7 Cannabis-Friendly Countries to Travel To
Estimated 7-minute read
What if I told you there are probably more places in the world than you know where you can have the best cannabis experience?
It is no secret that as weed starts becoming the talk of the town around the globe, many countries have begun to pay attention to the topic. Some of them have even made history by turning their cities into weed-friendly places. In this article, we’ll explore several destinations that you could visit sooner than you think, as well as important differences in the legalization process of marijuana that you should know.
A weed vacation sounds fun, right? But first, let’s get down to the basics…
Legalization VS decriminalization of cannabis and what they mean.
If you’ve been following weed up close and personal, you’ve probably heard of these popular terms: the legalization and the decriminalization of marijuana. As much as these two concepts sound alike, they are not the same, and they actually entail entirely different things.
What is legalization?
Turnbridge defines legalization as “the act of a substance becoming permissible by law,” meaning that a substance that had once been banned is no longer illegal. So when weed is legal somewhere in the world, people can use the substance without being fined or even thrown into jail.
Nonetheless, laws like this usually set restrictions as to how a person or even a business can buy it, sell it, carry and possess it. The goal is to keep the user safe as they consume it.
What is decriminalization?
Decriminalization is a little bit more complicated than legalization. Turnbridge defines it as “the act of removing any criminal sanctions against a certain drug, including its use or possession under a specified amount.” It is important to note that a decriminalized drug is still illegal, but to put it in simple words, if there’s a punishment it is much more less severe.
Because countries have their own laws and operate differently from each other, it is hard to generalize and say that they act the same with decriminalized cannabis. One thing’s for sure: most places will not imprison you for possessing a small amount of weed while you’re walking down the street. Instead, the law could charge a civil fine, maybe make you take a drug educational course, or something of the sort.
However, it is crucial to keep in mind that places that decriminalize marijuana can still prosecute you -by law- if you produce, deal or sell cannabis. So do it responsibly.
Legalization VS decriminalization
Reading these two words ten times in the past five paragraphs might sound like a tongue twister now, but no matter how weird they sound now, you must get familiar with these terms so you can consume cannabis safely.
Decriminalization is not synonymous with legalization, and decriminalizing cannabis doesn’t mean that weed is legal.
Of course, everyone has their hot takes on these topics, opinions such as “cannabis will not reduce the number of arrests” and “people will start using more drugs” to “cannabis will help those suffering with medical conditions” to “weed is safer than alcohol or tobacco because cannabis is not toxic.” Oh well, a topic for another day.
Now that you know what both concepts mean let’s dive right into the weed-friendly destination you’ve dreamed about.
If you’d like to visit South America and have always had a tingle to be high on the beach, Uruguay is the perfect choice for you. Did you know that back in 2013, Uruguay was the first country in the world to legalize recreational marijuana?
This tiny country of 3.4 million people surprised every nation when it decided to legalize cannabis, with the State being responsible for its production, merchandising and distributing marijuana with two important reasons in mind: to end drug trafficking and improve the health of Uruguayans.
Although you can’t precisely purchase cannabis on the street as a foreigner, Montevideo has a cannabis tour that will have you visiting growing shops, drinking Uruguay’s famous signature mate with a hint of tasty weed, even meeting professional cultivators!
Canada is probably the world’s most well-known country to have legalized recreational cannabis, following Uruguay’s example five years after the South American government did it.
As cannabis tourism becomes more popular, big cities like Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal also offer several tours that combine cannabis and Canadian culture. There are websites like Canada High Tours that will connect you with a friendly host to act as local guides, and they’ll help you enjoy your stay while also providing exceptional cannabis-friendly experiences.
However, if you’re planning to visit Canada and try some weed out, keep in mind that you’ll have to do some research. In general culture, all three levels of government have a say in where marijuana can be sold, used, or advertised, making it different for every city and province. We suggest that you take your precautions and follow this guide.
3. United States
Recreational marijuana is legal in 18 states, including Colorado, Washington, Alaska, California, Oregon, and more.
