How to make the most of your canna-tourism adventures
As cannabis consumption continues to be more widely accepted, the number of people integrating the plant into their vacation plans is getting higher and higher (no pun intended). According to a recent analysis, the so-called “canna-tourism” industry is currently valued at $17 billion and shows no signs of slowing down. Approximately 30 percent of American leisure travelers say that cannabis consumption is one of their deciding factors when choosing a vacation locale. In addition, 65 percent of US citizens said they would travel to a legal city or country to scope out its licensed market.
While you used to need a passport to enjoy legal cannabis, there are plenty of places in the US to enjoy herb as well. There are still plenty of weed-friendly destinations worldwide, including Amsterdam, Barcelona, Thailand, Jamaica, Uruguay, and Canada. From 420-friendly hotels and AirBnBs to entire tours dedicated to the plant, there are more canna-tourism options than ever.
If you’re one of the millions planning to participate in a canna-tourism trip this year, you’ll want to understand the proper etiquette. Just like checking the weather report and packing an extra pair of socks, properly preparing for your pot-centric excursion will ensure you have a stress-free time.
Know the laws before you go
If you’re going to do any homework before your canna-escapade, this is the most crucial. The laws around cannabis differ from state to state, country to country, and even city to city. This includes everything from where you can consume the plant to how much you can carry at once.
For example, this author was recently surprised to learn that cannabis is still criminalized in Spain despite the proliferation of hundreds of plant-friendly social clubs throughout the country. Upon procuring product while visiting, I was warned to hide it in my undergarments after leaving the safety of the club–local police still arrest people for simple possession.
Regulations around consumption also vary. For example, most places in Canada treat cannabis like tobacco—if you can smoke a cigarette, you can also smoke a joint. However, most legal states in the US relegate consumption to private residences or clubs.
Understand that product availability changes from market to market
One thing many consumers (and producers) lament is the lack of cross-border cannabis commerce. Perhaps you discovered an amazing brand of gummies while vacationing in California, only to be let down when you tried to find them again in Colorado.
While several multi-state brands exist in the domestic cannabis industry, even those products can vary from state to state. Companies may do their best to replicate their SOPs when entering new markets, but with so many variables to consider, consistency has become a big issue.
This is also the case with individual cannabis cultivars. The Blue Dream you had in Vancouver may look, taste, and smoke a lot different in Las Vegas. By preparing yourself for these differences from market to market, you can avoid any potential disappointment in your travels.
Don’t attempt to bring your stash back home
It may be tempting to pack your legally-obtained goodies alongside your souvenirs and tchotchkes, but the bottom line is traveling with cannabis, both domestically and abroad, is unlawful.
In honor of the high cannabis holiday of 4/20, the fine folks at the Transportation Safety Administration (TSA) recently put out a gentle reminder to consumers: TSA agents are not specifically looking for marijuana products during their screening process, but if it’s found, it may be reported to local law enforcement who will then determine next steps. Even if you’re given the all-clear, you may find yourself in trouble on arrival.
To be clear, it is against federal law to transport cannabis on an airplane. And while it’s not a priority for the TSA, it can still land you in hot water, depending on the situation. In addition, international travel is an entirely different ballgame—bringing cannabis into a foreign country or back into the US can lead to serious consequences and is strongly discouraged.
When engaging in canna-tourism, remember to be a good steward of the plant
Be responsible on your cannabis adventure. Just because you are in a legal place doesn’t give you the right to disrespect cultural norms or disrupt other guests.
Be respectful, and consume in a dignified manner. Remember that there are still those who oppose cannabis or may be on the fence, and by being courteous, you are showing that cannabis consumers are good people too. Who knows, you may help win some hearts and minds while on your next canna-tourism trip and help erode the stigmas around the plant that still exist.
Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of GreenState.com. She has been covering the cannabis space since 2015, and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, and many other niche publications. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter