Trippin’ with The Ganja Traveler: Cruising the Inner Passage of Alaska

alaskan glacier cruising the inner passage

Cruising the Inner Passage is a one-of-a-kind adventure. Inspiring nature views, whales and wildlife, icy blue glaciers, dog sled musher camps, world-class seafood, and unique cannabis-infused experiences are all part of it.

Often departing from Seattle, the Inner Passage journey is a network of scenic waterways, small towns, and quaint fishing villages surrounded by nature, each with a personality of its own. Ketchikan, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Juneau, and Victoria are standout ports. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time cruiser, prepare for an extraordinary cannabis-infused voyage.

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cruise ship in seattle cruising the inner passage
A cruise ship heading for the Alaskan Inner Passage docks in Seattle. Photo: Brian Applegarth

SEATTLE: Arrive in Seattle at least two days prior to your cruise departure. Make your way to Seattle’s Dockside Cannabis Shop. Enjoy and browse, take your time, and ask the budtenders to point out the local makers and growers in the greater Seattle area. Find the interactive Terpene Station, where visitors can awaken their senses, smell the flowers, and learn about different cannabis aromas, flavors, and tasting notes (just remember to leave your goods on land since cannabis is banned on most cruise ships). 

Carve out at least twenty minutes for the Dockside cannabis museum and consider scheduling a complimentary cannabis consultation prior to arrival. The consultation service is a great option for those canna-curious visitors who are interested in learning more about how cannabis can improve their quality of life and address their ailments.

cannabis museum at Dockside
The Cannabis Museum inside Dockside Cannabis in Seattle is worth a visit. Photo: Brian Applegarth

Coordinate your Dockside visit with a sporting event or concert across the street at Lumen Field Stadium.  While in Seattle, an elevated Pike Place Market foodie walking tour is an awesome experience. Pike Place Chowder and Truffle Queen are top-notch, as is a seated dinner at The Pink Door. Make reservations far in advance.  Find Metsker Maps shop and enjoy; it’s an experience that any ganja traveler will appreciate.

KETCHIKAN: Welcome to the Salmon Capital of the World. A colorful and charming seaside village with a prohibition-era past, Ketchikan today is known for three things: salmon, scenery, and Alaskan Indigenous culture. Ketchikan is arguably the crown jewel of the Inner Passage.

Start your day at historic Creek Street, a quirky antique boardwalk district with shops, attractions, and food spots perched above salmon-filled waterways. Creek Street was once a bustling red-light district. During prohibition, it was where the bootleggers would smuggle in Canadian whiskey to supply the saloons of the underground. They would wait until high tide and row their boats upstream to deliver their goods in the dark of the night. Most of the Creek Street businesses had hidden ‘trap doors’ underneath the house to receive the secret delivery.

Find The Stoney Moose, the local cannabis shop in the Creek Street district. A nod to the cannabis medical days, The Stoney Moose budtender still weighs your cannabis buds in front of you as part of the customer experience and will proudly tell stories about their local-grown cultivars while providing a cannabis flower-smelling experience. Other noteworthy cannabis goodies at the Stoney Moose are CBD-infused salmon and the Salted Caramel Moose Milk.

deli style bud
Cannabis is still served deli style at the Stoney Moose dispensary in Ketchikan. Photo: Brian Applegarth

After enjoying the Creek Street experience, wander toward the town center. Pop into the Tongass Historical Museum and learn about the cultural heritage of Ketchikan, including the world-renowned Indigenous Totems of the region. 

Head north along the waterside to find the Rainforest Cannabis Shop. A modern cannabis shop with eye-catching cannabis art sprawling across the ceiling, Rainforest Cannabis Shop features local Alaskan brands and makers at affordable prices.  Close by, find Bar Harbor Ale House. Grab a patio table and consider indulging in the tasty Octopus Ceviche.

SKAGWAY: A gold-rush-era town famous for the Yukon Railroad and The White Pass scenic train route, Skagway is a base camp for Alaskan excursions. Near the center of town on 3rd Street, you will find the local cannabis spot Remedy Shoppe. Remedy Shoppe was the very first legal and licensed cannabis shop in the state of Alaska. When it comes to the story of cannabis, Remedy Shoppe is regarded as a historic cultural landmark. Newspaper clippings and photos are on display for visitors to enjoy. 

remedy shoppe
The Remedy Shoppe in Skagway was Alaska’s first licensed dispensary. Photo: Brian Applegarth

Enjoy wandering around this charming town. For a local bite, a fun and tasty experience awaits at The Klondike Doughboy, featuring local Alaskan Fry Bread. For those seeking a mellow day trip, take an elevated train ride adventure on the White Pass & Yukon Route Railway. Weave through the stunning mountains while taking in stories about the gold-rush-era history. Keep your camera handy, the views are epic.

