Many of my friends would be surprised that I wrote this post. See, I voted “no” to legalize Cannabis. It was a complete protest vote because I knew that it was going to pass by flying colors. I voted “no” because I believe with great freedom comes great responsibility.
But, at the end of the day, I’m a live and let live person. You’re adults and you will do what you want to do and if that includes taking a cannabis vacation in Colorado I will welcome you with open arms but I also would like to make sure that you have a safe, fun, and awesome time so that you will visit again.
Colorado Life after Legalization
I get asked (more often than I would like) what’s life like in Colorado after we voted to legalize pot? Maybe people are curious because we currently have one of the most (if not the most) permissive law in the world.
Life is pretty much the same except there are a lot of green crosses on buildings which typically indicate that there is a dispensary in that space. People now ask me about pot when I travel. Before they asked me about:
Before they asked me about:
- Jon Benet Ramsey
- The Kobe Bryant controversy
- The Shootings
- There are black people in Colorado?!
- The balloon boy hoax
I was amazed that legal pot could trump those other constant questions-but it did.
Legal Cannabis and Tourists
I will say that we almost always can tell if you’re tourists visiting a pot shop. You giggle and look around as if people are watching…we aren’t. You nervously hold your paper bag of pot that you carefully chose and are going to enjoy…somewhere. Inevitably, I’ve found many of the tourists to be older than you would expect and just looking to relax (pun intended).
The other reason I decided to write this post was because we began to notice that tourists on pot vacation were ending up at the hospital at higher rates than you would like to see for out-of-town visitors. My hope is to educate people and share information that will help tourists make safer decisions.
Shocker, there are actually a number of rules that help manage how pot is consumed, sold, disposed of, etc. in the state. You will very rarely find people walking around smoking a bowl. In fact, it’s against the law to consume pot in public. You will get ticketed if you’re found doing this.
The usage laws may depend on the town that you’re visiting. Some towns are pragmatically embracing the new legalization status…others…not so much.
This one feels obvious but you’re not allowed to smoke up and drive. And, pot cannot be in open containers.
You must be 21 years old to purchase and consume your favorite bud and the maximum amount that you may purchase is one ounce.
Rules Change it is Your Responsibility to Check Them
I plan on interviewing some dispensary owners for my podcast Square State so that I can get a more in-depth and educated explanation on the different types of weed sold. The one product that I do want to mention is edibles.
In fact, edibles truly inspired this post especially because of the increase in tourist emergency room visits. Colorado has increased the regulation of edibles. The state has also mandated that the letters THC be printed on the labels (and I believe on the actual gummy).
- Follow the directions on the package.
- Edibles may take longer to affect you.
Even though this is a post geared towards people who are visiting from out of state I do also want to mention that edibles obviously need to stay out of the reach of children. It feels like a no-brainer, but kids have accidentally ingested these because they look like candy.
The Practical Stuff
When planning a vacation there are practical components that need to be considered. Where to stay, when, what to do, and where to go. With a cannabis inspired vacation there are a few more nuances that have to be considered.
- Accommodation-When booking accommodation you can look for cannabis friendly spaces. I found a number of websites geared towards pot smokers. Just Google “cannabis friendly accommodation websites” I was amazed at all of the listings. *As I’ve never stayed in one I am unable to give a recommendation*
- Smoking inside-Be aware that similar to cigarette smoke, pot smoke is also subject to the Clean Indoor Air Act. So you may need to ask about air purifiers.
- Transportation-Book where there is access to public transit. My favorite mode of transportation in Denver is the light rail followed by my bike. But, in your case make sure that you’re close enough to the city center of the city that you’re staying in (Denver, Fort Collins, Breckendridge, etc.) that you will have access to Uber, Lyft, or public transit. Want a free ride worth up to $20 from Uber? Signup now and use promo code: 20NEWRIDEUBER
- If you’re visiting Colorado you DO have to consider the effect of a higher altitude on your body. I am not a doctor so do contact your doctor about any health concerns that you may have and ask about the potential for: altitude sickness, etc.
What to Do?
You’re probably wondering what you’ll be able to do while on a cannabis vacation. Fortunately, there are a ton of events and businesses creating events with the pot tourist in mind.
Of course there are the typical activities: hiking, biking, the theater, going out to eat, skiing, and exploring. Tourists can also enjoy:
- Yoga (and other events) via the Mason Jar Event Group that specializes elevated cannabis experiences.
- Tours-Tour company experiences include: tours of actual grow houses, cooking with cannabis, party buses, guided hikes, glass blowing demonstrations, and the list goes on.
Almost all of the tour companies that I looked at offer transportation services. As mentioned previously, I also strongly recommend booking your accommodation close to the light rail (regardless of the type of vacation you’re planning). Do not smoke and drive.
There are the following modes of transportation in Denver:
- Tuk Tuks
There is no need for you to drive while high.
Cash or Credit
Again, pot is illegal on a Federal level. This makes transactions tricky. No, you can’t (and shouldn’t) use your credit cards. Establishments are cash only businesses. Recently an app has been launched for payments but I would like to interview the founders for my podcast Square State as I have questions about people who are out of state using the app.
I feel I shouldn’t have to mention this but I’m going to because people don’t always use their best judgment.
DO NOT under any circumstances leave the state of Colorado with any of the pot products that you purchased. It’s considered trafficking because pot is still illegal at the Federal level.
DO NOT take pack a package of edibles in your check-in luggage or your car. DO NOT take hash oil with you. What you bought in Colorado should be enjoyed in Colorado.
We want you to have fun and enjoy yourself. We also would like for you to visit again.
Back to Work
I feel that it’s also important to remind you that what happens during a Colorado Cannabis vacation doesn’t stay in Colorado. If you are subject to random drug tests your vacation may come back to haunt you.