Cannabis,  GUIDES

How to Buy Cannabis in a Recreational State

As of July 1, 2018, when Vermont officially joined the fold, there are currently nine states and the District of Columbia where recreational cannabis is legalized. Though still illegal on a federal level, these states have lifted bans on recreational cannabis.

Travelers and tourists are welcomed to recreational states and some recreational states have a burgeoning “cannatourism” industry. However, before bounding off to your nearest recreational state, you need to know a few things about buying.  

General Guidelines About Buying Cannabis

Bring Cash

You have to use cash. After all, cannabis is still illegal as far as Uncle Sam is concerned. This means that many dispensaries are cash-only businesses. This is because many banks will not do business with these dispensaries, so credit card or debit card purchases are not available. Some dispensaries may have an ATM machine in the lobby or in the front of the store, but not all will. 

Talk to the Budtender

If you’re completely new to cannabis, it’s best to let the budtender know this. If you’re a seasoned consumer, they can make recommendations based on your wants or needs. From pain relief to insomnia to anxiety, they can make a recommendation. Let them know if you want to try out a vape pen or another portable vaporizer. 

Where to Buy in Recreational States

Use the and the Leafly websites to locate dispensaries. They’re generally not listed on state-run tourism sites. Also, it is illegal to transport cannabis across state lines, even from two legalized states such as California and Nevada. It is also illegal to transport cannabis on a commercial airline. 


All recreational states require that you be 21 and have a valid ID to purchase any cannabis products. 

Now, onto the specifics.


You can carry up to an ounce, but keep in mind, smoking marijuana in public is punishable by up to a $100 fine. No hotels or cruise lines allow smoking on their premises or ships. You basically have to be on private property with permission. 


In California, residents and tourists are restricted to buying one ounce per day. While in a vehicle, the container the cannabis is in must remain sealed. Like with other states, consumption is generally meant to be done in private, though some people do smoke in public.  


Those with a Colorado driver’s license can purchase up to 1 ounce, those with an out-of-state license are limited to 7 grams. However, Colorado has one of the largest cannatourism industries out there, and many hotels are now catering to allowing tourists to smoke on premises. 


Maine hasn’t yet sorted out how to regulate and tax recreational dispensaries. So, there aren’t currently any recreational dispensaries open. However, the latest bill to regulate this passed the state house and senate with a veto-proof majority, so recreational facilities may begin popping up as early as next year. 


Like Maine, there currently are no retail recreational dispensaries available in Massachusetts. Although it became legal for recreational dispensaries to open on July 1st, the Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) – the body that regulates Cannabis in the state have not yet issued any licenses. 


You can carry up to an ounce of flower or up to an eighth of an ounce of flower concentrate. However, there are not an abundance of places to smoke it. Hotels generally ban the substance because they can risk their gaming license by allowing it. 


The limits as to what can be carried are eight ounces of marijuana flower. People are limited to purchasing 5 grams of concentrate intended for inhalation. There are some places that allow you to smoke inside, but these are classified as speakeasies and aren’t openly advertised. 

This is by no means an exhaustive list of each state’s recreational marijuana laws. Before traveling, be sure to know the specific laws governing the purchase, carrying, and ingestion of cannabis. 

Happy traveling!


Michael is a writer and content marketing strategist with 10+ years of experience currently enjoying his work at GotVape. His idea is to break some of the stereotypes people have towards health providing educational pieces. He is constantly writing trying to combine it with an active lifestyle. He gets motivation by doing things he always assumed he can’t do but secretly wanted to try. Work hard, challenge yourself, stay focused, take a rest, and surround yourself with good people – this is the path to a balanced life.

David Bien S is a publisher and writer specialising in indoor, outdoor, and greenhouse cultivation of medical cannabis.

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