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Cannabis Travel Do’s and Don’ts

The Leaf offers a word to the wise on modern weed travel for anyone planning a pot-related trip.

Photo by Adobe Stock

While many of us are longing for a super stoney vacation this year, nobody wants to end up on an episode of Locked Up Abroad, or find themselves having to return to some ill-fated destination in Anywhere, USA for a court date. The following recommendations for traveling with (or without) Cannabis are purely anecdotal and not meant as legal advice. Always remember to be safe and follow the rules wherever you may travel.

Alexander Belinskiy – stock.adob

Know Before You Go
Familiarizing yourself with the laws of your destination is an absolute must. Depending on where you are going, Cannabis can be completely legal, somewhat legal or entirely illegal – especially if you are traveling internationally. And the places that do offer legal weed in some form, often have confusing laws and policies surrounding the purchase and consumption. Always do your research before packing anything that could potentially lead to trouble. If in doubt … throw it out.

Never Buy Illegally (Especially Overseas)
While this might seem like obvious advice, there’s almost nothing worse than being out of weed on a vacay … and it can lead you to do irrational things. What is worse, though? Getting robbed or busted for buying weed illegally. Chances are the guy offering you a “drug” hookup is just as shady as the street vendor selling “authentic” Rolex watches and “licensed” Gucci gear. Avoid the trouble (and the best case mids scenario) and wait to bake until you get home.

Don’t Spark in the National Park
While there’s not much better than getting high in the great outdoors, think twice before you spark up in a park run by state or federal government. National parks are federal property regardless of the state they’re located in, so state Cannabis laws don’t apply there. You can get serious fines and real time for being caught with weed in a national park. The penalties in a state park can vary – unless you’re in California, where smoking in state parks and on beaches is permitted.

kittyfly – stock.adobe.com

Pot Thoughts on TSA 
Going through TSA is painful, but it’s worth being smart so you can get your buzz on when you land. 

Generally, checked luggage and carry-ons are only screened at your point of departure – so if weed is legal where you fly out from, you shouldn’t have a problem getting your bag where you land. This is not the case for international flights, so don’t risk it. We recommend putting anything sensitive in your checked bag and to only take what you plan to consume.

And don’t forget: Never smoke or vape on a plane (there is one Leaf team member I’m thinking fondly of as I write this). Also remember that eating edibles before a flight might seem like a good idea, but it can be just as bad as taking a hit of LSD if that 100mg nano-emulsified beverage hits a little harder than expected.  

Mediteraneo – stock.adobe.com

Ripped is for Ridesharing  
My advice regarding weed and cars is simple: Never drive high and don’t smoke while driving. As a general rule whenever I rent a car on vacation, I always get the walk-away (full coverage) insurance. I won’t risk driving in a new place without it, and I certainly wouldn’t add weed to the already stressful mix. So if you plan to party, take a rideshare and be aware of your surroundings. Driving in a new city statistically increases your odds of an accident, so don’t make it worse by being impaired.

Stoners & Scooters Don’t Always Mix
While this writer once had an epic group scootering experience while on a lemon-tech dose of psilocybin in Denver (great street graffiti, highly recommended), it’s important to remember that anything with wheels can lead to a DUI. This is more of a concern for happy hour drinkers bar-hopping on scooters, but be careful if you rent something – especially if it has an electric motor and you don’t know your way around town. 

About Wes Abney

Wes Abney is the founder and CEO of the Leaf Nation brand family, which began in 2010 as Northwest Leaf magazine. Recognized as the first Cannabis publication in the region, Northwest Leaf defined and developed the medical and recreational Cannabis communities in Washington with free publications focused on quality content and truthful journalism. The model’s success has led to Oregon Leaf in 2014, Alaska Leaf in 2016, Maryland Leaf in 2019, California Leaf in Spring of 2020, and Northeast Leaf in Fall of 2020. Wes’s writing and publishing background began with his college newspaper, The Ebbtide, which included a love for multimedia and creating content on many platforms. The nickname “Bearded Lorax” came after years of publishing millions of free magazines, using his voice to speak for a plant and those that benefit from it. Wes is an activist not only for Cannabis but for alternative medicine treatments, ending the drug war and freeing prisoners who have been wrongfully incarcerated for non-violent crimes. His passion for reaching people with written and spoken words led to the concept of Leaf Life Podcast in partnership with Mike Ricker, which began development in 2018 and launched in January 2019. With the combined passions of Cannabis and a love for broadcasting, the creation of Leaf Life was a natural progression for Leaf Nation as it spread roots across the United States. With over 100 shows recorded, and printing over 100,000 monthly copies, Leaf Nation has become the world’s largest Cannabis media company, while still celebrating the humble roots and truthful journalism that the model was founded upon. Beyond leading a team of 40+ passionate Cannabis creatives, Wes is the father to two beautiful daughters and two furry cats. He lives in Seattle, drinks coffee, and enjoys Cannabis daily, and hopes to eventually transition from a successful Cannabis journalist to a classic coffee shop author as the Leaf continues to grow in the coming decades. In true Lorax fashion, he enjoys hikes in the forest, communing with nature, and reminding people that “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not.”

This article was originally published in the May 2022 issue of All Magazines.

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