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Part 2 in a Series
I grew up in Michigan so I know about dreary winter days, shoveling snow, and dealing with freezing fingers and toes. Fortunately, my grandparents and cousins lived in sunny Southern California which provided a seven-day respite when we visited during the winter break from school. I have many fond memories of happily trading the bitter cold for warm sunshine. For people living in wintery regions, January and February are perfect for traveling to warmer climates. Our first article in our Canna Tourism series explored the current cannabis travel situation in Hawai’i. This article touches on the myriad of Canna Tourism options in the Golden State. California is experiencing a Canna Tourism boomlet providing many options from San Diego to The Emerald Triangle region in Northern California.
Cannabis for Adults in California
California legalized medical cannabis in 1996 and adult-use as of January 2018. Remember, flying with cannabis is illegal under federal law, and the TSA can confiscate it and notify local police. If you’re traveling to California there’s no need to take the risk, as once you land licensed dispensaries throughout the state can readily fulfill your cannabis needs. But even for local residents, finding a dispensary can sometimes be a challenge if you don’t the area. For adults seeking information about cannabis, an excellent solution is to take a tour of the city or neighborhood that you’re visiting. We recommend confirming with the tour operator whether a California cannabis Medical ID Card is required for a specific tour.
Down San Diego Way
There is a vibrant cannabis community in San Diego and several tour operators exist. For starters, West Coast Cannabis Tours promotes “the responsible use of cannabis through canna curated experiences and higher education…by sparking a sophisticated dialogue regarding marijuana and fostering change in society.” Options currently include a Complete Cannabis Experience tour to grow facilities and dispensaries. The company also offers exclusive, VIP Private Tours starting at $1,099.
San Diego Cannabis Tours offers “something for everyone.” Their five-hour Chronic Tour promises luxury transportation via VIP chartered buses, and discount shopping at some of San Diego’s best dispensaries.
MJ Tours combines cannabis with some of the area’s other well-known offerings. Tour options include Buds and Brews (craft breweries) Weed and Wine (wine country), Grow Op (a grow facility), and Wake and Bake (an infused cooking class).
I Love LA
The cannabis community in Los Angeles is vibrant, diverse, and absolutely entertaining. In many ways, it’s becoming a mecca of sorts due to its sheer size, population, and cannabis acceptance. It’s important to know that LA is really a collection of different neighborhoods, ethnicity, languages, and vibes, all wired together with horrible traffic. The hard part is choosing among the many potential experiences available to you during your visit. These include cannabis-themed events which may or may not include cannabis consumption. For patients seeking a California cannabis Medical ID Card, both online and numerous in-person cannabis physician services are available. There are a plethora of medicinal and recreational dispensaries throughout LA, the Valley, and surrounding cities, but do some research as not all legal dispensaries are licensed for adult-use sales. If you want to get the lay of the land, here are a few tour options:
Greenline Trips offers Dispensary Crawls and themed educational events in Venice and Hollywood.
Green Tours provides the 420 Experience, Tommy Chong (of the comedy duo Cheech & Chong), Hollywood Cannabis Tours.
InnDica We love their name and these friends of Three Wells recently launched their company. The site includes cannabis-friendly bookings for the Desert Hot Spring Inn near Palm Springs in the Coachella Valley.
LA Hemp Tours features Los Angeles and Malibu cannabis tours.
Weedology tours include Weedology 101 (for beginners), Dispensary Crawl, MaryJane and Music, Wine and Weed.
Weed Bus LA in addition to its regular tours, Weed Bus LA is currently offering an all-inclusive 420 Vacation Package for April 20, 2019, starting at $200 per person.
The Cities By the Bay
People from around the world travel to Napa Valley, the Russian River Valley, and Sonoma County to tour these exquisite wine regions. Wine culture runs deep, and winery tours exist for any budget and occasion. They’ve been part of California culture for decades, and with Canna Tourism, a similar cultural experience is underway.
San Francisco, Oakland, and the Bay Area enjoy a robust cannabis community. San Francisco itself has a more urban feel than sprawling LA, and some would say it has a more sophisticated appeal. While the weather is not as warm in the winter months as Southern California, snow boots and long underwear are definitely not de rigueur. Bring a warm jacket and comfortable walking shoes though. Like LA, there are many dispensaries in San Francisco, Oakland, and the surrounding areas. Again, if you don’t have a California Medical ID Card, do your dispensary research to ensure they offer adult-use sales.
California Cannabis Tours currently offers tours such as its five-hour Weed and Wine (lounge, wine tasting, and catered lunch) and a two and a half hour Oakland Essential (grow facility and dispensary) that encapsulates Oakland’s distinct vibe.
Emerald County Tours provides an Aging Well with Cannabis tour curated for mature, active adults and retirees who are curious about cannabis and how it may improve their quality of life. Their seven-hour, San Francisco tours include a VIP cannabis shop visit, time in a cannabis lounge, a delicious lunch, and a seasonal point of interest. The company also offers an Introduction to Cannabis tour, and a Private and Custom VIP tour for the areas of Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Sonoma, and Mendocino.
Emerald Farm Tours offers trips to local cultivation facilities as well as manufacturing facilities and retail marijuana businesses. Tours include the Bay Area and Mendocino County with options such as Cannabis Farm Tours, Cannabis-Infused City Cruise™and Seed to Sale. A friend of Three Wells, owner Victor Pinho told us “for mature visitors who may have some level of curiosity for cannabis, but little understanding of where to begin, our tour is the perfect, easy introduction to the plant, it’s benefits, responsible consumption, and methods for ingestion. We take all considerations to ensure our guests feel safe, informed, and comfortable throughout the experience. Our goal is to ensure our guests come away with a positive, healthy experience every time.”
Green Guide Tours: This company is “stopping the stigma through fun, educational experiences.” They offer tours in San Francisco (cannabis history, culture education), Oakland (cannabis science/tech), and North Bay farms (Spring 2019, agriculture education.)
Northern California, The Emerald Triangle
The Northern California region of Humboldt, Mendocino, and Trinity Counties make up what’s known worldwide as the Emerald Triangle. For decades, it holds the reputation of producing some of the best cannabis on the planet. This one day trip is a great introduction behind the scenes of the Emerald Triangle cannabis culture. The tour starts this in historic Eureka, California, then you head into the hills to experience a working outdoor cannabis farm. Local cannabis connoisseurs serve as guides taking you into the heart of cannabis country. They have “the resources, connections and imagination to create an unforgettable visit to the Emerald Triangle.”
Canna Tourism is just beginning and it will be exciting to see this part of the industry mature over time. For those adults looking to escape those winter blues, California provides plenty of cannabis-friendly travel options. Next in our series is Canna Tourism in Nevada.
Have you experienced California Canna Tourism? Did you visit a dispensary, take a cultivation tour, or stay at a cannabis-friendly hotel, short term rental, or B&B? Please share your experience with us on our social channels.
Philip Rebentisch is a writer and the Content Editor for Three Wells. He grew tired of shoveling Midwest snow and moved to Southern California in 1986.