The cannabis industry has much in store for you here in the land of the good ‘ole Rocky Mountains. With sales hitting nearly $1.75 billion in 2019 alone, Colorado is home to the nation’s longest-established recreational cannabis industry – and it aims to please. As the first state to legalize, Colorado is a destination for cannabis tourism.

If you’re new to cannabis and preparing to visit your very first pot shop or perhaps on a road trip to check out Colorado legalized recreational scene, it can feel overwhelming given all the options of where to shop, how to shop, what to buy, and where you can/can’t consume. But have no fear, we’ve put together a helpful guide for you to navigate with ease.

How to Find a Dispensary & Your Perfect Cannabis Product

Two websites you’ll want to bookmark are and – these are the best store and product locators, plus they offer a plethora of information on all things cannabis such as strain information, news, and deals. If you plan to navigate around on your own, they will be your best friends!

Unless you have a medical marijuana card, you’ll want to stay clear of anything labeled MEDICAL or MED, and instead look only for options that are labeled RECREATIONAL or REC. Some stores like the famous Native Roots dispensaries have both MED and REC options and are labeled as such.

A shot of incredibles Boulder Bar, the best-selling cannabis chocolate in Colorado. We recommend trying this product in our Guide To Cannabis Tourism in Colorado.

If you’d like some extra support, cannabis tours are where it’s at! My 420 Tours offers guided tours of shops and even grow operations, where you can have an insider look at how cannabis is grown. Need help finding 420-friendly accommodations or transportation? They can help with that too. While you’re at it, check out some other fun cannabis tourism activities such as Puff, Pass, and Paint or Kush & Canvases to socialize with other cannabis lovers while bringing out your artistic side. (Note: COVID-19 may have affected some operations)

The primary categories of cannabis products are edibles, flower, vape, concentrates, and topicals. There are plenty of options within each of these categories, so it’s helpful to get clear on what product categories you’re most interested in:

• Looking for some energy and knee pain relief while trekking up a 14er? Edibles formulated with caffeine and/or energizing herbs are a great option, as well as topicals for acute pain relief.

• Are you looking to taste various flower strains? You can purchase high-quality bud from a gram up to as much as an ounce. Pre-rolls are joints ready to be smoked, which you can buy individually or in packs. Just know that the potency of flower these days is A LOT stronger than it used to be.

A macro shot of Clear Creek Extracts live resin, made in Evergreen, Colorado

• Is a dabbing experience what you’re after? Concentrates will be your focus. This form of cannabis is the most potent available. You’ll need a dab rig or dab pen, and some stores carry these accessories for you to purchase.

• Perhaps you’re looking for something discreet and long-lasting to consume during a convention or a week-long seminar series? Edibles are an ideal choice. You can find all sorts of varieties from drinks to snacks, traditional onset to fast-acting, zero-calorie to full on sugar and fat…the sky’s the limit here!

What To Expect At a Dispensary

When you arrive to a dispensary, you’ll be greeted by either a security guard or front desk representative who will check your ID upon entry, so have it ready and keep it handy until you finish your purchase. (See this list of acceptable forms of ID). Be prepared to wait - there’s a limited number of people who can be inside the retail space at one time. If anyone in your party is under 21, they’ll have to remain outside the store. If you are part of a cannabis tourism group, they will give you details as well.

After checking in, you’ll be guided to shop one-on-one with a budtender to help you find the perfect products. Don’t be afraid to ask questions… that’s what they’re there for. If you’ve never consumed or haven’t consumed since high school, there are a lot of terms that will sound foreign to you, and budtenders are your best resource in the moment, so leverage their help! If you’ve done your research ahead of time, let them know what you’re looking for. If you have no idea what you want, be sure to tell
them how you’d like to feel, what your experience level is like, and ask for an overview of their offerings.

Most stores are cash-only, so bring cash or a debit card as most stores also have an ATM onsite. You can purchase up to one ounce of cannabis or equivalencies per day. The dispensary won’t record your name or divulge it to the government; however, staff are trained to watch for repeat customers who attempt to purchase more than the legal limit in one day.

And know that it’s good etiquette to tip your budtender, especially if they spent a decent amount of time with you. Here’s some tipping insight for you to consider.

What You Need to Know About Legal Consumption

Just because you can walk into a store to buy weed doesn’t mean you can consume it anywhere. At this point in time, unfortunately, the restrictions on where you can and cannot legally smoke marijuana are vast. Smoking in public or in your car are big universal no-no’s! Your best bet is a private home, yet if
you don’t have that luxury there are some 420-friendly hotels and members-only cannabis clubs
throughout the state where you can pay for daily memberships.

A man holds a lit lighter up near the end of a cannabis joint.

Each city has its own rules, so it’s helpful to know what to expect depending on where you’re aiming to go. For example, Colorado Springs is medical-only, so unless you have a medical card, you won’t be able to purchase from any pot shops in that town. There are also resources like cannabis tourism websites and activities to turn it into a full cannabis tourism experience. Resources like Westword can give you further information into popular destinations and further specificities on the laws.

And keep in mind, crossing state lines with your Colorado cannabis is illegal and can lead to an arrest if you’re pulled over, especially if you’re caught drugged driving. Due to the large number of people who visit Colorado intending to purchase cannabis to bring back home, cops are known to keep watch for cars exiting the state.

Wherever you choose to go and whatever you choose to consume, be smart, be safe, and go slow! You can always consume more, but you can’t consume less. Purchase cannabis products from a legal market, where industry leaders have set standards for third-party lab testing, encouraging consistency and safety.