By: Tom Gaffey
Camping is a wildly popular fair weather activity throughout the country. It is a perfect excuse to get your family and friends together for some time with nature. When you’re in the woods, or camped on the beach, it is easy to let all your anxieties and professional stresses evaporate into the clean air.
While releasing stress is one of the many great benefits of camping, it is important to remember there are still rules and laws you must follow while camping. This is particularly true if you bring some marijuana along with you on your camping trip.
Camping can be the perfect setting to enjoy some great bud, but it is important you go into your trip prepared with tools and knowledge to ensure a smooth and elevated excursion. Here are some basic facts and tips to live by when camping with marijuana this year.
Know The Laws For National Parks Vs. State Parks Vs. Private Camps
It might seem like anything goes when you are in the vast nothingness of a place like Glacier or Badlands National Park, but in fact, alcohol is strictly forbidden. Because national parks are federal land, federal laws apply. That means marijuana is still a schedule 1 substance. The exact verbiage, according to the National Park Service is, “Possession or use of marijuana inside a National Park Service unit (parks, preserves, rivers and monuments) is prohibited.”
When it comes to state parks, things can be more complicated. A reporter with SF Gate struggled for days to find any official who could offer any sort of “policy” for California State Parks, stating that, “The legalization of recreational marijuana in many states is still so new, and regulations surrounding it can still be complex and unclear.” In other words, if your state recently legalized marijuana, then state parks may not even have up-to-date policy on cannabis usage.
A good rule of thumb, however, is if your state bans cannabis use in public places, it is safe to say you cannot use it in a state park. Additionally, some states ban all smoking, tobacco and cannabis. According to the California Department of Parks and Recreation, “Smoking is not permitted in State Parks, except on paved roadways or parking facilities. On January 1, 2020, the law associated with Senate Bill 8 went into effect.” The main reason for these no smoking laws often has to do with wildfire risk, so it is important you abide by them. If you are trying to get high in parks with no smoking policies, pack your edibles.
Private campgrounds have the right to create their own policies, as long as they abide by laws and do not prohibit any fundamental rights. Therefore, if marijuana is legal in the state where you are camping, your private campground can either prohibit or allow marijuana use. In some cases, in fact, they might even promote marijuana use.
Find Cannabis Friendly Accommodations
In the last few years, many private lodges and accommodations have capitalized on the weed market by marketing themselves as cannabis friendly. There are all sorts of cannabis friendly lodges and campgrounds. Also, as we have previously reported, there are all sorts of “Bud and Breakfasts” sprinkled all over the country near some of your favorite wilderness spots. Now you can even find explicitly cannabis friendly campgrounds in most states where it is legal.
Be Respectful Of Your Neighbors
Remember that just because weed is legal, it does not mean everyone at the campground wants to get contact high. Read the room, or in this case, read the wilderness. Be mindful of the direction of the wind and station yourself accordingly. If you are around families, use common sense. Remember edibles and vaporizers won’t leave the surroundings smelling like skunk. After all, once you have made sure you are in the legal clear, and aren’t upsetting your neighbors, you are free to enjoy all the joys that the great outdoors mixed with cannabis has to offer.