As cannabis acceptance spreads across the country — 30 states have now legalized consumption for recreational or medical purposes — fans of the plants are more likely to want to bring their favorite stash on vacation or sample local products. However, because it remains illegal at the federal level, traveling with or for cannabis isn’t as simple as it seems. Here’s what you need to know to stay safe and legal on the road in Colorado and beyond.
Crossing state lines
Even though recreational cannabis is now available in states scattered throughout the nation, it’s still illegal to cross state lines with flower or its derived products. So, what you buy in Colorado needs to stay in Colorado, and what you buy in California cannot leave California. That means no souvenirs from your out-of-state travels and no bringing samples of Colorado’s own to out-of-state relatives, even if they live in Washington or Massachusetts. And although international and out-of-state residents are now allowed to purchase an ounce of cannabis or its equivalent at recreational dispensaries, they cannot bring it home. So, if you have a non-Colorado ID, keep the transaction smooth by letting your bud-tender know you’ll be using locally.
Summer in Colorado is a great time to hit the road. Whether you’re into visiting parks and cities around our beautiful state or heading to one of the many outdoor festivals, there are some restrictions you should know about. Even within Colorado, there are restrictions on where you can legally use.
Public consumption is still prohibited. That means that smoking at public festivals, such as those held at venues such as Red Rocks, is illegal and can result in fines up to $1,000. If you’re determined to get high with your music, look for festivals held on private property and advertising themselves as 420-friendly. Or munch an edible in the privacy of your home then grab a Lyft to the event — the company offers discounts to cannabis users through the Marijuana Industry Group.
If you’re more into enjoying your weed in the great outdoors, keep in mind it’s illegal to use cannabis on — or even transport it through — federal lands. That includes national parks, national forests, BLM land, and more. And if you choose to use in state campgrounds, make sure to do so in the privacy of a tent or camper, and to avoid violating the Clean Air Act, choose a smokeless mode of consumption.
On the road
While you’re allowed to drive with up to an ounce of flower or its equivalent in your vehicle in Colorado, it’s illegal to use in the car or drive while high. A car that smells like cannabis can trigger a sobriety check if you’re pulled over for basic traffic violations, so it’s best to store your product well out of reach.
Flying with cannabis in any form, even if you’re staying in Colorado, is illegal, so leave your stash at home or finish it up before you head to the airport. At a minimum, violators risk fines and having their cannabis confiscated.
Where to stay
Whether you’re traveling around Colorado or visiting another state where it’s legal to purchase recreational cannabis, it can be difficult to find traditional accommodations that allow you to use. Take advantage of websites such as Airbnb and HomeAway that connect you with private homes and look for those that advertise themselves as 420-friendly.