Find out about top travel destinations where smoking weed is legalized or embraced with tolerance
Canada’s recent legalisation of recreational marijuana is set to increase tourism flows to the second biggest country in the world. As an increasing number of countries become weed-friendly, cannabis tourism - a special type of tourism for the purpose of obtaining cannabis for recreational use - is experiencing a rapid growth.
Whether you’re looking for a cannabis tour to learn more about this magical plant or want to experience it yourself, here is the list of the best travel destinations where cannabis are perfectly legal.
On October 17 of 2018, weed enthusiasts cheered and honked their car horns in support of Canada’s new law, legalizing recreational cannabis. Canada has become the world’s second country after Uruguay to legalize recreational cannabis nationwide. Canada has much to offer to a modern traveler, from imposing mountain ranges to arctic lands, vibrant cities and rich cuisine. Yet it seems that with a plenty of dispensaries and cafes popping up, cannabis tourism is the next big thing for Canada.
In 2013, Uruguay, a small country sandwiched between Argentina and Brazil, made history when it became the first country in the world to fully legalize recreational marijuana. Here locals can smoke marijuana wherever they like - but, according to the law, it’s illegal for visitors to purchase weed. Yet there is no need to panic because you always can pal up with friendly Uruguayans or sign up for a cannabis tour. This Latin American country, shadowed by its big neighbours for a long time, is becoming a popular travel destination. If you’re weary of frenetic lifestyle and overcrowded tourist destinations, Uruguay with its laid-back rhythm and one of the most stunning beaches in South America is just the place for you.
The Netherlands is world-famous for its stunning canal cruises and for the oldest “coffee shops” in the world. For those not privy to the lingo, “coffee shops” are special places where the sale of cannabis for personal consumption is tolerated by the Dutch law. But if you ever get caught in highbrow discussions about weed, keep in mind that it is not legal, but only tolerated by local authorities. However confusing this might sound, there is no reason to be worried if you don’t have plans to walk around the city with more than 5g of weed.
If someone utters “Jamaica,” everyone starts hearing Bob Marley singing “I'm gonna smoke'a de ganja until I go blind.” Thanks to the reggae music and the Rastafarians, ganja (another word for weed) has become a large part of the Jamaican culture. However, only recently Jamaica’s authorities started loosening its weed laws. In 2015, Jamaica’s lawmakers passed a bill decriminalizing recreational cannabis. While ganja is still illegal in the country, you won’t get into trouble for possessing small amounts of weed when enjoying your Caribbean vacation.
To put it bluntly, it seems that Colorado is a paradise for cannabis connoisseurs. In 2014, Colorado legalized recreational cannabis and the magic happened - the state went gaga over ganja. Legal dispensaries, weed-friendly hotels, and plenty of marijuana tours popped up. A large numbers of tourists rushed to visit the state. Since 2014, cannabis tourism has grown by 51% in the state. In Colorado, you can enjoy mind-blowing views of the Rocky Mountains and amazing craft beers - what else is needed? A cannabis lounge is just on the corner.
For those who haven’t heard this yet, Portugal is Europe’s new hot destination. Record numbers of people are visiting the country's top tourist attractions such as Sintra, Archipelago of Azores, Algarve or lovely Porto. Also, Portugal is known for its radical drug policy. In 2001, Portugal decriminalized personal quantities of all drugs including cannabis. While this doesn’t mean that weed is legal in the country, nobody will punish you for carrying small amounts of cannabis for personal use.
America's only arctic state offers unique opportunity to gaze at Aurora Borealis, discover the largest glaciers in North America or have some puffs of legal marijuana. Since 2014, recreational cannabis consumption has been legalized in Alaska. Though the pot industry developed slowly at first, today pot shops and cannabis tour operators are open for business. But keep in mind that you can’t smoke weed in public - so no joints in world-famous Denali National Park. You can smoke weed on private property, but we recommend to check the smoking policy of hotel owners and landlords in advance.
Freetown Christiania, located in the middle of Copenhagen, is a unique place to discover alternative thinking and hippie culture. It was founded by a group of hippies in 1971 in old military barracks and became famous for its open weed trade. However, the atmosphere changed after a shooting that injured three people and shocked the district in 2016. To lay cards on the table, it’s not the same as it was before, but weed is still tolerated and available in the Green Light District. Besides, this colourful and controversial town in the heart of Copenhagen is worth a visit in itself.
Fantastic weather year round, national parks - such as Yosemite or redwood forests -or simply driving on the famous coastal highway between Los Angeles and San Francisco are some of the reasons why California attracts large numbers of tourists each year. Yet recently, The Golden State has also become a hot travel destination for cannabis tourists. As of 1 January 2018, recreational cannabis use has been legalized in California. While you’re there, you can freely purchase some pot or take part in one of many popular “wine and weed” tours, offering unique tasting experiences.
In 2017, Nevada’s legalization of recreational cannabis was all over the news. Today, Las Vegas and other major cities aim to liven up the already buzzing pot tourism. In November, Planet 13 Superstore - the world’s largest cannabis entertainment park - will open in Las Vegas. Recreational cannabis sales are also taking place in many dispensaries throughout Nevada. Sin City has always been a dream destination for those who seek jaw-dropping attractions, but don’t forget that beyond Las Vegas’s glitz, there are Nevada’s stunning desertscapes and fascinating ghost towns.
If you’re both a surfing and cannabis enthusiast, Costa Rica might be your top vacation destination. Recreational cannabis is decriminalized in Costa Rica, meaning that small amounts of weed consumption are allowed in private areas. This Latin American country will surprise you not only with cannabis freedom, but also with some of the best waves on earth. Here you will find balmy weather and gorgeous beaches where you can satisfy your surfing passion at full velocity. Besides, Costa Rica, also known as the happiest country in the world, will certainly give you a big injection of positivity. Non-surfers will have plenty to do as well, including beautiful beaches, rainforests, volcanoes and mountains.
Spain is among the countries that are considered having the laxest cannabis laws. While weed is still technically illegal in this Europe’s sunniest country, citizens are allowed to cultivate weed for personal use. Spain is home to many so-called social cannabis clubs. Since you must be a member to gain access to the club, your best bet as a tourist is to find some Spanish friends. Whether you’re headed to Gaudi’s Barcelona or the Canary Islands, there are no doubts that cannabis-friendliness will find you.
Cannabis freedom continues to spread across the world, enabling more and more travelers to opt for additional recreational experience. Yet it’s always advisable to do a little research about the smoking laws of the country you’re headed to.