So you want to get Rocky Mountain high, but you aren't sure how to navigate the regulations of the legal pot industry. Well, no worries. You can still get high on Colorado's supply. All it takes is some road trippin' and some cash.
If you've got a couple of vacation days to spare, there's an entire industry out there, and it's just waiting for your arrival. It's pretty normal to have a bunch of questions as a legal cannabis newbie -- stuff like where it's cool to smoke, how much you can buy, and where the hell to go are all valid queries that need to be addressed before you can jump into the mellow mood -- and the folks in the Colorado pot industry have taken note. That's where pot tourism, the latest venture to sprout out of cannabis legalization, comes in.
Since Colorado is the only state where you can buy legal recreational weed, the big business of pot tourism has taken off. Everything from cannabis-heavy bakeries and eateries to guided tours and pot-friendly hotels have emerged from the blanket legalization in Colorado.
Considering that out-of-state pot guests comprise nearly half of Colorado's $1 million dollars in daily weed sales, it makes a ridiculous amount of sense to zero in on tourism. There are obviously pot patrons going at it alone, and when the offer of a guided tour and an inside look at the industry are packaged into one convenient block, or a hotel that is 420-friendly is thrown in, it only sweetens the deal.
But considering that pot tourism in Colorado is the first of its kind in our country, that sub-sect of cannabis culture is still working out the kinks, which means finding out the details of what's offered can be a bit overwhelming.
Luckily for you, dear reader, when it comes to cannabis culture -- even cannabis tourism -- we're intrigued. That means we've waded through the pot jungle, and we're ready and able to educate you. Here's everything you need -- where to go, what to do, and what a tour will cost ya -- when it comes to pot tourism.
There is such a thing as a cannabis tour. That said, booking a tour is probably your best bet, but it'll cost ya. Transportation? Check. A safe place to smoke? Check. Seasoned smokers to show you the ways, and explain to you terms like "budtender," while keeping you from overindulging or getting whacked out of your brain on a new strain of indica? Check, check, and check.
Companies like My 420 Tours and Colorado Highlife Tours provide transportation, and more importantly chaperones, to accompany curious tourists on trips to dispensaries and growers. These handy-dandy (legal) potheads provide guidance on the local cannabis laws -- where you can smoke, and where you can't -- and they also give participants a closer look the ins and outs of the legal pot industry in Colorado.
Here's the gist of what will happen on a pot tour. You'll be picked up in a pot-friendly van that comes complete with dark tinted windows, and they'll ferry your high ass around to all of the best pot places, or pot-friendly places, in the area.
The guys at My 420 Tours offers all-inclusive tours, dispensary and grow tours, and cannabis sampler tours. They've even got multi-day tours, if you're so inclined to push your legal pothead limits. They're pretty darn legit, those pothead tours.
Prices run from around $200 to $1,500, depending on just what exactly you're looking for. These dudes even have a sweet ass Valentine's Day tour that includes a "Cooking with Cannabis" class, and an open bar. That bad boy will run you about $325 a person, and there's a pretty good guarantee that your other half will be impressed with your Valentine's skillz.
While each tour charges a different fee -- Colorado Highlife has tours that start at $140 -- and each offers a variation on the "tour" experience, what you can guarantee you'll get is a streamlined foray into Colorado's cannabis industry, and that may be totally worth it.
Cannabis-friendly hotels exist in Colorado. Remember those high-school hotel parties that always busted you smoking herb in the room? Well, you can still get in trouble as an adult for smoking in your hotel room, even in Colorado. Not every hotel in Colorado is going to be down with your ganja habit, and you can't smoke in cannabis shops, or on the street, so unless you've got a super-sweet pothead bestie in Colorado who will let you stay on their couch, you should probably make sure your hotel isn't going to kick your ass for vaping in your room.
Luckily, some innovative hotel owners acknowledge the need for pot tourist rooms, and they're ready and willing to cater to your THC-needs. Take the Extended Stay America -- Lakewood South in Denver, for example. They're cool with it, but they're going to side-eye you if there's excessive smoke. The Historic Melrose Hotel in Grand Junction is cool with you smoking weed on their outside patio, and Cliff House Lodge in Morrison is totally chill with you chillin', inside or out.
There are a ton of other options available, and we'd assume that the more mainstream this cannabis legalization becomes, the less hassle it will be to find a pot-tourist-friendly bed to rest your stoned head.
Tons of websites and magazines are popping up for the cannabis tourist. Weedmaps is your friend, son. If you're looking for the best places to tour, and you're not willing to pony up the cash for some guides, you can always look to Weedmaps to be your pot-beacon. They'll give you the heads up on the locations of dispensaries, and they've even got specials that you can take advantage of while you tour the budding pot industry in Colorado.
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Plenty of other like-minded websites and magazines are surfacing to cater to the non-native weed-seeker, so we'd like to think that with a little help from guides like these, it won't be long before Colorado has solidified their spot as a tourist mecca for something other than skiing.
There are special bars and private clubs that will let you enjoy your cannabis in peace. Yes, much like a bar that serves beer. So, in addition to the tours, websites, magazines, and pot-friendly hotels, Colorado is now catering to the cannabis tourist by way of private clubs, restaurants, and bars that are cool with smoking and vaping. Places like Herman's Hideaway and the private club, Club 64, named in honor of Amendment 64, are happy to host tourist potheads.
Restaurants are getting in on the pot action, too. Restaurants aren't as smoker-friendly in the actual building, but there are some innovative ways that Colorado's chefs are embracing the change. Hapa Sushi, a high-end sushi restaurant, has even debuted a pot-and-dinner pairing menu. They've even taken the time to specify which strain goes best with Pakistani Kush or Purple Rain. How freaking awesome is that place? Awesome enough to set up their dining room to ergonomically reduce paranoia, my friends.
There are a number of other restaurants and bars ready and willing to take care of your stoned ass, but we'll end on that note. Purple Rain and Poke Don at Hapa at 6 p.m.? Can we come too?