As travel restrictions start to ease, many people are looking forward to taking a vacation again. But for those who enjoy using marijuana regularly, taking a vacation can be more of a challenge to plan.
Cannabis use is legal in some states in the U.S., though not in all of them and not on a federal level. This means, depending on where you go, you may have to forgo using marijuana products while on vacation. For some, this can be a deal-breaker.
If a trip is on the horizon for you, consider planning for a marijuana-friendly destination. We will highlight some sites you should consider visiting and offer tips on how to plan the perfect cannabis-friendly trip.
Please note that travel restrictions are still in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic. You will need to follow COVID guidelines as you travel and in each place you visit.
Challenges of Traveling and Marijuana
Preparing for a trip is a lot of work for anyone. First, you have to choose where you want to go. If you are going with a partner or friends, you will need to select a place you can all agree on. That can be an ordeal in itself.
Then, you will have to decide how to get there (fly, drive, or take the train?), what you want to do there, and even where to stay and eat. It is a lot of planning, but so worth it when you finally get to go.
When arranging a trip that is marijuana-friendly, you have additional challenges. Each state's cannabis laws are different, so you must know things like:
- How much cannabis you can carry with you in each state. Some states only allow an ounce to be on your person, while others might have looser restrictions. You will want to know their limitations before you go.
- Where it's okay to smoke. Some states do not allow people to smoke in public places. That means you will only be able to smoke weed in private places, such as where you are staying.
- How to best carry cannabis products while you travel. Taking cannabis on a plane is a federal crime, and carrying it across state lines is not always allowed either. So, unless you are going between neighboring states where recreational marijuana use is legal in both, you might need to purchase your weed once you reach your destination.
- Where you can buy weed. Though buying weed when you arrive is often easier than traveling with it, some states have restrictions on whether or not dispensaries can sell to tourists.
This means you will need to do a little extra research before taking a cannabis-friendly vacation. But, as more and more states become marijuana-friendly, it may soon become much easier for weed enthusiasts to continue to enjoy their products while on the road.
Marijuana-friendly Vacation Spots
The first step in planning your marijuana-friendly vacation is choosing the perfect destination. Here are some location suggestions to help you get started.
1. Los Angeles, California
The City of Angels and home to the stars, L.A. is a popular vacation destination for many reasons, thanks to its mild weather, ocean access, and mountain views. But it is also one of the most 420-friendly vacation spots in the United States. You have plenty of options when it comes to activities: Take a hike in the mountains, spend the day at the beach, or take a tour of Hollywood's history.
Where to Stay: The Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows in neighboring Santa Monica have introduced a unique service for guests: a cannabis concierge service. Though of-age guests will have access to menus that include low-dose and non-inhalation hemp and cannabis products, Fairmont does have a no-smoking policy in the room or anywhere on its grounds. Contact them to see where it's safe to smoke before you book.
The Hicksville Pines Bud & Breakfast is also a great choice, featuring unique décor and a one-of-kind experience. It allows cannabis use in public places. Though you can't smoke in all rooms, if you are able to book room 420, marijuana use is allowed in there.
Fun Fact: The Standard Hotel was the first hotel to have a dispensary in it. Unfortunately, this hotel closed permanently at the beginning of the year.
2. Denver, Colorado
Known for offering a plethora of outdoor activities, Denver also boasts an active nightlife with great food as well as breweries. You will be sure to stay busy during the day and night. But when it's time to check in for the night and rest up for tomorrow, you will find quite a few options when it comes to 420-friendly hotels.
Where to Stay: The Downtown Denver Hotel – 16th Street Mall is a premier 420-friendly facility. When booked as part of 420 Tours (which is currently not operating due to the pandemic), you will receive complimentary cannabis products at check-in, such as a rental vaporizer, coupons for local dispensaries, and cannabis magazines.
The Clarion Hotel is located just north of downtown Denver in the Globeville neighborhood. This hotel has an entire floor dedicated to marijuana guests. You can smoke in this area as you wish. But rooms on this floor fill up quickly, so be sure to book in advance.
Fun Fact: Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use.
3. Anchorage, Alaska
Looking for a trip a little off the beaten path? Anchorage may be for you. While in Alaska, take advantage of their amazing wildlife by visiting their state parks or taking a cruise to look at their glaciers and wildlife from the water. You are sure to find plenty to do to keep you busy while enjoying your visit to this beautiful state.
Where to Stay: Alaska does not allow people to smoke pot outdoors. That means you will only be able to smoke in your hotel or wherever you plan to stay. There aren't any big hotel chains that provide a cannabis-safe environment. Instead, when visiting Alaska, it is best to find a private residence to stay in that allows marijuana use on its premises.
