By Luke Sholl


Many of us are experiencing a bit of "wanderlust", especially as travel has been so heavily restricted recently. The urge to see new things, meet new people, and relax is stronger than ever. If you enjoy doing these things while getting high, you are in luck. The market for weed holidays is expanding. There are so many places you can go, and many things you can do. Check out our guide on the top stoner holidays, destinations, and events.

The Rise of Weed Tourism

Although it’s an industry that didn’t even exist several years ago, today, weed tourism is booming. Taking on various iterations, cannabis tourism encompasses festivals, competitions, rallies, and plain old vacations.

  • 420 Festivals

Cannabis gatherings and festivals are growing in popularity. These events make for the best weed-friendly vacations, as they provide a safe environment to relax and enjoy good food, music, arts, discussion, and weed. There are all types of shows running throughout the year across Europe and further afield in weed-friendly countries like the USA, Canada, Mexico, and Jamaica.

- Cups and Comps

The Emerald Cup is the world's largest organic and sun-grown cannabis competition. Held in Santa Rosa, California, it unites all corners of the cannabis industry every spring. This includes educators, cultivators, entrepreneurs, retailers, and connoisseurs. This well-established event always delivers many activities to enrich the body and mind.

- On an Activist Tip

Fancy a weed vacation that will make a difference? Hempfest Seattle is in its 30th year; the show's motto is "freedom first and the cannabis plant second". Hempfest successfully combines a political rally and protest of the criminalisation and imprisonment of cannabis users with a festival atmosphere. It features exhibits and speeches from cannabis experts in all fields, in addition to some great live music, entertainers, and tasty street food.

- Luxury Beach Vibes

Are you looking for the dream "vacay" with weed benefits? All the luxuries of a 420-friendly all-inclusive resort with beach parties? Then "The Bright Side Festival" in Runaway Bay, Jamaica, is right up your street! Head to this exclusive tropical getaway that delivers four nights of shows as the Caribbean sea laps at your feet. The resort also makes the most of its reputation as a 420-friendly Caribbean destination. They offer Bob Marley tours and island excursions to places of interest to the weed connoisseur.

- The Big One — Spannabis

You can't go wrong with Spannabis for an all-rounder. This juggernaut of a show is in its 18th year. Held every March in Barcelona, Spain, over 300 exhibitors, a professional growers cup competition, awards for "best in class" products, music, art, food, and SUN make this one of the best weed vacations! Spannabis also buddies up with the "World Cannabis Conference" to bring exciting news from the spheres of science, medicine, and politics.

The Big One — Spannabis
  • Bud 'n' Breakfast

What if you simply want to enjoy cannabis while you relax at a bed and breakfast? Luckily, Bud and Breakfast exists for those in search of weed-friendly accommodations. When kicking back on your holiday, you don't want to kill the buzz by having to hang out the window while you smoke. Think of it as AirBnB for stoners!

The tourism industry is starting to recognise that they need to stay competitive by embracing 420 travel. As such, the site has host locations across the US and Canada, Jamaica, Holland, Spain, and Uruguay. Hosts have control, and can set rules about when and where smoking is allowed.

  • You Don't Have a Free Pass

Although regulations have been loosened, the possession and consumption of cannabis still comes with conditions. When travelling, be mindful of local laws. The best way to travel with weed is to be respectful and responsible. Some countries still have stringent rules on the consumption of alcohol, let alone cannabis. Take things for granted, and you could end up in real trouble.

Top 12 Cannabis-Friendly Countries to Visit

With this in mind, here is a list of the best countries for stoners, and the best 420 vacations within them. This is alongside the culture, fun, entertainment, and relaxation you can expect from any holiday.

USA

Cannabis tourism is on the rise in the US. However, navigating the rules is not straightforward, as every state sets its own regulations. In short, always check the state laws for yourself before booking anything.

Colorado Home of the Rockies and all the snow sports you could ask for, this is already a great holiday destination. You must be 21 or over to purchase weed. Not all dispensaries sell recreational cannabis. Consumption is allowed on private property only, but there are several licensed consumption lounges for tourists.
California How do you sum up California? The list goes on: Hollywood, Rodeo Drive, Malibu, the Golden Gate Bridge, and Coachella. All this, and it's the centre of the US legal cannabis market. You must be over 21 to purchase cannabis, and you can only consume it on private property. It is also illegal to cross state borders with cannabis, even if the state you are going to also allows consumption.
Alaska Alaska is the destination for the more adventurous stoners. You will be treated to the Northern Lights, the wildlife, and the wild itself. Cannabis is legal for those over the age of 21. It must be consumed in private and bought from a licensed dispensary. There are plenty of weed-friendly B&Bs in Alaska, some of which even serve "infused" breakfasts.

