Cannabis’ semi-legality in many countries around the world, including full-blown recreational legalization in Canada, has spawned cannabis sectors in nearly every industry. Tourism is no exception. For many people, being able to consume cannabis legally, or at all, is a novelty in itself worth traveling for; for others, a little pot just livens up the experience of exploring a new place, enhancing sights, smells, and tastes. So where to? There’s lots to see and do in the world of cannabis tourism. Much of it is now located in Canada, or the American states that beat us to legalization, but cannabis tourism can take you overseas as well. This article will discuss some top recommendations for the budding cannabis tourist.
WHERE TO GO
There are some obvious contenders for top cannabis destinations.
Everyone and their grandmother knows about Amsterdam, but authorities in the original sin city are beginning to crack down on the cannabis scene . . . Instead, tourists are flocking to Canadian and American cities, in particular pot-heavy cities like Vancouver, Denver and Montreal. These are excellent choices with their full-blown recreational legalization, but bear in mind that not every high city experience is created equally, with laws differing even between towns in the same province in Canada. For example, you can smoke a blunt walking down Wellington, right in front of Parliament Hill in Ottawa (where it is legal to smoke pot anywhere you could smoke a cigarette), but you will get a ticket for smoking anywhere in historic Banff.
Wherever you go, be sure to do your research—even federal recreational legalization does not come without any caveats! If you will be staying in a hotel that doesn’t allow smoking, make sure your destination allows public consumption.
WHERE TO STAY
In order to make the most of your trip, you’ll want to book some cannabis-friendly accommodation.
On the note of the Rocky Mountains, Parks Canada has announced that cannabis consumption will be allowed at campgrounds throughout the Rocky Mountain National Parks, just make sure your munchies don’t attract bears!
In many destinations with legalized cannabis, entrepreneurs have hustled to set up accommodations that are not only friendly to cannabis, but also actively enhance the experience. Bud and Breakfasts have popped up across Canada and the United States as a sort of cannabis-infused Airbnb. Bud and Breakfasts are more than just a place to lay your head and light up—most hosts include a little more bang for your bud. Think microdose-infused blueberry pancakes for breakfast, or massages with CBD-infused oil. These accommodations offer an intimate local’s experience, and the local just so happens to be a walking encyclopedia of cannabis information.
WHAT TO DO
Pot hotspots will tend to have an offering of cannabis-themed activities to keep you busy while you’re there. Of course, cannabis is something to do even when there’s nothing to do, but it can also be the central theme in a variety of experiences.
Some of these are as simple as enjoying the cannabis-infused culture of a city. Try touring Vancouver’s Pot Block, an area of the metropolis’ downtown wherein you’ll find the office for Cannabis Culture magazine, the headquarters of the Marijuana Party of Canada, the Herb Museum, the Vancouver Seed Bank, and Toker’s Lounge—that’s plenty to do without walking too far. Montreal’s art scene has always involved cannabis, and this is evident at Tam Tams, a weekly gathering on the eastern slope of Mount Royal. Tam Tams is free, and is kind of like a 420 celebration every weekend when the weather’s good. You’ll find plenty of people lighting up, a huge drum circle, slacklining, and even a LARPer’s arena!
In terms of organized activities, “puff and paint” and “puff and yoga” classes are popping up all over Canada, and they involve just what you’d think. Travellers to California can enjoy Wine and Weed tours, where revellers are ferried between vineyards and dispensaries, sampling the goods in a party bus where the driver is sealed off from passengers, and at no risk of second-hand high.
For those looking for a more educational experience, there are informative tours available in many major cities. One tour company based in Seattle, Washington offers walking tours that explain all aspects of the cannabis industry, from a crash course in flower cultivation to a glass-blowing lesson, where guests get the opportunity to make their own pipes!
In addition to the regular spread of tours and activities in cannabis hotspots, you’ll also find the occasional cannabis-themed special event throughout the world.
High Times’ Cannabis Cup is probably the undisputed favourite. The self-proclaimed “foremost gathering place for the cannabis community to network and celebrate,” Cannabis Cup events are held in different locations across the United States, wherever legalized medical and recreational cannabis can be found. These events are an all-in-one, and feature a trade show, celebrity appearances, concerts, competitions, and instructional seminars. The main event is always the awarding of the Cannabis Cup awards, which establish the leading strains, products, and producers in the industry.
We have focused so far on places, activities, and events in North America, as this continent has become the premiere location for cannabis culture in recent years. However, there’s plenty to experience overseas as well. Prague, Austria hosts the annual Cannafest, which claims to be the largest cannabis expo in the world. Similar to the Cannabis Cup, Cannafest is primarily a trade show with a slew of special events and activities. Another option for overseas travellers is Germany’s Hanfparade, an annual march for the legalization and legitimization of cannabis. Nothing quite musters the energy of the cannabis community like a good ol’ prohibition, so Hanfparade is a great place to see enthusiasts in action, and to add your voice to the rallying cry for global legalization!
There’s lots to experience both at home and abroad for the cannabis tourist. Pack your bags, pack your bowl, and get out there! If you’re flying within Canada, you can even take advantage of new laws that allow travellers to fly with small amounts of cannabis, so you can light up the moment you step out of the airport and get enjoying your trip!