Disclaimer: Neither CentSai nor the writer promotes or encourages substance abuse. At CentSai, we’re committed to talking about money — even the taboo stuff. Still, it’s up to you to be responsible.
I live in Colorado, one of the seven states in the U.S. that have “legalized” recreational pot for adult citizens. And many non-Coloradans are coming our way to take pot vacations. But indulging in your favorite vice may have hidden costs.
There are two distinct types of Colorado pot vacations. The first is the standard road trip. The second is a bit more . . . high-end (ahem) and tends to be a lot more expensive.
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If you opt to drive over to the nearest state that sells cannabis, you need to consider costs like gas, food, accommodation, entertainment, and — of course — the pot.
The high-end pot vacationers fly in to enjoy a “special time.” These folks are attracted to the novelty of a Colorado pot vacation, but may not have considered the additional expenses, even if they can afford it. Here are a few expenses that you should keep in mind:
- The pot itself
The majority of cannabis-friendly states are located in the western part of the U.S., with the exception of Massachusetts and (until recently) Maine — two states that voted yes to legalize recreational pot use during the 2016 election. Unless you have access to frequent flier mileage points or are traveling during a time of year that has great airfare deals, your tickets can get expensive.
The state may be friendly overall, but not every establishment is. You must find accommodations that welcome users, which often costs a little more.
In the state of Colorado, pot users aren't allowed to smoke in public. But of course, they have to smoke somewhere.
This probably means in their hotel rooms. And you can’t smoke regular cigarettes in hotels, either.
No idea how to find cannabis-friendly hotels? Check out the Colorado Pot Guide. Hotel rooms start at $129 a night, according to their site. So if you're enjoying a five-day vacation, accommodations for a Colorado pot vacation may end up costing you $645 or more.
Pot-related events are gaining momentum these days. There are high-end dinners with either cannabis cookies or other dessert edibles. Not cheap. There are tours of cannabis grow houses, pot yoga, and any number of other entertainment-related ideas that seem to pair well with pot.
You may find that you eat more than usual on a Colorado pot vacation. The munchies thing is real. Add a little extra to your food budget.
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5. The Pot Itself
The Colorado Pot Guide took an informal poll in the spring to get a feel for the range in prices for a gram of pot. Recreational retailers averaged about $6.92 per gram. Depending on the number of people you’re with or the amount you choose to enjoy, this could easily end up becoming a very expensive trip.
Other Issues to be Aware of on a Colorado Pot Vacation
First, the federal government considers marijuana to be a Schedule I drug. What exactly does that mean? In short, a Schedule I drug will get you a felony arrest if you're in a state where it's illegal. It’s your responsibility to know the law. Do your research.
Second, law enforcement is focused on vehicles leaving states with legal weed. Do not under any circumstance try to transport pot from a state that has legalized it to one that hasn’t. This is illegal and is considered trafficking. If you have the misfortune of being pulled over for a “traffic check,” you will be arrested.
And lastly, even in states that have passed legislation to legalize pot, don't forget that most employers may have the authority to fire you for activity outside of work. This regulation is why people who tweet stupid things get fired. If you get drug tested after your wonderfully high Colorado pot vacation, you could lose your job.
Ultimately, you’re an adult, so it's your choice. But pot vacations aren’t cheap. While they may be super tempting to consider, don’t go broke for a toke.