Most potheads run into this dilemma at some point in their lives: Take the weed on the road or leave it behind? The answer isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s relatively safe to travel with marijuana, while it’s a dangerous proposition on other occasions.
To help you make this difficult choice, here are five travel tips for stoners. Bon voyage!
1. Obey traffic laws
Driving is almost always the most secure way to carry weed long distance. It’s easier to hide the pot and it’s easier to slip past law enforcement undetected.
But be sure to drive safely – and obey the law. The easiest way to get yourself busted on the freeway is to speed, change lanes without signaling, or tailgate.
Police are trained to pull you over only if they see you break traffic laws or drive suspiciously. That doesn’t mean they won’t invent a reason to stop you and search your car, but you’ll have a stronger case if you don’t break the rules of the road.
2. Don’t fly
Car, bus and train are the best ways to travel if you’re carrying dope. Amtrak is owned by the government, which increases the odds you’ll get caught, but it’s still much safer than flying.
For a while, TSA agents in Colorado and Washington let passengers carry weed with them as long as they were flying to a place where it’s legal. That leniency is gone now, and it’s regular practice to call local police when passengers try to bring pot through security.
Security is much less pervasive on trains, buses and freeways. No matter how you travel, anything can happen, but taking weed to an airport is just asking for trouble.
3. Be inconspicuous
You should obviously try to avoid unwanted attention when traveling with cannabis. That means making yourself inconspicuous everywhere you go in public.
Try not to look too much like a stoner, at least if you’re in a place where marijuana law is tough. Trim your facial hair; cover up your stoner 420 tattoos; take a coat that doesn’t smell like reefer. Do whatever you reasonably can to avoid prying eyes.
Sometimes this means you just have to keep your cool. If you get pulled over, a nervous twitch could get you searched.
4. Get to know the locals
If you can’t bring your weed with you, you’ll have to find it there. That’s a lot easier to do if you can find some of the area’s stoners and get to know them.
Most tourist hotspots have at least a few local pot dealers. They typically hang around at popular nightclubs and, in tropical regions, at the beach.
But it’s easy to get screwed if you’re a stranger in away from home. Start by looking for stoners. The easiest approach is to look for someone just like you and then spend a while getting to know them.
5. Avoid Colorado and Washington borders
It’s common practice now for police in Nebraska, Oklahoma, Kansas and other states bordering Colorado to stop out-of-state drivers coming from Colorado on the assumption they’re carrying weed.
Some motorists have complained that cops stopped them without legal grounds and searched their cars without consent or warrant. The deeply Republican states around Colorado are reacting aggressively to legalization there, and hapless drivers could easily get snared.
We wouldn’t encourage anyone to smuggle weed – getting rid of that element is one of the best arguments for legalization. But sometimes you may have to cross state lines with weed in your car. Try not to do this anywhere near Colorado or Washington State, where pot is also legal.