Places Weed Love To Visit: The Rise Of Cannabis Tourism

By Phil Clarke, Editor of The Handbook website Phil Clarke |
18th April 2019

Cannabis tourism is on the rise, the only question is where do you mariju-wanna go? The world’s attitude to weed is changing fast, partly due to the abject failure of regulation, the cost of policing and partly down to changing social attitudes. While medical opinion’s arguably travelling in the opposite direction, tourists are heading straight for the c-word, and get your minds out of the gutter, we’re not talking about Cornwall. Come with us, it’s gonna be bongin’…

San Francisco, USA

San Francisco, USA

It’s the birthplace of the hippy, the home of the peace sign and of being, like, totally chilled, man. It’s no surprise that the free-spirit of the internet, which is basically based in the city, with its original hippy ideals. But it wasn’t possible to legally smoke a spliff here until 2018. Now you can take specialist bus tours which ferry guests round the city’s HIGHlights (geddit?), such as producers, dispensaries and various neighbourhoods of the city that are key in its marijuana story like Chinatown, North Beach, Haight Ashbury, and the Castro.

Famed for its steep hills, bay and the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco there’s more to the city than its liberal approach to life. Check out the rich history, ride a street car that may or may not be named Desire or head a little inland to the wineries of Napa Valley.

Amsterdam, Holland

Amsterdam, Holland

Fancy a coffee? No, a ‘coffee’! The coffeeshops of Amsterdam are infamous and are a huge part of the city’s tourism trade. In fact cannabis isn’t legal in Holland, it’s just that the rules are bizarrely opaque and unenforced. The govrnment has created a drug policy which tolerates smoking the drug under certain conditions. Coffee shops, operating under permits, aren’t allowed to advertise drugs and can only sell certain quantities, but netherless (surely Netherlandstheless?) they are easy to find, and smell, and offer a good range of high quality gear. Favourites include Grey Area (Snoop Dog is a regular when he’s in town – and we’re guessing he’s in town a lot) or check out Original Dampkring.

But Amsterdam is more than just the capital of weed, sticking on the vice theme there’s the red light district, or if you’re feeling a little more cultural then galleries (the Rijksmuseum is a must), Van Gogh museum and the Anne Frank House to name a few.

Rason, North Korea

Rason, North Korea

Yes, you read that correctly, cannabis is totally legal in North Korea. Indeed, it’s one of the country’s main exports to get much needed cash into the country. At least, we think it’s legal, the secretive state isn’t the most forthcoming with facts of any sort. A journalist is reported to have bought an entire carrier bag full of the stuff in Rason in the rural north of the country.

Given the deadly fate of some tourists in the recent past it seems that North Korea is perhaps not the ideal place to go on holiday. Donald Trump raves about the beaches, but even so, maybe stick to Amsterdam…

Montevideo, Uruguay

Montevideo, Uruguay

Uruguay was one fo the first places to legalise cannabis, and opening up to the drug has marked the country out as a beacon in the worldwide move to decriminalise weed. Citizens and residents (anyone who’s lived there for two years) can buy upto 40g of marijuana a month from a pharmacy having already registered to a government database at their local post office. Crucially, though, tourists are barred from buying the stuff. But all is not lost, locals are more than welcome to gift pot to friendly tourists.

Montevideo, Uruguay’s capital, centres on the Plada de la Indepencia (no translation needed) which leads to the old town, Ciudad Vieja, which is scenic with a vibrant nightlife or the mkore modern downtown area. The beachfront could be straight out of Cannes or Nice.

Montreal, Canada

Montreal, Canada

Cannabis is now legal in Canada! Parliament passed a law legalising the drug as of October 17th 2018 and now smoking weed is kosher whether you’re a local or a tourist. Montreal allows guests to purchas up to a maxium of 30 grams at a time, and this is the maximum you can have on you. It can’t be smoked in public places where regular smoking is prohibited. It can be purchased in a number of stores across the city.

Montreal is Canada’s French city, the largest city in Quebec and centred on the island of Montreal. There’s plenty going on, an international jazz festival, comedy festival and is the only Canadian city to have held a summer olympics.

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