When you think of the word "tourism," you likely think of traveling to certain places to experience something that you might not necessarily be able to experience at home.
Some head to a tropical location to escape the cold and soak in the sun, while others make their way to European destinations to gaze at amazing architecture and unique landscape.
For others, it means taking a "marijuana vacation" to experience cannabis cultures in different parts of the world.
Think of places like Amsterdam, which has been a marijuana tourism hotspot for a long time, attracting people from all over the world not only for its architectural and natural beauty but also because of its legal cannabis culture.
These days, those interested in experiencing the green don't have to venture very far, as many parts in the US are hopping aboard the cannabis legalization train, giving way to a relatively new concept known as "cannabis tourism".
The increase in legalization is making the industry more and more popular, giving way to a new tourism industry that's poised to explode within the next few years.
With more and more states across the US legalizing recreational and medical marijuana, the cannabis tourism industry is on the rise. Not only can canna-travelers try out different strains in different parts of the country, but they can also take part in unique adventures and experiences, including the likes of CBD-infused massages and marijuana-based banquets.
But there's a right way and a wrong way to participate in cannabis tourism, especially for first-timers who want to make sure they have the best - and safest - adventure.
If that's you, here are the do's and don'ts for the first-time cannabis tourist to help you make sure you get it right and make the most of your experience.
Before we get into what you should do to make the most of your cannabis trip, here are a few mistakes to avoid making.
Getting too high
While the purpose of your cannabis vacation is to experience the various euphoric effects of different recreational and medical marijuana strains while participating in different activities, getting too high can negatively affect your experience. Especially for those who are relatively new to using marijuana, the concept of starting slow is an important one to heed.
Whether you're smoking it, eating it, or vaping it, start slow with marijuana and practice patience while consuming it. Being blissfully high is a lot different - and better - than being so high that you're either incapacitated or aren't mentally present enough to enjoy the moment.
Buying too much marijuana at dispensaries
Some cannabis tourists buy too much marijuana in one shot, putting them over the legal limit for purchase. It's important to know what the marijuana laws are in the state you're visiting as well as the states you'll be traveling through to get back home. You don't want to be caught by law enforcement for possession that's over the legal limit, even if you did acquire it legally from dispensaries.
For example, California's Proposition 64, governs recreational marijuana in the state and allows adults to buy one ounce of marijuana a day, or up to eight grams of marijuana concentrates that are contained within edibles.
Buying too much is asking for trouble, so make sure you understand and follow the cannabis laws. Plus, it would be a waste of money if you had to abandon your stash when crossing state borders. Or worse, you could get caught, cited with marijuana possession and accumulate some jail time in states where marijuana is neither legalized nor decriminalized.
Not knowing the strain you're using
Getting your weed from just anyone you come across is likely not going to provide you with enough information about exactly what you're putting in your body. If you’re buying your own recreational or medical marijuana, make sure that you know exactly what you're getting. More specifically, you want to know that what you're buying is going to provide you with the exact experience you're looking for.
That's why knowing the strain is important, as different strains will provide different effects. For instance, indica strains tend to provide a sense of deep relaxation, while sativa strains usually offer more energy. THC-heavy strains produce a different effect than CBD-concentrated cannabis. While THC produces a head high, CBD impacts the body, and is often favored for medical purposes and to alleviate chronic pain.
Ask your budtender detailed questions to make calculated decisions when purchasing cannabis strains.
Not being discreet
If you must smoke, reach for the disposable vape pen. These allow you to enjoy your cannabis odor-free.
While certain states might have legalized recreational and medical marijuana, that doesn't necessarily mean you can light up anywhere you go. Not everyone or every business is OK with people smoking weed on their premises or in their presence - in fact, many are still adamantly against marijuana, even in states where it is already legalized.
Plus, there are laws and rules governing the use of cannabis in outdoor public places. Even in recreational states, it’s illegal to smoke in public. If you fail to understand these rules, you could find yourself in some trouble, which will totally kill your buzz.
Like cigarettes, smoking cannabis is not allowed in most hotels due to the odor it leaves behind. If you’re staying in a hotel or vacation rental, we recommend you enjoy your cannabis through smoke-free methods, such as edibles, tinctures and topicals.
Now that you know what not to do, here are some things you should do to make the most of your marijuana holiday.
Beer/wine and cannabis tours
You may have heard of wine tours or beer hopping, but adding cannabis to the mix takes this to a whole new level. Why limit yourself to just wine or beer when you can combine it with the unique experience of cannabis?
These tours typically involve hopping aboard a bus filled with other "cannabis tourists" and led by a knowledgeable tour guide where you'll be whisked to various wine/beer/cannabis hot spots all over the state that you happen to be visiting. These types of tours are typically more common in places like California and Colorado and are the ideal way for first-time marijuana vacationers to sample a bit of everything.
Stay at a “bud and breakfast” location
Also dubbed "420-friendly hotels," “bud and breakfasts” offer recreational and medical cannabis-friendly lodging experiences. Located all over the country - and even the world - these lodges provide a unique and novel place for visitors to stay along their travels.
Bud and breakfasts are gaining in popularity among recreational and medical marijuana enthusiasts who love their weekend or weeklong - or longer - getaways.
Try ganja classes
Yoga, painting, pottery, or cooking classes continue to be popular, but with the increasing legalization of marijuana, such classes are now being infused with weed to create a truly unique experience where vacationers can puff and paint, meditate, and cook.
Take a behind-the-scenes look at the cannabis industry
See first-hand how marijuana growers harvest their crops and take their products from seed to sale.
Get a CBD massage
Get a relaxing deep-tissue massage while having CBD-infused oils and creams rubbed into your skin to promote healing for both the body and mind.
Enjoy a cannabis-infused fine dining experience
Take part in a cannabis-inspired dinner event where crafty chefs create delectable dishes infused with marijuana.
Attend cannabis events
From seasonal festivals to cannabis fairs, to marijuana-based trade shows, there's seemingly no shortage of cannabis-based events happening all across cannabis legal states.
Cannabis tourism is skyrocketing, and as marijuana's legalization becomes even more widespread, this sub-sector of the industry is expected to expand much more in the coming months and years. To make the most of your cannabis vacation, be sure to heed the above-mentioned tidbits of advice.