Colorado made headlines when it became the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. But the state of Washington wasn’t far behind, getting into the ganja game in July 2014. Since it hasn’t yet captured the imagination and enthusiasm of freshly minted pot tourists the way Colorado has, it’s the proper place to pursue a newly legal buzz. Even Seattle, the state’s largest city, serves up a relatively crowd-free stoner scene—and plenty of activities to keep your recently expanded mind entertained. Here are a few things to remember if you decide to skedaddle to Seattle for a weekend as a weed warrior.
BRING YOUR ID
The legal age is 21, and the security guard (the menacing-looking fellow at the front door) will want to see proof in the form of valid government-issued identification. Debit and credit cards aren’t accepted, so you’ll also need some good old-fashioned cash money—the kind that crumples. (Though, if you space out about it, most shops have on-site ATMs.) How much cash? That depends, but as of mid-January the price for a single gram was hovering around $22. (Washington state law limits each transaction to one ounce.)
FIND YOUR WAY
Don’t expect a pot shop on every block. As of early 2015, only a handful of stores were open for business in Seattle. The best way to find them is to search online using one of the many location-based services created expressly for that purpose—[Weedmaps](https://weedmaps.com/ is a good one; Leafly is another. Make sure you filter the results with the keyword recreational, since medical-marijuana shops fall under a different set of regulations. A third site, Kush Tourism, maintains a continually updated directory that’s easy to navigate.
Three shops in particular are worth mentioning. The first two are fairly close to one another and about 2.5 miles south of the city’s famed Pike Place Market in the SoDo (south of downtown) neighborhood: Cannabis City olds the distinction of being the first Seattle store to open under the new state law; Ganja Goddess stakes out the high end of the market and offers a mind-blowing range of cannabis. (On a recent visit some 42 varieties were neatly listed on a chalkboard.) About two miles due east of Pike Place is Uncle Ike’s, which claims to have the lowest prices in the state. That may be, but any money you save on your purchase will likely be spent at its next-door “glass and goods” store, which cheerfully sells everything from papers, pipes and vape pens to pot-leaf-emblazoned socks and Uncle Ike’s T-shirts.
DON’T BLAZE IN PUBLIC
Marijuana can be legally consumed in Washington only on private property. Some weed-friendly hotels (Kush Tourism lists a handful) offer enclosed outdoor spaces, balconies and even potting sheds (get it?) where guests can legally fire up. Two other options: Book a hotel room where cigarette smoking is permitted (that means pot can be smoked there too), or plan to partake via vaporizer. When in doubt, ask. The folks at the artsy downtown Hotel Max, for example, were happy to share a preprinted “Seattle Cannabis FAQ”—available at the front desk.