The legalization of marijuana in the United States has been, well, a slow burn. Less than 20 years ago, all 50 states had strict laws criminalizing the possession, use, production, and selling of marijuana for any reason. While the medical and recreational use of marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, 11 states and Washington, D.C., have passed laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. However, marijuana users are certainly not confined to legal states. In fact, 1 in 7 Americans used marijuana in 2017, and daily use among adults is on the rise.
So how many people are traveling to states where marijuana is legal, and what does the trip entail? We surveyed over 1,000 people who had traveled to buy recreational marijuana to learn which states are the most popular cannabis destinations, which products people are buying, and whether they risk bringing it home. Keep reading to see what we found.
Legal State of Choice
In 2014, Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana. In June of 2019, the state reached another milestone when it became the first state to surpass $1 billion in total cannabis-related revenue. Colorado’s sales are not only from state residents, however. Over 52% of people named Colorado their marijuana travel destination, making an average of 2.5 trips since legalization. California was the second most popular destination, with nearly one-third of respondents traveling there.
The chosen location and number of trips taken likely depends on the user’s home state. Considering it is illegal to fly with marijuana , traveling to states that require a plane ride to bring some home could be especially risky. In fact, 57.3% of people traveled by car to their marijuana destination, while only 36.5% traveled by plane (although driving it into a state where it is illegal is still a crime). While 67.4% of travelers lived in states where recreational use was illegal, nearly 30% lived in a state where recreational use was legal.
Budding Over Budget
There are many ways to consume marijuana, and while smoking remains the most common form among users, people who traveled bought edibles more than any other product. Sixty-nine percent of people said they purchased edibles, while 57.1% and 38.8% bought marijuana buds or leaves and prewrapped joints, respectively. CBD oil, which has exploded in popularity, was also relatively common, with 22.3% purchasing it during their trip.
Depending on the strain, potency, and form of marijuana, the price can vary drastically. The average price of just 1 gram of marijuana in the U.S. is $14, and while travelers left their home state with a budget in mind, they ended up spending significantly more than they planned. Compared to an average budget of $206, people actually spent an average of $265.
However, taking into account the national average per gram of marijuana, travelers didn’t spend all that much. In most legal states, people can purchase up to an ounce of marijuana – or about 28 grams. Daily users purchased 31 grams, while weekly users purchased 30.6 grams – based on the national average, that much marijuana would cost $434.
More Than Marijuana
Purchasing marijuana is only one cost of a THC trip, though. On top of the $265 spent on cannabis products, lodging, transportation, activities, and food all cost a pretty penny. A trip to purchase recreational marijuana legally cost users an average of $980. While people spent an average of just 4.3 days on their recreational trips, they could take a weeklong exotic vacation for around the same price – or spend nine days at Disneyland.
Visiting a state where marijuana is legal can give users a glimpse into the possible future regarding federal legalization. But for some, buying marijuana that will only be used on that trip may not be enough. Nearly 57% of people brought marijuana products home. Surprisingly, weekly users were more likely to take a stash home – compared to 60.1% of daily users and 60.5% of monthly users, 63.1% of those who used marijuana a few times a week reported bringing products home.
However, people choosing to travel with marijuana took precautions: Nearly 1 in 5 people who bought marijuana products to bring home mailed them to avoid transportation security (although mailing marijuana is still illegal), while only 7.2% of people tried to bring marijuana products home on their flight. For those who chose not to bring marijuana home, 56.8% did so because it was illegal in their home state, while 40.2% said they were scared they would be caught with it.
Traveling with marijuana may be prohibited under federal law, but nothing stops users from taking a trip to a state where recreational use is legal. Colorado was the destination of choice, while edibles were the preferred product. But before you go on a marijuana-filled vacation, you may want to think about a realistic budget and make sure you are keeping within the law.
Aside from all the travel details, be sure to research the products you’re interested in before making any purchases – especially if you’re looking to use marijuana medically. At AmericanMarijuana.org, we want you to have genuine, accurate, and up-to-date information so you can make smart, safe choices when it comes to treating ailments with CBD. From the best overall CBD oil to CBD oil for anxiety, insomnia, and diabetes, our detailed guides will give you all the information you need to make the right purchase. Visit us online today to learn more.
Methodology and Limitations
To collect the data shown above, we surveyed 1,003 respondents who had traveled to another state to use recreational marijuana. Of the respondents, 306 used marijuana daily, 260 used marijuana a few times a week, 220 used marijuana a few times a month, 186 used marijuana a few times a year, and 31 had never used marijuana. The respondent pool was 54.1% male, 45.6% female, and less than 1% choosing another option. The data were calculated to exclude outliers. We did this by finding initial averages and standard deviations for the data. Then, the standard deviation was multiplied by two and added to the initial average. Any data point above the calculated number was then excluded from the data.
Because the survey relies on self-reporting, issues such as telescoping and exaggeration can influence responses. An attention-check question was included in the survey to help make sure respondents did not randomly answer.
Fair Use Statement
Marijuana may not be legal nationwide, but that doesn’t mean users can’t make legal purchases. However, people should take precautions when traveling for marijuana. If you know someone who could benefit from our findings, feel free to share this project with them. The graphics and content are available for noncommercial reuse. All we ask is that you link back to this page so that readers get all the necessary information and our contributors receive proper credit.