Know where you can legally use your recreational marijuana so you always stay on the right side of the law.
Nine states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational use for adults over the age of 21. As laws loosen and acceptance for cannabis grows, more and more Americans are choosing to dip their toes into recreational marijuana use.
Despite expanding legalization, you still need to be considerate of where you consume your legal marijuana to make sure you’re still in compliance with the law. Even if recreational marijuana is legal where you live or visit, that does not mean you can smoke, vape, dab, or eat cannabis anywhere. Using marijuana in the wrong place can in many cases lead to a citation, or worse.
So once you buy your legal marijuana, where can you use it?
Here’s a summary of where you can consume recreational marijuana legally.
Private Backyard or Balcony
Perhaps the most popular legal place for enjoying recreational cannabis is your own backyard, back deck, or back balcony.
If you are a homeowner, you are legally allowed to consume your marijuana on your own private property, including your backyard or a balcony. If you have adult friends or family members over for an outdoor party or cookout, they too can enjoy cannabis in your yard.
Since in most cases it is illegal to consume marijuana in public view, it’s best if you keep outdoor consumption to the back of your house where neighbors and passersby are more likely not to see you.
If you are a renter, consuming marijuana legally may be a bit more complicated. Landlords are legally allowed to ban the smoking of marijuana, just as they can ban smoking in general. Some landlords and property managers may even include a no-waiver clause in the lease you sign that says you are subject to eviction if you consume marijuana on the property you’re renting, even outdoors.
Even for those living in apartments or multi-unit buildings who are not prohibited from consuming recreational marijuana, the best way to go is to use a vape pen or opt for edibles so that you don’t disturb your neighbors and others around you. A landlord may be more inclined to implement rules around cannabis use if tenants are complaining about marijuana smoke being a nuisance.
Inside Your Home
In recreational marijuana states, you are legally allowed to smoke, vape, or eat cannabis inside your home or someone else’s private residence, such as a friend’s house. Because you’re inside, you don’t have to worry about being in public view.
If you opt to use marijuana inside, you may want to take some precaution to ensure cannabis’ distinctive odor factor doesn’t bother family members or roommates. The sweet and pungent aroma of marijuana smoke is potent and can linger on clothes and in fabrics, so you may want to consider an air purifier, a portable or ceiling fan, or deodorizing air freshening products.
You may even opt for skipping combustion all together and vaporizer your cannabis. The vapors emitted are much more subtle and tame, and they dissipate quickly. Cannabis edibles eliminate the issue altogether.
Don’t forget that property owners and landlords reserve the right to allow or deny marijuana use on their property, including inside the apartment you are renting.
Marijuana Social Lounges
A small number of recreational marijuana states allow businesses called marijuana lounges where you can safely and legally consume your marijuana in a social setting. Of the nine recreational marijuana states, California and Colorado are the only two that currently allow social lounges. Lawmakers in Nevada and Alaska have considered doing the same.
Marijuana social lounges are great for adults who otherwise don’t have a legal place to safely and comfortably consume their marijuana. This includes adults whose ability to privately consume cannabis is controlled by a landlord, as well as out-of-town tourists.
At cannabis lounges, you can bring your own products and legally smoke, vape, or eat them while you’re there. In nearly all cases, lounges don’t sell cannabis products on site.
In California, however, some dispensaries have been given lounge permits so that you can purchase and consume your marijuana in one location.
Where You Shouldn’t Consume Recreational Marijuana
Even in states with legalized recreational marijuana, the places where it remains illegal to use marijuana are many.
As a rule, smoking recreational marijuana in public and in view of the general public is illegal. This means you should not consume marijuana in hotels, restaurants and bars, concerts, or sports stadiums.
While some cities may have their own policies directing local law enforcement to de-prioritize marijuana possession, avoiding public use is always best to keep you on the right side of the law.
It’s never a good idea to use marijuana while at work. In nearly all states, employers are free to fire employees for being under the influence while on the job.
Also keep in mind that since marijuana possession and use is still against federal law, you cannot use marijuana at the many popular visitor attractors on federal land. This includes national parks, national forest, national monuments, national wildlife refuges, and even some mountain ski slopes. Additionally, some Native American reservation lands have laws prohibiting the use of marijuana.
More on Marijuana
Unsure if recreational marijuana is legal where you live? Find out through our Overview of U.S. Marijuana Law page.
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