Is Marijuana Tourism a New American Trend?

I recently had the good fortune to visit Denver and Colorado Springs to hang out with some of the BoardingArea crew.

Marijuana Tourism

With Grant, Jeanne, Ben, and my awesome BA peeps

I also recently took a trip to Brussels, Amsterdam, and Prague (which I’m still trying to catch up writing about) but the key word in this sentence is… Amsterdam.

After that experience, I was looking forward to visiting some homegrown (American) dispensaries now that weed is legal in Colorado (and Washington, and Nevada).

In fact, there was one right across the street from the Sheraton Denver Downtown: Euflora. It got me thinking… would I go back to Denver just to smoke a bunch of weed?

As it turns out, the trail has already been thoroughly… blazed.

Would you fly to buy?

I’m asking as a newish Texan, where I’m subject to some of the harshest possession charges of any US state.

As I walked down 16th Street Mall holding my baggie, I thought, “I could totally get used to this.” It felt so new because I was still in the US.

But I also quickly realized the limits as a visitor: for one, I couldn’t smoke in my hotel. Or anywhere outside where there might be children. So where did that leave me? I asked a local and she basically said, “Figure it out.” So I did.

a hand holding a package of marijuana

Edibles were my solution

I stuck to edibles, mostly.

The more I talked to others in the know, the more I realized this is an ongoing thing. That many of the people buying marijuana in Colorado were NOT from Colorado.

Marijuana tourism in the US

A quick search turned up articles about weed tourism from Travel + Leisure and the New York Times – good company to have. I also found a helpful list of things to avoid when you take a “weed vacation.”

a display case with various items on it

The selection was wild

What I loved most was seeing everything out on display, in the open, with professional labels and nutrition facts and different varieties of each item. The staff at the dispensary talked about the products in a no-nonsense way. There was no stigma.

It was all out there: products. Customers talking about the products, the variations, the different strains and types. I’d never seen such an array before. It was so refreshing to see it out in the open.

a black shirt with a green leaf on it


I also knew right away I couldn’t even think about purchasing most of the things in there. I was only in town for 3 days. And anyway, I’d never get it back to Texas.

I didn’t want to buy a lot of product because then I’d need the whole setup. And I didn’t want to make the investment only to throw it all away.

a man smoking a cigarette

Pre-rolled joints FTW

Luckily, they had some pre-rolled joints. But only available in mango flavor. :/ Whatever, the edibles were plenty for me. And I got only as many as I could handle in 3 days.

The experience made we want to go back for more. To be a marijuana tourist in Denver. And do it proper.

Where points and miles come in

My flights to and from Denver were free. My hotel stay was $86 (I booked a cash + points rate). Breakfast was free. And the dispensary was literally across the street.

I’d totally fly back to Denver with the sole purpose of indulging in their local herbs for a few more days. To be honest, the whole experience was so relaxing and easy and fun, I’m amazed I didn’t think to do it sooner.

And using points for a weed vacation would be a literally free way to make it happen again. Next time, I can plan it more carefully so I don’t feel like I’m wasting anything. Or having to throw a bunch of it away before I leave.

Will this trend keep spreading?

I’d love to live in a state where weed is legal. It is most definitely NOT legal in Texas. I don’t think it will be any time soon.

But being in Denver made me think: what if I drove there, stocked up, and drove back? No TSA and the only risk would be getting pulled over. Don’t people already do that, though? What’s preventing Colorado’s border states from legalizing marijuana? If more people keep doing it, are the states going to prosecute everyone they catch?

It seems like Colorado and other states (mostly on the west coast) are setting the trend for legalization to spread outward… but for the moment, marijuana tourism is a new and enticing prospect, isn’t it?

Bottom line

Just some food for thought. I had a completely refreshing experience being a marijuana tourist in my home country. Dallas to Denver is a pretty quick flight – I’d consider flying to Colorado just to smoke up for a few days.

But the problems for tourists come quickly: lack of accessories and you have to get creative if you intend to exhale smoke. Plus, you can’t take it with you – although I don’t see what’s preventing peeps from simply driving out of the state with their stash.

The whole thing got me thinking. And seeing it’s been recognized by some well-respected publications, marijuana tourism seems like it could take hold here in the US. I don’t even need to fly all the way to Amsterdam any more. I also wonder… how far will the trend spread? Will we ever have “cafes” stateside? Will be interesting to see how this develops on a national level…

Have you taken a weed vacation in the US? Would you (again)? I’d love to hear more thoughts on this!

* If you liked this post, consider signing up to receive free blog posts in an RSS reader and you’ll never miss an update!