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GLACIER BAY:  Due to its designation as a National Park, cannabis is not yet part of the Glacier Bay experience. That being said, it’s a whole different kind of noteworthy high inspired purely by nature. It’s breathtaking. 

A narrow passage that weaves through the steep and misty ocean mountains, Glacier Bay is rich with wildlife and home to extraordinary blue glaciers that double as natural works of art. Enjoy being hypnotized by the icy shades of blue and swirling soil layers and silt designs. Bundle up and plan to be outside most of the day, taking in once-in-a-lifetime views with your camera close by.  Make it a point to find different vantage points on the ship and enjoy. It’s a travel experience that will stay with you.

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glacier alaska
Keep watch for breathtaking glaciers as you cruise the Inner Passage of Alaska. Photo: Brian Applegarth

JUNEAU: The capital of Alaska has a charming feel. Juneau is home to two great modern-day cannabis shops. The Fireweed Factory is a sleek, tiny shop with legacy roots. The founders began cultivating cannabis in the 1970’s when cannabis was first decriminalized in Alaska. 

The walls of Fireweed Factory feature six awesome large hi-res photos of fat cannabis nugs that show off the frosty buds and ripe trichomes of their locally grown house cultivars. Below each photo is a cannabis jar with nugs inside. Visitors are encouraged to indulge in an aromatic-smelling flight, each cannabis with their own unique distinct terpene profile. Blue Totem and Shaman Island CBD are two standouts.

Alaskan Kush Company is another cannabis shop nearby with a wide selection of cannabis goodies. Upon entry, look up and notice the mountain goat perched above and the other creatures on display. Ask about the Alaskan Kush Company house-grown cultivars, and check out the CBD bath bombs.

While in Juneau, consider a cannabis effect paring excursion. Whale watching, a trip to Mendenhall Glacier, or visiting a Mushers Dog Sled Camp are all worthy options and uniquely special.  Along the shoreline, find the Historic Merchant’s Wharf.  

dog sled
A ride on an authentic dog sled is a wonderful excursion in Alaska. Photo: Brian Applegarth

Beside the seaplane flight deck, grab a patio table at Alaska Fish & Chips Company. Watch the seaplanes in action while feasting on delicious fish and chips. Yes, it’s that good, including the slaw.  As you dine, know that you are sitting in the very location where the seaplanes that would later become Alaska Airlines first delivered alcohol when prohibition ended in 1933.

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VICTORIA: Victoria is Canada’s contribution to the Inner Passage cruise experience. The capital port city of British Columbia, Victoria, is a gem of a destination with a British look and feel. 

Prior to arrival, consider booking high tea at the iconic Empress Hotel. As you step off the ship, take a moment to acknowledge that you are indeed in the land of BC Bud, a famous cannabis region globally known for top-shelf quality. Cannabis farmers in the Kootenay Rockies region and other rural pockets of the Province have been perfecting their craft for decades.

Find Seed & Stone Cannabis Boutique near the downtown center, a standout cannabis shop experience with a clean and sharp design aesthetic. Complete with a Bud Bar, the Seed & Stone experience includes Indigenous cannabis options and a dedicated BC Bud section. Visitors are invited to browse, ask questions, and are encouraged to relax in the curated sitting area with a cannabis book and pamphlets of the latest cannabis-related happenings and experiences in the area.

bud bar
Seed & Stone Cannabis Boutique in Victoria has a dedicated Indigenous cannabis menu. Photo: Brian Applegarth

Ganja Traveler Tips

When cruising the Inner Passage of Alaska, choose to book a room with a balcony. The scenery from the ship and the fresh ocean air are absolutely worth the extra cost. Plan for at least three days and two nights in Seattle and consider a ferry ride half-day trip to charming Bainbridge Island, just a half hour from Seattle.

As you enjoy your cannabis-infused cruise adventure, know that cruise ships themselves and the cruise industry in general are still in the dark ages when it comes to CBD, hemp, or cannabis of any kind. Enjoy to your heart’s content while in port and on land, but be mindful of the cruise ship policies and the risks and laws regarding cannabis, hemp, and CBD as you travel from port to port and country to country.

This article was submitted by a guest contributor to GreenState. The author is solely responsible for the content.

brian applegarth

is a cannabis travel writer and innovator with a passion for transformative experiences and cultural heritage. He has written for San Francisco Travel, Visit Oakland, Local Getaways, Skunk Magazine, Visit Greater Palm Springs, Visit Mendocino County, and others. He has been quoted in Forbes, The Washington Post, Smart Meetings, Travel Weekly and elsewhere, and his award-winning cannabis travel work has been featured on NPR, CBS, NBC, and The New York Times. Brian is the founder of the Cannabis Travel Association and the co-founder of the CA State Fair Cannabis Awards & Exhibit. He is a consultant to the travel and cannabis industries and a certified cannabis sommelier Ganjier. IG - @theganjatraveler