Yes, pot tourism is officially a thing. And yes, pot tourism is officially a clusterfuck.
With Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC (and more on the way) all legal for recreational marijuana, ambitious tour operators are planting the seeds for a Napa Valley-esque future of fun. State tourism agencies have yet to acknowledge the budding industry, but it's still an obvious new draw for out-of-state visitors.
As of late, the industry is making headlines for an increase in marijuana-related ER visits. Hotels have strict anti-smoking rules. Smoking anywhere in public is illegal. The coffee shops you've seen in the Netherlands are nonexistent. Basically, it feels like you can buy it, but you can't smoke it. Anywhere.
So before you book your ticket to the promised land, here’s a how-to just for marijuana tourists.
Step 1: Where to get it
The first stop after wheels down? A dispensary, duh. In major cities like Denver, Seattle, and Portland, you'll find them without even trying. But sites like Weedmaps and Leafly have a database of every dispensary in every state with user-generated reviews to help guide you to the greatest greens in town. Just say no to the black-market dealers still out there.
The recreational sale of marijuana is strictly enforced to those 21+. IDs are checked upon arrival and then again at the counter, so be prepared. Even if you’re 90.
US citizens must have a valid state-issued driver’s license, passport, or military ID. Traveling from outside the US? Only a valid passport from your home country will get you in.
Come with cash. Some shops accept debit cards, but none accept credit cards.
For first-timers, be up front and let your friendly budtender -- which is a real position, and exactly what it sounds like -- know. Ask a lot of questions. They’re knowledgeable and are there to help guide you through the shopping experience.
In Washington and Alaska, you can purchase up to an ounce of flower per day and 16oz of marijuana-infused product in solid form (think: pot brownies) or 72oz of marijuana-infused product in liquid form. If you're an out-of-towner in Colorado or Oregon, you can only purchase up to 7g per day. Note: edibles and concentrates are still not yet recreationally legal in the Beaver State, but they’re coming.