Useful Tips for Pot Tourists Headed to Colorado
Napa Valley has its famed wineries. Kentucky has its bourbon trail. As for Colorado? It led the way on legal weed. And Colorado has lots of it, with more than 300 recreational dispensaries in Denver alone, and social smoking venues starting to crop up.
The Colorado legislature approved new laws for marijuana delivery and public use in 2019, the same year the state surpassed $1 billion in cannabis-related revenue. The recreational marijuana industry in Colorado has come a long way since voters green-lit Amendment 64 in 2012.
Expert Tips From a Pot Pro
As the first of eleven U.S. states to legalize it, Colorado welcomes plenty of weed tourists, with 1 in 4 visitors from 2013-2018 listing cannabis as a reason for visiting. Whether you’re a newbie to weed (in any form), or you’re curious about the general pot culture and scene in Colorado, it’s good to learn the lay of the land. As lead trainer at Native Roots, a dispensary with locations throughout Colorado, Michael Pyatt offers his best tips about how to have the best Rocky Mountain high experience.
Q: What’s your best advice for a first-time pot smoker?
A: We recommend starting with a low dose and taking it slow. Various amounts of cannabis affect users differently. And if you chose edibles, they can take up to two hours to take full effect.
One common side effect of cannabis is anxiety, so if that happens, know that it’s ok if you do, and that the feeling will subside. Not everyone does, but it’s something to be aware of, especially for your first time. Also if that happens, you can also use several techniques to help with anxiety, including taking deep breaths and drinking plenty of water.
Q: What’s the number one question tourists ask you?
A: The most common question we’re asked is “Am I really going to feel 10 milligrams?” The answer is yes. Most users experience a pleasant and euphoric high after consuming 10 mg of edibles. In fact, most people feel the effects of cannabis after eating only 5 mg.
Q: Any particular strains that are best for first-time pot smokers?
A: Here are three of my favorite strands and why I recommend each one.
- Jillybean (Sativa Hybrid): Jillybean was bred originally for stress and anxiety relief. It’s stimulating for daytime use but not overly potent.
- Sour Tsunami (CBD Sativa Hybrid): Sour Tsunami became famous for being one of the first strains bred for CBD content rather than THC.
- Granddaddy Purple “GDP” (Indica): Grandaddy Purps is legendary for its calming and relaxing effects. New users will only need a couple of puffs to feel the relief.
Learn more about the types of cannabis and their effects here.
Q: What’s next for cannabis in Colorado?
A: The cannabis industry and culture is still in its infancy nationwide. However, I think terpenes are going to be a huge point of discussion very soon in Colorado. Terpenes are organic compounds found in plants, including cannabis, and they have different effects on users based on what strain they’re used with. Already in Colorado, companies are experimenting with adding terpenes to different cannabinoids to create a certain experience, every time. It’s possible that combining different terpenes will ensure someone has a specific type of high—like relaxing or creative—every time.
Important Laws to Know Before You Visit
If you’re coming to Colorado to partake in the pot culture, there are a few things you should know as you blaze your trail.
You Need to Be 21 to Buy It.
Yes, you can absolutely purchase recreational marijuana, even if you’re not a resident of Colorado. However, you do need to be at least 21 years of age. Colorado residents and tourists alike are allowed to purchase up to one ounce of weed at a time.
Also, many tourists imagine the bud scene to be akin to the bar scene. But, city regulations require dispensaries in Denver to close by 10 p.m., so you’ll want to get your marijuana run in during the day. However, some nearby cities have regulations that allow dispensaries to stay open later. Just west of Denver, in Edgewater, dispensaries are allowed to stay open until midnight. Same goes for Glendale, which borders Denver and has lots of bars.
Public Smoking Isn’t Allowed.
While you can’t smoke pot in public legally, things are slowly changing. In 2019 state legislators approved new social smoking regulations, allowing hotels, restaurants, and other venues to apply for pot-use permits. Denver become the first city to legalize social marijuana use in 2016 when voters passed a measure, however the city approval process has been slow to roll out. (Translated: Denver isn’t quite yet like the Amsterdam of old, with tourists enjoying the marijuana scene in cafes).
If you're headed to Denver, Colorado to indulge in and learn about the state's pot culture and industry, read these helpful tips before setting out on your Rocky Mountain high adventure.
420 in Denver: 5 things to know about smoking weed in Colorado
Sure, a lot of people will blaze in public, but it’s not legal
- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
- Click to print (Opens in new window)
- Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)
- Submit to Stumbleupon (Opens in new window)
The 420 festivities are expected to draw thousands of people to downtown Denver Saturday to celebrate all things marijuana. Before you pass that joint, here are a few things to keep in mind.
1. It is illegal to smoke marijuana in public. This includes Civic Center where T.I. will headline the big 420 festival. While you’ll see almost everyone smoking at the festival, the Denver Police Department does arrest people for violations. You can have weed in your car but it needs to be in sealed containers. And it is illegal to drive while stoned.
2. The penalty for being cited or arrested for a marijuana law violation varies. It could be a fine or it could mean jail time. It just depends on the severity of the accusation and whether you might have broken a city or state law.
3. If you’re visiting from out of town, find out your hotel or Airbnb rules. Some hotels may have smoking rooms where it is allowed. It not allowed on balconies or in common areas.
- A Colorado marijuana guide: 64 answers to commonly asked questions
- 4-day trial ends in $50 fine for International Church of Cannabis founder convicted of public pot smoking
- Why it’s so hard to define where you can legally smoke pot in Colorado
- It’s 420 in Denver, and marijuana is legal
4. Denver has issued licenses two social-use venues where people who are 21 and older can go to smoke. They are Vape & Play, 1753 South Broadway, and The Coffee Joint, 1130 Yuma Court.
5. Finally, if you don’t use all the flower, wax or edibles you bought, leave it in town with a friend. You’re not allowed to take it across state lines.
A lot of people will be smoking marijuana at this weekend's 420 events, but these are the things to consider before lighting up.