Announcing Points Hub—points, miles, and travel rewards community. Join for just $9/month or $99/year.

BEST Current Credit Card Deals

  • Capital One Venture X Rewards—Earn 75,000 Venture miles once you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first 3 months from account opening, plus a $300 annual statement credit for travel booked through Capital One
  • Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card—Earn 100,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $15,000 on purchases in the first 3 months and 3X bonus points per $1 on the first $150,000 spent on travel and select business categories each account anniversary year
  • Amex Blue Business Plus—Earn 15,00 Membership Rewards points once you spend after you spend $3,000 in purchases in the first 3 months of Card Membership and 2X bonus points on up to $50,000 in spending per year with NO annual fee

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

About Harlan

Just a dude living in Memphis, traveling, and working toward financial independence.

More articles by Harlan »


  1. Even living in Denver it’s a PITA to smoke. Can’t do it inside our townhouse since we rent and it’s not allowed, plus everything would wreak of weed forever. Can’t smoke outside since there’s kids everywhere. Same thing with our cars, don’t want them wreaking of weed either. We have a handheld vaporizer, but it’s not like smoking a joint at all unfortunately. And edibles don’t really work on us at all. It’s partly why we love Amsterdam so much.

    • I feel ya, it’s definitely a challenge. Fortunately, edibles kick in HARD for me. I wonder if the US will ever get cafes like Europe has? Will be interesting to see how this develops because yeah, it’s obvi a PITA the way it is now.

      • I wouldn’t be surprised if there were already some underground pot places with filtered ventilation. Even living here I’d go to one. Downtown Denver is a quick Uber home.

          • If you find one definitely let us know. We’re moving to TX next week. Still don’t know where we’re living, staying, or what to do with our mail since we don’t have a forwarding address.

          • Wowww that’s awesome! You can always send it to me, I’ll keep it for you if you need, until you find a place.

          • Thanks for the offer! Just searched for this and plenty of people move without a final address so we’re not alone. USPS can hold mail and then forward once we have an address. Will probably get a UPS Box once we get to FTW and then forward to that address. You know, if someone doesn’t screw something up. I’m good friends with our mail carrier so I’ll see what he says. Don’t know why I didn’t think of that earlier lol.

  2. I live in Colorado Springs and recreational is not sold here, only medical. But it is a short drive to Manitou Springs or Denver to get recreational.

    It is nice to be able to have the ability to purchase it but I find it difficult to consume as another poster stated. I don’t do it in my home, I can’t do it in front of my “stuffy” neighbors, so I don’t do it often.

    • Interesting that it’s difficult to source and consume, even as a local. I guess I didn’t consider neighbors – that would definitely be a factor, too. Great to hear from a local – thank you for reading and commenting!

  3. Please don’t drive home with your purchases. I like your blog, but your new boyfriend in prison might not.

    • Lol, I’m very law-abiding. I was playing devil’s advocate in that moment. Don’t worry, I have no desire to ever have a prison boyfriend!

  4. Yeah, it’s pretty much started to ruin Denver. There are just too many potheads, most of whom mooch off everybody else, live like slobs, drive after they have been smoking (CO insurance rates have skyrocketed) – and the legalization has even ruined a few nice communities in Southern CO.

    But hey – if that is what the legislature says is legal, then so be it. It’s LEGAL (and let’s not leave out – “medially necessary for SOOOOOO many people). The power gluttons didn’t have the vision to see the problems it would cause down the line…but politician-human feces never do.

    Shame that smoking that crap gives you cancer…but hey – it’s natural. Suck it up and hold it for as long as you can! They can just raise health insurance rates for Colorado to make up for it! Enjoy~!

    • Car insurance rates were already high here since there are so many people (mainly illegals according to our insurance agent) without insurance.

      One other thing… They kept touting the revenues form pot would go toward building schools, but they didn’t set any money aside for hiring teachers and staff or supplies to fill those schools. So they aren’t actually building the schools and the money just sits around.

  5. Colorado, being until last November the easternmost state where it’s legal, is a natural spot for mj tourism. Now that the entire West Coast is legal, including Nevada, the tourism should slow down somewhat. I think you’re wrong about Texas not legalizing; there were several bills in the last legislative session that didn’t quite pass, but you better believe those pols are eyeing the tax money with a lot of interest. Once a certain number of states become “sensible,” the rest will follow quickly.

    • Sure hope you’re right. Most of the MJ arrests in Texas are for simple possession. Decriminalization would even be a huge step forward here.

  6. It will be interesting to see the direction that the industry goes now that it is going to be legal on most of the west coast. That said, there are plenty of people visiting from fly over states that I’m sure will be interested in smoking the herb.

Leave a Reply