When I chose to move to a recreational state early in the year for my significant other’s job opportunity, I knew things would be different. However, there were a lot of things that I wish someone would have told me. That is why I knew I had to record my experiences to give advice to anyone else that is considering taking this huge leap of faith.
1. Locals are going to blame you for their increased cost of living, and that's okay.
You may hear people that are native to the state call you a “transplant” or even a “hippie”, usually making the assumption that you moved just for the legal marijuana. Whether you did or not doesn’t matter. It will often be the assumption no matter how many times you explain yourself.
Cost of living oftentimes increases with large influxes of new residents, which means rent skyrockets for locals when people begin moving in. Some of those locals may want to blame you for that since you are a transplant. Don’t take it to heart. There are more friendly people than there are rude ones!
2. Offering someone a joint is just as socially acceptable as offering them a drink.
Rarely do I meet someone that does not smoke marijuana. Offering someone something to smoke is just as polite as offering someone a drink, but just like when you offer someone a drink, do not pressure anyone that says they do not partake. It is in bad taste.
3. Social media is not the place to learn about recreational marijuana establishments.
Memes about recreational establishments have been circulating since it was first legalized in the state of Colorado. A lot of them are even disguised as factual sites. Unfortunately, at least half the establishments that they claim you can find have never existed, mostly because of state law regarding marijuana. This includes any kind of 420-friendly movie theater, restaurants featuring edibles, and many of the clubs that they claim are open. In fact, these nonexistent establishments are the butt of many local jokes.
Do your research and look the business up before you plan on trying to visit it! If you can’t find the business’s address and phone number, you’ve probably been duped.
4. Get your state ID right away.
In some states, you are legally allowed to purchase larger quantities of cannabis if you are a resident with a state ID. If you do not get your state ID, you may experience increased price and inability to purchase more than a specific amount. For example, in Colorado, you cannot purchase more than a 1/4 ounce at a time if you do not have a Colorado state ID.
5. You will get tired of cannabis culture and how it is exploited.
Even veteran cannabis enthusiasts will roll their eyes at all the bad 420 merchandise out there. Gift shops are full of ugly baseball caps stamped with poorly-stitched cannabis references, as well as bright green sunglasses in the shape of pot leaves. At first, it seems fun and whimsical, but eventually, you’re going to get sick of all the tourist traps and wonder who is actually buying the junk.
6. Research the town you plan on moving to.
Even though cannabis may be legal in the state, remind yourself that there may not be a cannabis shop in the immediate area and some towns have even made an initiative to make it illegal locally! You may be attracted to cheaper rent, but make sure you check out the town’s cannabis policy before you make any rash decisions.
7. Your friends will try to stay with you...frequently.
If you have any friends that are cannabis enthusiasts, they are likely going to ask to come visit you in your new recreationally-legal home. This may be fun for awhile, but when someone overstays their welcome, do not be afraid to kick them to the curb. Legal pot is enjoyable but if they want to enjoy it long-term, they better be paying their own rent!
8. Don't drive high.
While this one should be common sense, many people do not realize that it is actually an offense in recreational states. It is not easy to enforce, but the police are looking for people driving under the influence and you do not want to be penalized for that kind of thing.
9. Take the time to learn the specifics of marijuana law.
A lot of people do not know what to expect when they move to a recreational state. You may have questions like, “Can I smoke it in public?” or “How much can I legally have on me at a time?” Those are important questions to find out! Valid online sources can lead you in the right direction. Make sure that you find out in your desires area, specifically, since every recreational state has different laws.
10. Have a place to live and a job lined up.
While this should be a given, a lot of people travel to recreational states with no financial resources. Unfortunately, rent is higher in areas where recreational marijuana has been legalized, meaning that you should expect to pay more than you are now, unless you are already living in a city with a high cost of living. While there are usually job prospects, it is better to have one lined up beforehand if possible.
11. Coupons are your best friend.
Many recreational states will offer savings in the form of sales or coupons. Just like you do with groceries, you should always be on the lookout for cannabis sales. You would be surprised how much you can save.
12. A new place can help you find yourself.
While it may seem a bit cliche, it remains to be true. Sometimes, a new location changes your perspective, and whether you are going to a recreational state or elsewhere, travel can be curative for everyone.