Fun Fact: Alaska legalized cannabis by ballot initiative in 2014.
4. Las Vegas, Nevada
Sin City is known for being a good (and perhaps wild) time. Gambling, one-of-a-kind shows, and sunshine make this a popular destination for travelers in the United States and worldwide. Vegas is known as America's Playground for a reason.
Where to Stay: Some motels in Vegas have adjusted to accommodate cannabis use since it became legal. But you will likely want to call ahead and confirm before booking a room. Your best bet would be to book a private residence. Some people offer marijuana-themed goodies as part of a stay at their house. Check sites like Airbnb or CannabisTours to find smoking-friendly stays within Vegas.
Fun Fact: The first dispensary in Vegas opened to patients on Aug. 24, 2015.
5. Chicago, Illinois
Located on the Great Lakes, Chicago offers a unique midwestern experience. Visit the aquarium, spend time on the beach, or stop by Wrigley Field. You will find plenty to keep you busy during the day before getting out to enjoy the active nightlife. While you are in the city, be sure to get a slice (or two) of its famous deep-dish pizza. Rudy Malnati Sr. is credited as the father of Chicago deep-dish pizza, and his son operates his own restaurant, Pizano's. Be sure to stop by for a slice of pizza history.
Where to Stay: Marijuana use has only recently become legal, so there aren't a ton of cannabis-themed stays. However, many hotels will allow users to smoke pipes, bongs, vapes, or even joints on private balconies, if not in their rooms. If you book a room with a private outside space, call ahead to see if you can smoke out there. Chances are, it will be a yes.
Fun Fact: Medical marijuana patients in Illinois are allowed to grow up to five cannabis plants in their homes. Recreational users, however, are not permitted to grow their own plants.
6. Washington, D.C.
There is so much to do in our nation's capital. Explore the country's history by going to the museums at The Smithsonian. Visit the Lincoln Memorial and the White House. Catch a baseball game at Nationals Park. For nature lovers, check out Rock Creek Park. There is something for everyone in D.C.
Where to Stay: Many places allow cannabis smoking in Washington, D.C. But one couple has taken it upon themselves to provide cannabis travelers with a truly unique experience. You will definitely want to check out The Cozy Canna-Inn. Here you can enjoy free hookah sessions, medication sessions, cannabis-infused body rubs, and more. It is a truly unique experience and an excellent place for marijuana users to stay during their time in D.C.
Fun Fact: Though marijuana use is legal in Washington, D.C. (you can carry less than 2 ounces of weed), it is not legal to purchase it. Instead, people often rely on others to gift it to them, which is legal.
If you decide to stay in a private residence while on your cannabis-friendly vacation, there are sites dedicated to providing lodging information for you.
You can also, of course, use Airbnb and turn on the smoking filter. Most descriptions will note if cannabis smoking is allowed on the property or just cigarette smoking. But, if you have any questions, be sure to reach out to the host before booking your stay.
Traveling With Equipment
Though you can purchase weed in most places once you arrive, you likely won't want to invest in brand new equipment there as well. And some equipment, like bongs, can be large and take up a lot of room.
Thus, some marijuana users will choose to use products like edibles or capsules that are easier to carry. Just be careful not to take illegal items across state lines. Or consider buying a smaller bong or even a disposable pipe to use on vacation so that you don't have to carry it back.
A Note on CBD
Unlike marijuana, CBD is legal across all states and at a federal level, thanks to the Farm Bill of 2018. That means you can carry CBD products with you. If you feel overwhelmed about planning a trip around marijuana, switching to CBD during your vacation is an excellent option.
CBD edibles and oils can help keep you calm while on vacation but won't get you high. So switching to CBD while traveling won't be the best option for everyone.
Taking a vacation involves a lot of planning. You need to pick a place, find lodging, and even request time off work. Then, you will need to figure out transportation and start packing. If you are going on a cannabis-friendly vacation, you will have even more to prepare for.
Each state that has legalized recreational marijuana use has its own laws and regulations around it. That can make traveling and knowing what is and is not allowed a challenge. Before going to any new state with your marijuana, take the time to research the laws they have in place; this can make it easier to plan your 420-friendly vacation.
Finding marijuana-friendly lodging is getting easier than it used to be. Many hotels in large cities where weed is legal offer accommodations for weed users. They might have designated areas you can smoke in or even specific areas set apart for weed-using travelers to stay in. If you are unsure of the weed policy for any hotel, be sure to contact them before you book your stay.
As you plan a trip in the next few months, remember that COVID-19 restrictions are still in place for specific areas, adding another layer to your trip planning. Be sure to look up the health protections in place and be prepared to abide by them while there.