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Setting the Green Scene: Cannabis Destinations Across the US

A chat with author Lauren Yoshiko about her new travel guide for tokers.

Lauren Yoshiko has always been on the cutting edge of Cannabis journalism. When her home state of Oregon legalized adult use in 2014, she wrote some of the very first articles about the new recreational industry. Even before that, she was publishing strain reviews in Willamette Week, Portland’s Pulitzer Prize-winning alt-weekly under the pseudonym “Mary Romano” (for fear of losing her day job, ironically).

After years on the ground covering how Cannabis and culture collide for outlets like Forbes, Thrillist and Rolling Stone, Lauren was approached in 2022 to take on the biggest adventure of her literary career so far – writing an entire book. It’d also be the first-ever book of its kind: a travel guide to legal Cannabis destinations across the United States.

“I was really lucky to actually get contacted by a publisher, Hardie Grant, who was interested in covering the new world of Cannabis but was definitely sensitive to doing it in a thoughtful way,” Lauren tells us. “More than just the splashiest spots or sheer quantity, they really wanted a quality curation of places that are doing unique things in ethical ways. And when they looked around at who was reporting on this space, they saw that I was pretty intentional with the people I wrote about and who I featured. So I was like, where do I sign? You’re speaking my language.”

But just how did she tackle the challenge of curating the coolest, most creative places to consume from coast to coast? 

“I was overwhelmed initially, but when I really sat down and thought about it, the people I’ve written about over the last 10 years all became sort of confidants for their regions,” she explains. “It was awesome to tap the network and reach out to all these people and be like, ‘Hey, what’s your favorite spot in Boston? What are your favorite spots that you go to, person that lives in Phoenix?’ It was really fun – lots of conversations and more than just business features – it was really wrapping my head around being somebody who loves weed in these different regions.” 

Green Scenes ended up spanning 15 states and 24 cities total, compiling 120 of the most interesting Cannabis-friendly sites and experiences. From places to stay like The Lexi (Las Vegas’s first consumption hotel with a sleek and sophisticated design) to shops such as Joint Rivers (a casino-inspired dispensary operating on Native-owned land in Washington), there’s a little something for every kind of adventure enthusiast. 

Love to spoil yourself at the spa? Puff on a joint while you get your toes painted at Nomsternailz in Oregon, or participate in a relaxing Cacao and Kush ceremony at New Rituals wellness collective in California.

More of a foodie? Visit the husband-and-wife-duo serving up Dope Dinners, inspired by the flavors of the Caribbean and Mediterranean in Massachusetts or sip on an infused Blue Dream Cosmic Slushie at Chi’Tiva in Illinois.

Prefer to stay mentally stimulated when you’re stoned? You might want to check out one of Lauren’s favorite spots in the book: the THC Museum in New York (THC NYC), with seven floors of experiences including music, light shows and multi-sensory elements. 

While all of these green scenes are unique in their own ways, they do have one thing in common: most are small, locally-owned businesses with a focus on high-quality craft Cannabis and highly-curated experiences. 

“As a consumer, I love this product and want it to be trustworthy and high quality. With this book, I wanted to highlight people with that same mentality that are craft-based, that care about how they grow, that are trying to be as least extractive as possible on the earth and maybe even leaving it a little happier than when they first arrived,” Lauren tells us. “It’s about: Who do I want to see thrive? Who do I want to see win? And who could use the help? I definitely seek out independent small-owned businesses that are doing things thoughtfully – because they are the ones really caring about that craft quality or one-on-one experiences.” 

Has our Adventure Issue inspired you to take a trip somewhere totally new? Want to branch out in your own backyard? Either way, Lauren envisions you taking Green Scenes along for the ride. 

“You could keep it at home on your coffee table and have it be something people flip through and learn a little bit at a time. I also love the idea of people folding a page and taking it with them on their trip,” she says. “Or flipping through before they go somewhere and being like, ‘OK, I’m going to a legal state, I know I’m gonna want to try some weed – these are the spots that I’m going to bookmark on my phone or take a screenshot of or check out the website.’ Then they can really build that into their trip in a fun way.”  

@laurenyoshiko | @hardiegrantbooks

Green Scenes is available now on Amazon and in booksellers nationwide. To hear more from Lauren, subscribe to Sticky Bits, her free weekly newsletter for creative Cannabis entrepreneurs. 

This article was originally published in the May 2024 issue of All Magazines.

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