Cannabis tourism has been a growing business in the US, from sightings on Portland’s most beloved mountain to painting classes in Colorado- all of these tours involve the recreational use of marijuana. Imagine fine dining in Los Angeles but instead of pairing your food with wine you pair it with a strain of cannabis or think about staying at a Bed & Breakfast in the mountains of San Jacinto where smoking is allowed in Room 420 (good one, huh.)
Similar to Canada, while the conditions and restrictions may vary from state to state, there’s a constant: it is legal for adults over 21 years old, and they can possess up to 1-2 ounces of marijuana. Here’s a guide to cannabis legalization in the country- choose your destination well!
4. The Netherlands
You’ve probably heard about the legendary Netherlands with their beautiful canal cruises, tulip fields and a bunch of weed shops that locals call “coffee shops.”
Although the consumption of cannabis is not legal per se, it has been decriminalized for personal use since 1976, meaning that weed is actually tolerated by the Dutch law.
If you have plans to visit Amsterdam you should do it soon because environmentalist mayor Femke Halsema wishes to ban foreign tourists from the city's coffee shops by the time coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted. There’s no time to waste, go make that trip!
5. Costa Rica
This Central American country is known as the happiest country in the world thanks to its stable democracy and educated population. A bit more than 70 years ago, the government decided to do away with its army and invest the money on education, prioritizing human well being above other things.
Much like The Netherlands, recreational cannabis is decriminalized in Costa Rica, which means that small amounts of weed consumption are allowed in private areas. So, if you’re both a surfing and a cannabis enthusiast, this country could be the ultimate destination for you. And if you’re not a surfer, worry not, you can visit its rich biodiverse land: beaches, rainforests, volcanoes and mountains.
The country that popularized reggae music has, indeed, decriminalized recreational marijuana since 2015. While cannabis is still illegal in Jamaica, weed has become a large part of the country's culture. Just like Costa Rica and other places that have been mentioned in this article, you won’t get in trouble for having small amounts of weed with you. I encourage you to go and enjoy your vacation in the caribbean!
Although weed is still illegal in Spain, it’s considered to have tolerant cannabis laws; citizens are allowed to cultivate it for personal use to the extent that some Bed & Breakfasts add cannabis and vaporizers to use indoors while hanging out in their rooms. Check Ibiza, Barcelona and the Canary Islands out, and you’ll find a place among weed-friendly people.
So there you have it, seven countries with a bunch of destinations that have been stepping up in their weed game. With more and more cannabis freedom, cannabis tourism has the potential to be the next big thing.
If you are traveling to some of these places and looking to have a great smoking experience, you should be prepared with the essential smoking herb accessories!
I highly recommend HAMP if you are a joint kind of person; these ones are just easy to carry as they have a magnetic flat and close perfectly. If you are more into pipes, KØL 2.0 is for you, plus its lifetime guarantee will totally keep you cool during your trip. There’s also a smaller version, KØL mini 2.0, which can make traveling even easier as you can keep it in your pocket. And of course… don’t forget your grinding tool! Perfectly grounded herb can be hard to find, so you might consider bringing KLIP with you or carrying it around the smaller version.
Now you’re all set to go! Which place would you like to visit?
Author: Mary Jane
N.A. (2021). DECRIMINALIZATION VS LEGALIZATION OF DRUGS: WHAT IT MEANS FOR STATES IN 2020-2021. March 2022, from Turnbridge. Website: https://www.turnbridge.com/news-events/latest-articles/decriminalization-vs-legalization/#
Hansen, C. (2022). Where Is Marijuana Legal? A Guide to Marijuana Legalization. March 2022, from US News. Website: Where Is Marijuana Legal? A Guide to Marijuana Legalization
Rodriguez, C. (2021). No More Cannabis Tourism In Amsterdam Post-Coronavirus. March 2022, from Forbes. Website: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ceciliarodriguez/2021/01/10/no-more-marijuana-for-tourists-in-amsterdam-post-coronavirus/?sh=36006a1211db