Here's Where You Can Actually Smoke Weed When You're Traveling In The U.S.
New data from Hipmunk shows that more people are considering taking a domestic "pot vacation." But what are the
exact laws? by ,
Ever since Colorado first legalized weed in January 2014, Americans have just been ~lit up~ about the idea of
In fact, according to recent data from the budget travel site
Hipmunk, fewer travelers are searching for flights to Amsterdam and more people are searching for flights to pot-friendly cities in the U.S.
In November and December 2014, after Alaska, Oregon and Washington DC legalized recreational marijuana, Hipmunk searches for flights to Alaska, Oregon and Washington D.C. went up by 37%, 15% and 21% respectively, compared to the same two months in 2013.
No huge surprise there, if you think about it: Staying domestic saves travelers lots of money. Go where the
BUDget allows, right?
But here's the thing: Though travelers are clearly abuzz about budget-friendly bud tourism, the actual laws in each place are still pretty far behind where the ganja enthusiasts ~want~ them to be.
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For instance, there are no legal places for a tourist to buy pot in either Alaska or Washington D.C. The District of Columbia only legalized marijuana for personal use, not for commercial trade, and Alaska has yet to set up a system for recreational dispensaries. And if you're headed to Washington, Oregon, or Colorado, you've gotta keep it classy in pot-friendly hotels, because there are virtually no social spaces akin to bars for smokers — and you risk getting a citation for getting high in public.
So, we don't want to burst your bud bubble or anything, but you still have to be careful. Here are the
exact laws in Hipmunk's top eleven dope destinations in the U.S. — ranked from cheapest to priciest.
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Read on so you know what the lines are (and which ones you can safely cross).
1. Yakima, Washington
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Hipmunk's cheapest destination for blazing on a budget, Yakima actually banned pot shops at the beginning of 2014. Still, the weed info company
Leafly lists at least three places to pick up weed in Yakima, and another two in nearby Union Gap.
If you'd prefer to color within the lines – isn't the whole point of weed tourism the ability to get high legally? – you can pick some up in another city and legally bring up to an ounce into Yakima with you. To further complicate matters, you can't light up in public, and the pot-friendly accomodation site
Bud and Breakfast lists zero cannabis-friendly accommodations in the area. Sounds like the perfect opportunity to do some couch surfing!
2. Denver, Colorado
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Denver has a pretty advanced weed tourism scene at this point, with at least 15
smoker-friendly places to stay, and guides that will pick you up at your hotel and bring you around from dispensary to dispensary. Sadly, you can't light up in public here, either — but all in all, it's a pretty chill place to, you know, chill.
3. Spokane, Washington
According to sites like
Bud and Breakfast and Kush Tourism, both of which prohibit linking to their specific accommodations, pot-friendly places to stay are few and far between in Spokane. What's more, only three of the city's 20 or so dispensaries are legal.
As for smoking in public, local reporters
recently found that you are most likely to get a citation if you try to get high at the city's beautiful Riverfront Park.
4. Boulder, Colorado
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a few dozen dispensaries, a big university crowd, and a handful of pot-friendly accommodations — but even so, using the vaporizer ("vaping") in public is a no-no.
Particularly sad is that
you can't get toke up in any of the national forests or gorgeous public parks near the city. Discreetly popping some legally obtained edibles in your mouth on a hike, however, is a different story. Just stick to fewer than 15 milligrams if you aren't a regular smoker.
5. Portland, Oregon
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Recreational weed in Portland was just legalized in July 2015, and the industry there is booming, with $11 million in sales in the state in the first week alone. Most of that, of course, came from Portland, where
Leafly says there are over a hundred dispensaries. If you want to really enjoy the Oregon pot scene, go there ASAP: Everything is tax free until January.
But again, don't plan to get high anywhere in public. Arranging even a special permit for public smoking with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission was so difficult that
High Times cancelled its planned 2015 Oregon Cannabis Cup, with the magazine's event director Amanda Younger claiming it was "the most difficult of all of our Cannabis Cups to get off the ground." The weed-themed magazine held six outdoor pot celebrations this year: three in California and one each in Michigan, Colorado, and Jamaica.
6. Colorado Springs, Colorado
This sleepy suburb is home to the granddaddy of all public smoking clubs:
The Lazy Lion. Although social smoking clubs are illegal in Colorado, this place manages to stay open, apparently through some loophole jujitsu that continues to confound the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division. Owner Drew Poarch has a very impressive collection of fancy bongs and rigs, for vaporizing hash oil. If you want to catch the Broncos game or play some Tetris and get high with a bunch of strangers, this is the spot.
7. Eugene, Oregon
Although Eugene is full of dispensaries selling tax-free weed until January, the city's main attractions are largely outdoors, on public lands where it is illegal to get high. We could only find
one explicitly pot-friendly place to stay in the city, so tourists looking to get high should probably stick to edibles in the great outdoors, and contact friends and friends of friends in search of cannabis-friendly couches to stay on.
8. Bend, Oregon
Like Eugene, Bend is best known as a jumping-off point for exploring the outdoors. Located just outside of
Deschutes National Forest and close to the lava-formed caves, lakes, and obsidian fields of the Newberry Volcano, Bend would be a perfect place to go get high in nature… if only that were legal.
Still, the city
boasts even more dispensaries than Eugene, and local reports from the first week of legal recreational sales seemed to imply that the police might just ask you to "refrain" if they see you smoking in public rather than ticketing you on the spot.
9. Seattle, Washington
Locals here mostly shop at the unregulated medical shops that the state is hustling to shut down, but tourists will have to stick to the more expensive recreational shops. Still, if you're used to paying your dealer $60 for an eighth of mediocre bud, as we've seen some New Yorkers do, perhaps Seattle prices won't faze you.
Like Denver, Seattle has plenty of
pot-friendly accommodations and a budding industry of pot tours, taking you to cultivation sites, teaching you to blow glass, and visiting some high-end dispensaries.
10. Aspen, Colorado
Aspen is not a place that we would describe as budget-friendly. Still, the tiny, bougie ski town has five recreational pot shops and at least two places to stay where you can openly get high. And even though smoking in public is, of course, illegal here as well, regulars on the slopes have told us that it is not uncommon, when entering the gondola ski lifts, to smell the remnants of the previous riders' hot-boxing sesh. Locals are also starting to talk about allowing a marijuana bar.
11. Vail, Colorado
Vail is slightly less expensive and snooty than Aspen, but it is also way less cannabis-friendly: The city banned pot shops in 2014. Locals need to drive over to Eagle-Vail, about ten minutes away, to pick up pot.
So there you have it: all of the info you need to safely pull off a domestic dope vacation. And that's, well, pretty dope.
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