoid paying Nevada’s 10 percent excise tax but they can purchase cannabis products recreational customers can’t -- like high-potency edibles up to triple the limit of the recreational market’s 100-mg-per-product-unit limit.

RESOURCES

RENO DISPENSARIES
(Recreational and Medical)

SPARKS
(Recreational and Medical)

SUN VALLEY
(Recreational and Medical)

CARSON CITY
(Medical only)

INCLINE VILLAGE
(Recreational and Medical)

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
(California Medical only)

CANNABIS-FRIENDLY LODGING