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