January 24 2020
In this post-Mueller-report atmosphere, it's a relief for many adult travelers to know that you can now legally celebrate 4/20 or any day with recreational weed in Washington D.C and 10 states. (And in 33 states marijuana is okay for medicinal purposes.) So depending where you travel in the U.S., you can actually enjoy a legal "weedcation."
Yes, the recreational use of cannabis is legal in Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington, the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islandsand Guam. Another 14 states plus the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized.
Commercial distribution of cannabis is allowed in all jurisdictions where cannabis has been legalized, except Vermont and the District of Columbia.
But things do remain a bit confusing and dicey, especially when you travel. Be advised: The drug remains illegal under U.S. federal law, and the Justice Department periodically signals a crackdown on the business. State and local laws vary with regards to both the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana, and it's the responsibility of both travelers and hosts to ensure that all of their activities are consistent with relevant laws.
Yes, in more than half the US states you can pick pot up from a dispensary and bring it to your lodging in your car – legally, with a few restrictions. But even if you're traveling from one legal state to another bordering legal state (like from Washington to Oregon or California to Nevada), it's still federally illegal to bring your stash with you, and may even be considered federal drug trafficking.
Growth of the legal marijuana industry keeps growing beyond expectations; customers in North America will spend nearly $23 billion by 2021, projects the ArcView Group, a cannabis-focused research and investment firm.
Will the number states where pot is accepted increase? A HuffPost/YouGov poll showed that 55 percent of Americans favor legalizing marijuana both nationally and in their own states. National support for legalization at the federal level hit a record 64 percent in a Gallup survey from October 2017, including among a majority of Republicans. And the trend keeps rising.
Legal marijuana sales in the U.S. hit $6 billion in 2016, with tax revenue in Colorado and Washington, the states that have had legal cannabis markets for the longest, now bringing in hundreds of millions of dollars a year, according to an analysis by the Marijuana Policy Project.
In the future you may be able to cross state lines with a small stash as easily as bringing along a bottle of pinot noir. But not yet! Be sure you understand the law, are careful and cautious -- and then enjoy yourselves where it's legal. Private venues still have rules you'll have to follow (including no-smoking in general) and to be sure you may need to research more on your own.
That said, here is a guide of some of the best places in the U.S. to celebrate April 20.
I've also compiled a listing of a few weed-friendly lodgings, ranging from luxury cottages and mountain retreats to quirky BandBs and downtown hotels. Check out Bud and Breakfast and organizations such as potguide.com for places to stay and for special tours with fellow enthusiasts, any day.
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Photo: Smoking marijuana can now be a legal part of your travels in several states. GETTY