Cannabis etiquette for an infused beach day

Cannabis etiquette beach: Hand holds cannabis nug in front of ocean

The sounds of crashing waves softly nestled into warm sand with the sun’s rays on your shoulders; that’s what a beach day is all about. Under the right circumstances, a little cannabis could be the perfect cherry on top of that experience.

While we may not pop a gummy on a day trip to the beach with our kids, there is a right time for cannabis on a beach day. On those truly relaxing days on the sand, where there’s no responsibilities, a conscious dose of the plant could be simply delightful.

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Of course, lighting a big ole joint in a public space is neither legal nor appropriate. There’s etiquette to all public consumption, and that’s especially true in places like the beach. Let’s talk about beach etiquette for cannabis consumers.

Cannabis etiquette beach: senior couple enjoys joint on beach

Following the rules

The first major hurdle for those interested in getting a little lifted and laying back on a beach towel is that many beaches are on federal land. This means cannabis possession and consumption are highly illegal.

Now, the conversation of who owns the beach is a complicated one. At the root of everything, Indigenous tribes own the beach. At the root of the law, it varies. Federal entities generally manage, maintain, or own public beaches with bathrooms and lifeguards.

However, the ownership of beaches directly in front of private property has long been debated in many coastal states. In Maine, the public may still have access to privately-owned beaches. The same is true in California.

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It’s important to know who owns the property before bringing any cannabis products. If the property is federally owned, having an errant joint or edible is highly illegal. But if the land is owned by the state or privately, and public consumption laws allow it, it may be ok to consciously consume cannabis at the beach.

Being polite and discreet

If the laws and stars align and it’s ok to partake at the ocean shore, remember to be polite, which often translates into discretion. Choose to vape over smoking, but the best way to consume would be a low-dose edible like a canned drink or gummy. These options are ideal because they won’t smell like pot, an aroma that could offend neighboring beach dwellers.

Cannabis etiquette beach: friends smoke on beach jetty

However, have a designated driver or take public transportation if you eat an edible on the beach. An edible high can last up to a day, making it possible that the effects may not wear off before it’s time to go. The safest choice is almost always the best choice. So get transportation covered before everyone eats a gummy.

Clean up after yourself

One of the most important tenets to carry onto public lands is to leave no trace. In many states where cannabis is legal, there are joint tubes and mylar bags littering gutters and parks. Don’t be that guy, be conscious of any litter or ash.

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Make sure to pack out or throw away any packaging, even the top after it’s ripped off that bag of gummies. If smoking is the move, don’t ash or throw roaches in the sand. Instead, consider bringing a portable pocket ashtray. A disposable cup can work in a pinch too.

The best way to show non-consumers that cannabis consumption isn’t threatening is to be respectful. Those planning to soak up some rays and dip in the waves this summer should follow these tips. Honestly, understanding the law, being polite, and leaving no trace isn’t only core to cannabis beach etiquette, it covers most public consumption situations.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.