420 Travel – Is Smoking Pot the New Disneyland for the Family?
by Vauhini Vara | Travel + Leisure | 420 Travel
In 2014, Colorado and Washington became the first states to allow recreational pot. Oregon and Alaska followed in 2015 and 2016. Danny Schaefer, a young, amiable pothead I had contacted, is a pioneer of the burgeoning weed-tourism scene by virtue of having been in the right place at the right time. Some years ago, one of Danny’s buddies from high school, a kid named JJ, opened one of the first weed dispensaries in Colorado. There was no such thing as pot tourism at the time, and, after a while, JJ had an idea to take tourists around some local dispensaries, grow houses, and so on, to help newcomers navigate what might otherwise seem like an impenetrable scene. He started a tourism business called My 420 Tours. Danny became his chief executive officer and one of his most trusted tour guides. “I don’t care what you’re here for,” Danny told us when we climbed into a Ford Excursion stretch limo the morning after Thanksgiving. “I hold no judgment. We’re here”—he and his brother, Joe, who had also come along—“for your purposes.” He asked how many people planned to consume cannabis, and all but one hand went up. The missing hand was mine, because I’m breastfeeding, and I didn’t want Danny to judge. “I have some quick waivers for you to sign,” he continued. “Basically, if you have too much fun, we’re not liable.”
…Our first stop was a dispensary called Mindful. It recalled the inside of an Apple store—the whiteness of the walls; the uniformed, evangelistic employees; the well-organized arrangement of products. A young “budtender” named Colby launched into a somewhat confusing lesson. There were acronyms with numbers attached to them—THC levels, CBD levels—which were supposed to tell you how high you’d get and how much pain relief you’d get; there was talk of indica and sativa and flowers and buds and edibles and concentrates and shatter and wax and topicals and tinctures and strains and landraces. Colby held out what looked like an adorable little pot of lip gloss—live resin, he explained. “You eat it?” my mom said, perplexed. “Did you say chocolate earlier?” Susan said. No, you didn’t eat it, and, yes, he’d said chocolate. Here was a familiar term, and everyone latched onto it. Soon, Fred and Susan had chosen a chocolate bar, and Doug was getting a chocolate-chip cookie, and my mom was buying a cylinder of pot-infused Tootsie Roll knockoffs…