Post-pandemic weed tourism. Travel options and marijuana prices across the world

If you’re reading this around the time it was written, there’s a good chance that for the last few months you have been stuck in your country, thanks to the pandemic. Even those of those of us, who don’t necessarily travel a whole lot, felt anxiety over not being able to go anywhere, after the option has been taken away. Now that we’re finally loosening our travel restrictions, it’s only natural to start planning to go somewhere far, and be done with that anxiety once and for all. And what better way to deal with anxiety than to light up a little something, while enjoying the scenery that isn’t your stale backyard? The time for weed tourism is now. But where do you go, when the borders finally open? Let’s take a look at some options, compare cannabis prices around the world, check some legal details, and see what kind of experiences we should expect.

 

Cannabis price index | Average price per gram (September, 2020)

Toronto

Toronto photo

Legal, 19+
Canada might not be the cheapest country for buying marijuana per se, but out of all countries, where weed is legal and easy to get without too much fuss, it offers pretty attractive prices, as well as delivery and pickup options, promotions, membership discounts – everything, that makes your experience much more convenient. A few things to know ahead. Canada has embraced its new laws, which legalize marijuana, very quickly, and currently is one of the most open-minded countries, when it comes to weed consumption. Which means you don’t need a “weed card” to purchase cannabis in Canada. It is still recommended to get a Medical Marijuana Card and keep it with you, if you’re planning to travel within the country, while carrying weed or certain cannabis products. Another thing to note is that the age restrictions are different in various provinces, for example in Alberta you have to be at least 18 years old to buy weed, and in Quebec you have to be at least 21. In Ontario, as well as in the rest of the country, you have to be at least 19. Now that all of that is out of the way, let’s take a look at the prices.

DispensariesAverage price, per gram
1922 Toronto7.50 €
Tokyo Smok7.65 €
The Hunny Pot Cannabis Co8.70 €

Which puts the city’s Euro per gram average at just under 8 €, which is the least expensive marijuana on our list. Now do you feel bad about all those jokes you’ve been making about Canada?

San Francisco, Los Angeles

San Francisco, Los Angeles photo

Legal, 21+
California, as you may know, is generally a weed-friendly place, and the Bay Area has a lot to offer to any marijuana connoisseur. Much like in Toronto, there’s no shortage of delivery and pickup options, various promotions, and memberships as well. If you’re under 21 years old, but above 18, formally you do need to have a California Medical Marijuana Card to buy weed. The card is also required to buy certain medicinal-only products. In all fairness, it’s not too difficult to get one, just spend some time online and do your homework before traveling. Otherwise, adults above 21 can purchase a lot of general recreational products without much fuss.

DispensariesAverage price, per gram
The Apothecarium Dispensary10.6 €
The Green Door13 €
Mission Cannabis Club10.86 €

Going by these prices, the city’s Euro per gram average comes down to around 11.50 €, which doesn’t look too bad, but keep in mind that California’s sales tax will be added to the price. And if you happen to find southern California vibes more to your liking, then you’ll be pleased to know that the average prices around Los Angeles shouldn’t be too much higher.

New York

New York photo

Legal for medicinal use, 21+
Since marijuana in New York is only legal for medicinal use, it’s not exactly right to put it on the weed tourism map. But if we take a look at the number of weed enthusiasts there, it becomes clear that New York with its highest weed consumption in the world technically belongs on the list. Emphasis on the word “technically” – you can’t air-quote enough. Frankly, it’s surprising to see New Yorkers leaving Los Angelinos in the dust in this particular metric, given the legal status of the substance, but then again life can get quite stressful in the Big Apple. Luckily, high demand (pun unashamedly intended) doesn’t bring prices above California, averaging at roughly 45 $ per 3.5 grams, or almost 11 € per gram. Mind the NY sales tax, when buying from medical dispensaries. While it is a bit more difficult to get the medical card in New York, compared to California, getting to know someone who has one is just as easy as anywhere else (hush-hush, wink-wink).

Amsterdam

Amsterdam photo

Legal for recreational use, 18+
Is there anything you don’t know about the OG place of weed tourism? Wait, there is? Well, all you need to know is that Amsterdam has decriminalized cannabis a long time ago, and allows recreational use, so long as it is purchased within the premises of a certified establishment, such as the city’s multitude of coffeeshops. Not to be confused with the regular coffee shops, where people get, you know, coffee. Consumption at home is also perfectly fine – all you need is to be above 18 years of age. Well, and some money, too. While it is possible to find weed for around 10 € or so at certain Amsterdam locations, the general price expectation should be at around 12 € to 14 € per gram, including pre-rolled options. Whether it comes down to the city’s cult status for weed tourism, or simply to its economy, it makes Amsterdam the most expensive place to buy marijuana on our list. Naturally, as a café-style or a bar-like environment of a coffeeshop suggests, you will also find a lot of edible stuff, all sorts of cookies, muffins, chocolate and candies. Whatever snack you can think of, more often than not you will probably find it somewhere in the city. Although, don’t expect to be served alcohol – that’s simply not how the typical coffeeshop model operates. Make sure to look up some helpful guides online before travelling.

Barcelona

Barcelona photo

Illegal with exceptions, 18+
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, chances are that you have heard about the blooming cannabis culture in Spain, with Barcelona being its hot spot, setting the trends for the rest of the country. Albeit carrying and consuming cannabis is illegal in Spain in general sense, there are also regulations in place that allow certified establishments to sell cannabis products, as long as they are consumed inside of said establishments. Which is why cannabis clubs have been getting more and more popular in Barcelona in the recent years. To enjoy the services of a cannabis club, you need to become a member first. Membership will typically cost you anywhere 20 € a year, and it’s quite straightforward to get one. You just need to send a request to the club you like, wait for the response, then complete a brief interview, when you arrive, and you’re all set. Once inside, a gram of good weed will cost you around 10-14 € or so. As opposed to coffeeshops, Barcelona cannabis clubs aren’t open to walk-ins, and target a different kind of experience, where the members are expected to relax, socialize, play quiet games, and generally spend quality time within a private club environment. Keep in mind, that clubs with good reputation would never use street dealers and promoters to invite you – it’s best to ignore such invitations, since they will likely lead you to some sort of a tourist trap, and will never offer high quality weed.

Now dust off that suitcase, and prepare to put a few more pins on the map. Which location is the best for weed tourism? Do you prefer cannabis clubs over traditional coffeeshops? Remember, wherever you decide to go, be mindful and practice social distancing, keep your hands clean, stay safe, and enjoy your weed responsibly.

 

AUTHOR

Arthur Hutchinson

Cannabis culture researcher, journalist and consultant of Cannabis Guide Barcelona

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