Next time someone tells you they’re going on a “green” vacation, you may want to clarify if they’re heading off to an eco-friendly trip or a voyage to the land of wacky tobaccy in the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington. Granted, if you’re the kind of friend people have to ask, “Is it a regular brownie or a ‘special’ one?,” you’re probably the person saying bon voyage on your own green retreat. Here’s everything you need to know about the current and growing reefer rush.
First, Some Blunt History
Colorado and Washington became the first states in the union to legalize marijuana in 2012. The capital of the country, Washington D.C., and two additional states will vote on the issue in the 2014 election. Currently, 23 out of 50 states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes, ranging from simple ailments like insomnia to dire circumstances like cancer. However, using the plant remains a federal crime and a controversial topic. Be cautious as you travel to the country to bake and partake.
Smokes for Certain Folks
You must be 21 and up to smoke and toke in Colorado, and there is a limit on how much you can possess. A resident can retain 28 grams of marijuana, whereas a visitor can only purchase 7 grams at a time. You are free to possess, purchase, and consume marijuana in all its forms in the state, though there have been shortages of eatables. Consider it the effect of a zealous push for kush.
Greenbacks for Green
Please note that stores only accept American cash. Due to its illegal status at the federal level, banks are currently not allowed to do business with marijuana dispensaries, making it impossible to use credit cards or checks. Then again, when have you ever written your hook-up a check?
Curb the Herb
Here’s the tricky part: you are not allowed to smoke in national parks, ski zones, public areas, and in most hotels. You’re going to have to use your best judgment on where to light up. Also keep in mind: you are not allowed to bring any doobie booty back home. Luckily, the Colorado Springs Airport offers amnesty bins, where you can chuck of your chronic with no consequences. While Colorado and Washington are pro-legalization, marijuana is categorized in the Schedule I drug category–the same as heroin–under federal laws.
A Little Nug of Context
Washington State legalized marijuana the same year as Colorado but has had tougher restrictions on the industry. The Evergreen State only allows stores to sell marijuana that has been grown in Washington by licensed producers, with special barcodes placed on each plant to prevent unlicensed growers from entering the trade. So far, it’s created a six-month delay of opening store doors to the public with smaller supplies and longer hazy lines.
On Point Joints
Like Colorado, you must be 21 and up to purchase marijuana products–but unlike the Centennial State, both residents and out-of-towners can possess up to 28 grams at a time. American cash is required for the grass.
The M.I.A. THC
For now, Washington has not allowed THC-infused treats to go up for sale, as the Washington State Liquor Control Board requires that the products must be tested and approved before being made available for purchase. If you’re looking for a “funky” munchie, you’re in the wrong part of the country.
Where to Chain the Mary Jane
Like the Colorado laws, it is illegal to smoke in public areas. No parks, no beaches, no open spaces. However, certain hotels in the area have lax rules with smoking in-house, though they may not be explicit about their illicit welcome mat.
The Final Note About a Dope Vacation
Remember: laws are always changing on this issue. By the time the ink is dry on this blog, there very well may be a new regulation, a new law, or a new raid. Remember to go with the flow, keep it peaceful, and if you have to wear a Jerry Garcia shirt to the pot shop, at least wear a tie to match. This is history, folks.
What Interests You About the Green Trend in The States?