Tourists who want to sample the Pacific Northwest’s craft culture can now partake of locally sourced beer, wine, spirits, and cannabis. As Kevin Coombs, owner of the luxury transportation companies VIP PDX and Double Decker PDX, observes, “Only in Oregon will you find a dispensary next to a brew pub next to a wine tasting room.”

Currently, any adult 21+ with a valid government issued ID can now purchase recreational cannabis in Oregon and Washington State. While any adult can easily purchase craft beer, wine and spirits, the laws pertaining to purchasing and using recreational cannabis continue to be works in progress.

Hiring a tour guide can prove to be beneficial to help tourists delve into the nuances of any given city’s cannabis culture. For example, Pedal Bike Tours offers a three-hour Pot Tour of Portland, Oregon that introduces participants to two dispensaries, two head shops, and one or two places guaranteed to satisfy the munchies. Also Kush Tourism’s website features information about cannabis themed tours and cannabis friendly lodging.

Custom glass blowing Recreational Cannabis in the Pacific Northwest

Custom glass blowing

So far, cannabis smoking lounges are not legal in Seattle and establishing such lounges in Portland has proven not be feasible long-term due to the recent passage of local clean air legislation. Hence, one cannot legally partake of cannabis in public nor can they transport their purchases across state lines. (Some stoner websites offer advice on how to travel with weed but one does so at their own risk).

James R. Lathrop, DNP ARNP, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Owner, Cannabis City, Seattle’s first Cannabis shop, suggests one can consume edibles or use a vape pen as both means of consumption are very discrete and don’t typically smell of marijuana.” In particular, disposable vape pens can work very well as one can enjoy cannabis without buying additional equipment. He adds, “You are probably not going to get into trouble unless you really are being a nuisance to police or to other local businesses. Out of respect, do not light up near the licensed retailer where you purchased your fine weed. They are all trying to keep their public image clean and want to be respectful of their own business neighbors.”

Cannabliss Dispensary

Cannabliss Dispensary

For those who have not consumed cannabis with the possible exception of their college daze, Samantha Montanaro, owner/operator of Prism House PDX, a private residential space for creating unique and transformational experiences, suggests choosing a strain that will facilitate a fun and social time. “Hybrids like Jilly Bean and Cinex are great strains for being social, creative and peppy. Indicas are great too, but can make you couch-ridden, sleepy and hungry for everything, while Sativas can make one feel anxious.”

Lanthrop offers this for novice users wishing to try legalized recreational cannabis. “Look for a lower THC content, as the typical strains are really quite strong. Also, ask for strains with a significant CBD content (pronounced “C-B-D” or “Canna-bi-diol”). It just so happens that CBD also has the nice property of dampening the THC ‘high’ and in particular minimizing the potential side effects of anxiety.”

Sky High Gardens Recreational Cannabis in the Pacific Northwest

Sky High Gardens

As Alison Draisin, CEO, Ettalew’s Edibles, notes, new users should start with small portions of cannabis albeit in the form of edibles, hash oil or smoked/vaped cannabis flowers. She adds, “You can always add more until you reach the desired effect.”

Also, Draisin offers these pointers for those who get too high. “A few important items to keep handy include citrus drinks such as OJ, lemonade, or grapefruit juice, as well as pistachio or pine nuts. These easy to find food items help to mitigate the psychoactive effects of the THC cannabinoid. Another option is to keep a high CBD tincture or hash oil available and that will also mitigate the effects of the THC.”

In addition, she points to the need for one to seek out products free from additives and chemicals, a problem one finds especially with disposable vape pens. “Those who want to try the popular hash oil cartridges always ask for additive free or pure. Additives may have health effects that have not been fully studied Also, people are cutting the oil so much on the recreational market that they are paying a high price for barely any real hash oil.”

Recreational Cannabis in the Pacific Northwest

Sky High Gardens

Prior to booking any cannabis themed vacation, be sure to download the Leafly app available for iPhone and Android. This app can help one select the right cannabis products geared for one’s interests and then find those dispensaries within a given geographical area that carry these particular items. Also sure to log on to NORML’s website and review their comprehensive state-by-state guide featuring the latest laws and regulations pertaining to recreational cannabis.