Travel

Fun with cannabis: 420-friendly tours, painting classes and more

The bright, airy interior of this legally converted West Oakland warehouse could easily be mistaken for a kids’ art class. Primary-color paintings of fish, trees and Dia de los Muertos skulls line the walls. Carts with bottles of color flank tables where students dab paint on small canvases.

Curiously, there are ash trays and consent forms at each work station. And a fragrant haze hovers above the group of grown-ups like a lingering morning fog.

Yes, behind the building’s roll-up doors, another kind of rolling up is going on. This is a Puff, Pass & Paint class and the title could not be more self-explanatory — you bring your own bags of buds, puff a little, share your stash and paint up a storm. Or, on this night, a rocket soaring through the cosmos.

“We’re doing a spaceship theme tonight — you know, to ‘stay high,’ ” jokes instructor Austa Obringer. “But first I’ll give you some time to roll up, smoke and let the creativity set in.”

Since January, these ticketed events have popped up all over California — Oakland, Sacramento and Los Angeles. It’s a toking twist on the popular “drink and draw” events of the past few years.

And it’s just a small part of marijuana’s move to the mainstream. More and more businesses are offering all manner of 420-related activities, classes, tours and events. There are educational visits to extraction labs in Humboldt, historic tours of cannabis culture in Haight-Ashbury, star-studded journeys through Hollywood. Some are in the style of high-end wine tours, taking guests to farms and dispensaries, sampling strains, pairing it with food, tasting edibles.

Until 2018, tours that include visits to dispensaries still require participants to have a California medical marijuana card. But if a cannabis-friendly staycation is your cup of tea, check out these activities, tours and events:

Puff, Pass & Paint, Oakland, Sacramento, Los Angeles; www.puffpassandpaint.com

They provide the art supplies, instruction and snacks. You provide the pot. The Denver-based company also offers pottery- and pastry-making sessions. For the painting version, working artists guide students through simple designs. It’s a happy crowd, no doubt, but not a wild party scene. Participants truly devote themselves to the art with a joint in one hand and a paintbrush in the other.

“Cannabis and art really go together,” says instructor Tyler Joyner. “It allows people to be a little more relaxed and opens up their creativity.” Classes are held weekly. Ticket prices are $39 to $54.

Humboldt Cannabis Tours, Humboldt County; www.humcannabis.com

Working off the model of wine-country tours, Humboldt Cannabis Tour founder Matt Kurth offers a menu of one- or two-day expeditions through the heart of cannabis country. His tours, set to launch in late summer, include visits to dispensaries, gourmet lunches, plus trips to “a couple of really awesome farms,” he says, all amid the sheer beauty of the landscape of rivers and forests.

Tours can also be customized — he can arrange for gourmet chef to teach you how to craft delicious cannabis cuisine. Or you might opt for a sauna followed by a cannabis-oil massage and then a soak in a redwood hot tub. Kurth says he can even arrange private-jet transport to the Emerald Triangle and help you find cannabis-friendly accommodations. Prices start at about $200 for a full-day experience.

Sea of Green Tours, San Francisco Bay Area; www.seaofgreenevents.com

At the helm of Sea of Green Tours are two professionally trained chefs with solid backgrounds in the hospitality biz, eager to provide high-end, cannabis-friendly experiences. “Customers can pick from generic tours, such as weed-and-wine tours, urban excursions, a lab experience where people can go into a cultivation lab and see products being extracted,” says co-founder Ricardo Willis.

They offer everything from short three-hour events at a single location to overnighters and customized excursions. Their “explore tours” are several hours long and involve coach rides to various locations, such as Magnolia Wellness in Oakland. Longer events resemble wine-country tours, heading out to Santa Cruz, Marin or Sonoma. Other events let guests learn about cannabis extracts. And as chefs, they feature tasting sessions and clever cannabis cocktails. Prices start at $69 for short tours to $189 and up for longer excursions.

Green Guide Tours, San Francisco; www.greenguide.tours

Take a walk on the weed side on San Francisco’s first cannabis walking tour. No pot products are provided — Green Guide is strictly an informational tour for now (it may include a dispensary tour in the future).

Instead, the 2.5-mile route is “dedicated to the historic and cultural impact of cannabis,” says founder Stuart Watts. “We take you through the Haight-Ashbury to see where famous rock stars lived, learn about the history of marijuana, the science, criminal reform, social movements and legal battles that erupted,” he says. “Our number one goal is to stop the negative stigma of marijuana through education and awareness.”

The Classic Cannabis Tour starts at the Painted Ladies in Alamo Square, moves on to the Haight and Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park. And it’s free! A $15 donation is requested.

Happy Hippy Co. Cannabis Tours, San Francisco; www.happyhippy.co

Take a peek into the cannabis culture of the Bay Area with Happy Hippy Co. Led by tour-industry veteran Brian Freeman, Happy Hippy offers “elevated” day hikes and cannabis tours. Right now, there’s a special, limited-edition Summer of Love excursion on a vintage hippie bus where guests will visit a cannabis-friendly house and stop at a dispensary/lounge. And in July, Freeman also plans to kick off cannabis cooking classes and an East Bay tour, visiting the Harborside dispensary and Redwood Regional Park in Oakland. Basic tours start at $79.

LA 420 Tours, Los Angeles; www.la420tours.org

Go for some ganja glamour on one of LA 420 Tour’s excursions through Hollywood, Venice Beach and more. Tour offerings range from visits to dispensaries, smoke shops and breweries to a “mobile smoking lounge” outside The Abbey bar in West Hollywood for “a full smorgasbord buffet of marijuana.”

The company also offers cooking classes that teach how to infuse edibles for a gourmet meal. And if you really want to splurge, they’ll liven up your birthday party or special event, bringing the mobile smoke lounge to your door and serve up cannabis-infused delights.

General tours roll out daily starting at 8 a.m., running all day and into the night. Free goodie bags are usually included. Prices range from $20 for a seat in the mobile lounge at The Abbey to about $300 for the Los Angeles dispensary tour. Private events start at about $1,600.

To read more from our special report on canna-tourism, click here.


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