Canada

Canada is home to lively cities full of culture and natural marvels. Western Canada is home to the Rocky Mountains, the Okanagan Valley, Vancouver, Victoria, and Calgary. In Central Canada, you have Niagara Falls, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Québec City. Recreational cannabis is legal throughout Canada, and depending on the region, the legal age to buy is between 18–21.

Travelling with weed in Canada is easy as you can take your weed on domestic flights. The major cities have a pretty tolerant approach. You can carry up to a whopping 30g on you in flower. However, there are still rules to follow. Cannabis must be consumed in private and bought from a licensed dispensary.

The Netherlands

The OG of weed-friendly holidays. However, did you know that cannabis is not legal in the Netherlands? It is only decriminalised. This means that consuming it is "tolerated". You can buy and smoke up to 5 grams of weed in a coffeeshop. Unless you are a public nuisance or smoking in a prohibited area, there is nothing to worry about.

Amsterdam is not the only place with coffeeshops, however. Rotterdam, Leiden, Maastricht, and Breda are all full of rich history, culture, and coffeeshops.

The Netherlands

Spain

Similarly to the Netherlands, cannabis is only decriminalised in Spain. Smoking in private spaces is allowed, but buying cannabis on the streets is not. A members-only, private cannabis club is where you can buy and enjoy weed.

Clubs are indoors, but there are many things to enjoy outdoors in Spain, particularly in Barcelona. You have the Sagrada Familia, the beach, the weather, the food, the brilliant shopping, the Picasso museum and the Gaudí House Museum.

Georgia

This country has lots to offer the traveller who wants to go somewhere less obvious. The capital city of Tbilisi, situated on the banks of the river Mtkvari, boasts both ancient and modern features. It is awash with culture in the form of concert halls, theatres, authentic dining, and heaps of history.

Georgia was the first post-communist state to legalize cannabis, although it is still illegal to consume it in public. Tourists are urged to be very cautious, as they can be easy targets for the police. Legal dispensaries only sell to medicinal users with a prescription. You will have to rely on "bumping into" a dealer for recreational use. The street weed is quite reasonably priced but often of poor quality.

Denmark

Modern, stylish cities with tons to do. The four big cities are small enough to explore fully by bike or hike. Copenhagen, Aarhus, Odense, and Aalborg all benefit from being surrounded by beautiful natural landscapes, including beaches, forests, and national parks. Many places of interest can also give you an insight into the country's Viking heritage. Denmark's cannabis laws leave lots of room for interpretation. While personal use is not illegal, possession is. This means that technically you can use weed, but you will be prosecuted if caught.

Getting caught with small amounts of weed will equate to a warning or a small fine. However, the sale and use of cannabis are unofficially tolerated in Copenhagen's neighbourhood of Freetown Christiania. Located in the centre of Copenhagen, it is famous for its chill vibes and cannabis culture. Take care, though, as it is not considered a safe place to visit, especially after dark. This is because gangs and drug traffickers have become more prominent in recent years.

Australia

Australia is a destination on most people's bucket lists. You have the Outback, aboriginal heritage, farming, ranches, and Ayers Rock in the north. You have the Great Barrier Reef, the Gold Coast, Sydney, and the famous Opera House on the east coast. Cannabis use and possession are illegal at all levels across the country. It is also unlawful to own items involved in the ingestion of cannabis, such as bongs and dab rigs.

There is one exception; the village of Nimbin in North New South Wales. Infamous as a "hippie" village where weed is openly smoked, village stores cash in on the image, selling all types of paraphernalia and promoting the history of the colourful town. Weed is not legal in Nimbin. Still, there is tolerance toward it by local law enforcement. It is not hard to find weed in Nimbin; people will openly offer it to you. If you indulge, do so discreetly as you still run the, albeit reduced, risk of being stopped by police once you have left.

Australia

Uruguay

Uruguay is one of the safest countries to visit in South America. 60% of the country's income comes from tourism. The three most popular places to visit are the capital city of Montevideo, Colonia del Sacramento, a popular day-trip destination near Buenos Aires, and the most exclusive resort in South America, "Punta del Este".

