Trippy Travel: The Rise Of Cannabis Tourism

Trippy Travel: The Rise Of Cannabis Tourism



In
a time of weed dispensaries and regulated drug testing at
festivals, the adage “just say no” is to some extent being replaced
with “just be safe”. Drugs are making their way into mainstream
channels and travel is no exception, with
cannabis tourism raking in billions for weed-progressive countries.
The relaxing of regulations combined with a New Age sensibility
means if you’re looking for trippy travel you’re surprisingly
spoilt for choice.

Here’s our pick of places where rules are changing and
disapproving looks are rare. Proceed respectfully and responsibly,
kids.


San Francisco

California, US

If San Francisco was distilled,
bottled and sold as perfume, what you’d get is unmistakably
cannabic – enhanced with notes of Mexican food from La Taqueria and
the scent of progressive politics. Head to Dolores Park in the
afternoon and you’ll realise taking a bong out of your bag won’t
raise any eyebrows. Between the speakers blasting music from every
corner, the woman hula-hooping and the group practising capoeira,
it’d almost be rude not to light up and add to the fun.
Alternatively, grab an edible from a dispensary (of which SF has
many) and wander around town. If there’s one place you won’t feel
paranoid, it’s this liberal hub of art and culture.


Amsterdam

Netherlands

There are few places as synonymous with cannabis: Amsterdam, the wonderland of
weed. Way ahead of the drug-tourism boom, the Dutch capital has
long been a favourite micro-trip for red-eyed, dry-mouthed
youngsters across Europe and beyond. Since becoming legal in 1980,
there are now over 250 coffeeshops (not to be confused with coffee
houses or cafés) across the city, the majority of which are
concentrated in the De Wallen city centre. Buzzed on excitement and
with plenty of options, it’s tempting to drift into the first place
you see touting a marijuana-leaf logo, but not all coffee shops are
created equal. The Bulldog is a crowd favourite with a history
stretching back to the 1970s; perfectly situated to light up on the
banks of a canal for a joint al fresco. Alternatively, the aptly
named 420 Café is your go-to for traditional Dutch interiors, space
cakes, snacks, fresh coffee and a soundtrack of classic rock.


Denver

United States

The home of South Park, the Rocky Mountains and a booming
cannabis industry, The Mile High City (strangely not named after
its weed consumption – just a happy coincidence) is a hotspot for
marijuana tourism. Since the drug was legalised in 2014 the city
has welcomed the green rush with open arms and deep pockets; local
Girl Scouts having been given the thumbs up to sell cookies outside
weed dispensaries and Airbnb reservation rose 68% from 2016 to
2017. The faint smell of cannabis drifts out onto the street from
dispensaries and even hotels (yes, Bud and Breakfast serves bongs
and vaporisers alongside meals), but if you’re looking to buy, make
sure you bring ID and if you’re not American, make it a passport –
this is a deal-breaker and without one, you’re likely to go home
empty-handed and sorely disappointed. For people who prefer their
high with a side of education, a trip to Denver’s Euflora Cannabis
Centre is enlightening; touch, see and sample the goods (think
London’s Science Museum but with weed).


Vancouver

Canada

While BC is a relative newbie on the cannabis tourism block,
opening its first legal weed dispensary in January 2019, the drug feels
right at home in the liberal climate of Vancouver. Overnight the
legalisation made Canada the world’s largest country with legal
marijuana sales. Forget the lava lamps, drum circles and bean bags,
Vancouver’s high is more chic than shabby; think organic edibles
fortified with vitamins rather than brownies. City Cannabis is
practically the Goop of weed; with natural greenery, airy spaces
and reclaimed wood furniture, as well as interactive menus on
iPads, aromatic cannabis display pods and a curated selection of
books, this is the kind of place you can definitely take your mum.
Of course, smaller, low-key dispensaries are still in abundance.
Domestic air travellers are even allowed to carry 30g of pot on
them – times are changing, and Canada is leading the way.


Kingston

Jamaica

There are few places to light up that feel as right as the beach
huts of Jamaica, with Rastafarianism, reggae music and Bob Marley
doing much to connect the country with weed in popular culture.
Surprisingly though, the reality for a long time was not so
chilled, and marijuana offenders risked prison for life. Attitudes
(and policies) have since changed with the drug becoming more of a
grey area – but if you know the law you have a better chance of
staying on the right side of it. As of 2013, weed was
decriminalised for small amounts, with the legalisation of
medical-use marijuana following suit two years later. While the
latter fact may not seem to apply to you, Jamaica’s
medical-marijuana programmes are pretty much regulation free; the
law around it is pretty hazy. If you’re looking for a legal high,
Kaya Farms in St Ann is your go-to facility for all things ganja,
plus there’s a doctor on site able to prescribe it. Just be sure to
call ahead to check availability.