Tours, Resorts and Clubs for Fans of Legal Weed
We all know that recreational marijuana, used discretely or not, has long been a part of the travel and entertainment scene. Cannabis culture is sociable if nothing else.
But it can actually be a little more confusing now that some things are legal, at least today, under some state laws but not others. Staying on the sunny side takes some savvy.
So, before you pack your holiday bags, a little destination research is in order. There are an increasing number of 420-friendly accommodations and tours. There is less of a cosmopolitan club and resort scene than you might expect. Much of that waits on legal reform, but plausible workarounds exist.
First a Word about Packing Your Bags
The level of TSA scrutiny travelers face varies from airport to airport and time to time. But federal law prohibits transporting cannabis by air. That includes taking it on the plane, checking it in baggage or sending it ahead. Traveling with it in a car is the safest option but still carries risks.
This is a particularly acute issue for legal marijuana patients. The best a patient may be able to do is to travel with a medical recommendation. A very few states, Nevada among them, will recognize a doctor’s note from another jurisdiction, but always check ahead for the details.
That’s Why There’s a Tour Bus
So if you’re traveling to a state that permits recreational purchase and consumption, buy when you get there. The best move may to book a tour bus to get you to a dispensary and from there to cannabis-friendly accommodations. Check out the Travel Tab for further information about Washington and Colorado cannabis tours. Some of these tours also allow you to immerse yourself in some of the other aspects of the legal cannabis industry, including sports and growing, so go for the experience that fits your interests.
In Seattle, Kush Tour makes its first stop at a cannabis speakeasy; then makes its way to a glass-blowing workshop, where participants also learn about marijuana’s medicinal properties; then tour-goers are treated to VIP access (no waiting in line) at Cannabis City, Seattle’s first legal recreational marijuana shop. Another Seattle alternative, the Canna-Bus, takes riders to marijuana retailers, where they are given VIP access, and then around Seattle for sight-seeing.
Colorado has an embarrassment of riches, many of which can be customized to taste. One of our (too many to name) favorites is Colorado Green Tours in Denver, a full service cannabis-friendly Colorado travel agency, tour operator, and ground transport provider. Travel High Colorado offers high-cations in Aspen/Snowmass, Breckenridge, Vail, and Denver.
A range of options also exists for bud-friendly lodgings in recreational states. Some turn a blind eye; some are actually friendly; some are not cool with smoking of any kind, but otherwise have no policy on discreet consumption. This will probably lead you away from the major chains. Back to the Travel Tab for Washington and Colorado specifics.
Here’s where the story gets more complicated. The Flandreau Santee Sioux Tribe created quite a buzz when it announced a plan to open the first legal cannabis resort on the tribe’s South Dakota reservation.
Don’t book your New Year’s reservation, though. On November 7, out of an abundance of caution about the risk of a federal raid, the tribe burned its entire first crop, reportedly worth millions of dollars. The tribe is putting on a brave face. According to its attorney Seth C. Pearman,
The Tribe intends to successfully participate in the marijuana industry, and Tribal leadership is undaunted by this brief sidestep.
What happens next is really anyone’s guess.
CannaCamp, a cannabis-friendly dude ranch for grown-ups in Colorado, went through similar growing pains when it was forced to delay a summer 2015 opening until 2016 because of a land dispute.
Not that it’s impossible to plan a cannabis friendly vacation, but it seems that the all-in-one venues are having either legal or legally-inspired business difficulties getting off the ground. Nevada is widely expected to legalize recreational use in 2016; perhaps that’s where it will happen if the idea has the support of gambling and liquor interests.
Cannabis clubs — where people could simply go out for an evening, hear a little music or get a bite to eat with friends — what a civilized idea! The tragic events in Paris make it even clearer how important a cafe culture can be to a sense of urban well-being If cannabis cafes can exist in Amsterdam or Barcelona, why not here?
Blame the Puritans, if you must. The states that have legalized recreational use uniformly prohibit public consumption, so until exceptions are created, your local watering hole will not also be opening up a cannabis lounge. That could start to happen as early as 2016, though.
In Denver, the Limited Social Cannabis Use Initiative was pulled from the November 2015 ballot when activists redirected their efforts to work with city officials and restaurant and lodging associations to craft an ordinance to be considered by the City Council. Many just thought that 2015 was the wrong year for a ballot contest.
In Washington, D.C., where possession and consumption of cannabis is legal, but many live in rental or subsidized housing that prohibit it, the need may be even more acute. New proposals to allow cannabis clubs may before the City Council in the future. Some eye Boston as another urban tourist hot spot.
On the other hand, invitation-only events in private spaces that do not otherwise offend zoning and other ordinances can work just fine. Some, like weddings, are genuinely private; others have begun to take on the feel of corporate events. Club Ned, a private club in Nederland, Colorado compares itself to the VFW or Elk’s Club. It’s a fluid situation, obviously, but one that the out-of-town visitor may have some difficulty negotiating.
Resorts and public clubs seem to be on the horizon, but for the moment, legal purchase and friendly lodgings can easily be a part of a merry maryjane holiday.