Uruguay was the first country to legalize recreational cannabis back in 2013. However, tourists cannot buy weed. You need to be an Uruguayan resident to qualify. However, if a resident offers you some of their weed, that is okay. It is the "selling" bit that is illegal. Over 18s can smoke weed anywhere that is not an enclosed public space. For example, you can smoke at the tables outside a bar, but not inside the bar.

Chile

Popular with nature lovers and adventure seekers, this South American country has everything: the Andes mountains, beaches that go on forever, rich green forests, and incredible volcanoes. You can trek, bike, climb, horse-ride, or find other adventures. The Capital City, Santiago, is full of art museums and delicious food. There is also Easter Island, home of the famous stone "moai".

Chile is one of the biggest weed consumers in South America. The law states that you can consume it privately at home, but you cannot buy, grow, or sell it. There is, however, a significant degree of tolerance in Chile, and it is common to see people smoking in public. Given the contradictory legal framework, keeping your consumption as discreet as possible is still advisable. Possession of a small amount can land you with a fine at best if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Costa Rica

Similarly confusing and vague are the Costa Rican weed laws. Costa Rica is a Central American country, 25% of which is rainforest. Costa Rica is famous for its beaches, volcanoes, exotic plants, and wildlife. San Jose, the capital city, is a great place to visit. Costa Rican law dictates that it is illegal to sell and cultivate weed on a “big” scale or to carry more than a “small” amount. However, what “big” and “small” quantify is unclear.

The general interpretation of the law is that it is okay to possess or use small amounts of weed in a private residence. You should not take it for granted that consuming weed is without consequence. If caught with 1–8 grams, you will have it confiscated, and will be arrested if you carry more. It depends on which policeman you bump into and what mood he is in. The vagueness in the law allows them to hand out much harsher penalties if they so choose. The bottom line is to be very cautious and very discreet.

Germany

Berlin is a very modern, hip, free-thinking, tolerant capital city. You can expect all the progressive art, entertainment, and dining attractions that you would see in London or New York. Plus, you have a long list of historical sites of importance that you can visit. This includes the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, and the Berlin Wall Memorial.

Germany is currently on the cusp of legalizing recreational cannabis. Despite this, the current status is already one of tolerance. Possessing 10 grams or less for personal use in Berlin is generally overlooked. Law enforcement is relaxed about smoking in public. This is as long as you are not creating a scene, making a nuisance of yourself, or infringing on anyone else's rights.

Common sense prevails here. Stick to discreet or very open places where your smoking will not bother anyone else. As it is not officially legal, there are no dispensaries, so you will have to ask around bars or parks to get some. This should not prove too difficult.

Germany

Austria

Vienna is the capital city of Austria and one of the most visited cities in Europe. Vienna has its gorgeous location on the banks of the River Danube to thank for its allure and decadent history. Vienna is home to superb museums and exquisite concert halls, including one of the greatest opera houses in the world. Despite its esteemed history and fabulous architecture, Vienna still has the cosmopolitan vibe of a modern city with all the trimmings.

Possession of small amounts of cannabis for personal use was decriminalised in Austria in 2016. Much like Berlin, Vienna police make no special efforts to arrest cannabis users unless you are making a scene or causing other trouble. Austrian citizens can grow a small number of cannabis plants for recreational use (considered to be up to 20 grams). In contrast, the sale and supply of cannabis remain outlawed.

First-time cannabis offences will often result in no charge. Following that, however, penalties can range from a fine to six months imprisonment depending on the amount in possession. Again, common sense is key here. Weed is generally tolerated in the city, especially in the nightlife scene. Much like Berlin, you will have to find a local who can point you in the direction of where to get some. Be respectful and do not flaunt your use, and you should not have any problems.

The Future of 420-Friendly Travel

This is by no means an exhaustive list of weed-friendly destinations. Many destinations are ushering in a more tolerant approach to cannabis, and are likely to explode as weed tourism hotspots. These include Jamaica, Portugal, Estonia, Mexico, Belize, and even South Africa. However, South Africa can be risky, as out-of-sight consumption is all that is allowed. If you are caught, the penalties can be very harsh.

As mentioned previously, the best course of action to take is one of caution. Do your research and be respectful. If you follow this golden rule, you are guaranteed a great time wherever you choose to go.

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