The 18,863-Mile All-Legal* Marijuana Road Trip


* Assuming all five states pass legalization, Canada legalizes, and we ignore 4,444 feet in New Mexico and 17 miles in New Hampshire.

Let’s take a break from all the maridrama surrounding the 2016 election and just think happy thoughts.

What’s it going to be like once California and four other states join the four legal marijuana states?

One thing I’m going to look forward to is the Legal Marijuana Road Trip.

You may recall that in 2014, I took a road trip from Portland, Oregon, to Denver, Colorado. That trip, however, ventured through the red prohibition states of Idaho and Utah, the latter of which gave me the gift of a misdemeanor marijuana charge, a free ride in a cop car, six hours in a cage, and took $1,950 of my money.

I was thinking about that when suddenly, it hit me. If California, Arizona, and Nevada all pass legalization, there is a route I could take from Portland to Denver that would never touch an illegal state!

I jumped onto Google Maps to draw out the route. I could take I-5 South from Portland down into California. From there we make a small detour over to San Francisco to enjoy the sights and smoke their herb.

From San Francisco we get back on the freeways and head south to Los Angeles to enjoy some of their legendary OG Kush, followed by a short drive down to San Diego.

Then we head across the desert into Arizona so I can visit my pals at in Phoenix and enjoy some of their finest sativa.

Now the trip gets a little more difficult. We have to leave the major freeways to take a small highway up to Teec Nos Poz, Arizona, home of the Four Corners Monument. It’s the location where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico all meet. You can stand over the four corners and literally be in four states at once. If we cross diagonally, we can go from Arizona to Colorado, never setting foot in an illegal state.

Alas, there’s really no way to get the car to do that. So there is a stretch of that road, 4,550 feet of it, that will take us through prohibition New Mexico before we hit Colorado. Let’s hope we can avoid a cop for less than a mile.

Now we just make our way up to Denver to enjoy the pot lounges they made legal in the election. The first leg of our All-Legal Marijuana Road Trip has taken us 2,283 legal miles and <1 illegal mile.

On our way back, I figured that we could take a more interior route to visit other legal places we missed by traveling down the coast. We’ll take I-70 West (we’ll do this trip in the summer) to Grand Junction, Colorado, so we can enjoy that incredible Eisenhower Tunnel and marvel at the Rockies. What better place to get high?

From Grand Junction we’ll take some winding mountain roads south, hugging the western border of Colorado with Utah, as we make our way back to the crossing at Four Corners.

This time through Arizona, we’ll stay north so we can visit the Grand Canyon. I’ve never been there and I am convinced it would be a hell of a place to smoke a joint… so long as you do it outside the actual federal land that is the National Park.

From there we’ll head west to cross the Hoover Dam and make our way into Las Vegas, Nevada. With all the lights and people on the Strip, it’s a great place to get high and people-watch.

We’ll go north to The Biggest Little City in the World, Reno, and if we time this trip correctly in the summer, we could make it there in time for their Hot August Nights festival.

From Reno it’s then into Oregon, where we’ll stay to the east of the Cascade Mountains and onto the ski resort oasis of Bend. I’ve got some pals there in the marijuana business and it’ll be a great place to stock up.

Rather than head back to Portland, though, let’s make sure we get to all the legal Western states. We’ll head on north to Tri-Cities, Washington, where as a teenager I once watched their powerboat races on the Columbia River.

We’ll detour to the east so we can visit the Palouse valley and the town of Spokane, just to say we did, before heading west to end our road trip’s second leg in Seattle before heading down I-5 South home to Portland, having logged around 2,500 miles.

It’s only a shame we’ve got no way to road trip to the other legal states of Maine and Massachusetts… but wait!

Isn’t Canada going to legalize soon?

If Canada is legal, then we can make it to Maine. We’ll continue north from Seattle until we get to the border crossing at Blaine, Washington. We’re not daring enough to try to get our weed-laden car through an international checkpoint, but that’s no concern. Once we get to Vancouver, we’ll track down Marc Emery, who’s bound to be able to help us find some BC Bud for our third leg.

From Vancouver we hit the Trans-Canada Highway up through Kamloops and on our way from the province of British Columbia to Alberta, where we’ll stop in Calgary. If it was August when we were in Reno, then it is too late to attend their world-famous rodeo. (That’s fine by me, though; I’m not into animal torture for human entertainment.)

We keep heading east into Saskatoon, where we’ll stop in Regina. I don’t know anything about Regina except what it rhymes with. Nothing could be finer than to smoke weed in Regina in the morning…

From Regina we keep heading east into Manitoba and a stop in Winnepeg. Maybe Canadian Football will be in season and we can catch a Blue Bombers game. I love that 3-down, 110-yard field, 25-yard endzone wackiness!

But as we head toward the Great Lakes and into Ontario, we’ll stop in Thunder Bay, which I do know is the birthplace of the great keyboardist Paul Shaffer of SNL, Blues Brothers, Spinal Tap, and Late Night/Show with David Letterman fame.

Next we get to Toronto, one of the great cities of the world. They’ve been pretty harsh on the dispensary owners there, but once Trudeau’s government legalizes, I think it’ll be a fantastic place to visit.

We drive east into Quebec and the French ancestry in me begins to stir. A visit to Montreal and some fine French-Canadian food hits the spot, topped off with some fine smoke.

At this point we could find a point to cross over into Maine. But while we’re in Canada, why not visit all the lower mainland provinces with a visit to St. John’s, New Brunswick? Besides, that takes us to the Atlantic, and this road trip should span from ocean to ocean.

We’ve got another border crossing to deal with as we enter Maine. A short drive south takes us to the other Portland, where we’ll enjoy Maine’s most-liberal-in-the-world legal marijuana. We can possess 2.5 ounces and there will be pot lounges in which we can smoke it.

Our only problem is in heading south to Massachusetts. There are seventeen miles of Atlantic Coast that is the southeastern edge of New Hampshire. They will still be a prohibition state, so we’ll have to drive extra carefully for that stretch.

Then we’re in Massachusetts, where we’ll run into our friends in Boston and celebrate with an epic smoke session after such a long trip.

Now time to head back home… but wait! If we’re just going to drive across Canada again, why not add the final legal state?

For our fourth leg, we’ll head back up from Boston into Maine, crossing that 17-mile illegal zone in New Hampshire, the last time on our trip we’ll be driving in prohibition territory.

We’ll stop off in Bangor for some chowdah and then head back into Canada again. While on the East Coast, we might as well take a couple of detours into Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, just to add two more provinces to the list.

This time through Quebec we’ll take a turn through Quebec City for a route that will run north through Kapuskasing, Ontario, just to enjoy a different bit of the country before we make it back to Thunder Bay and on to Winnepeg again.

Once we reach Winnepeg, we can take the highway through Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, then to Edmonton, Alberta, then to Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.

Next we cross the border into Alaska. We’ll make our way to Fairbanks to stop at their marijuana lounge for a relaxing smoke of some Arctic Blue.

Then we take that treacherous road north to Prudhoe Bay, the northernmost point we can drive to. Hey, we took this road trip down to San Diego, so now we can say we’ve smoked as far north and as far south on the Legalized West Coast as we can go in a car.

Now it’s time to make our way back home. From Prudhoe Bay we’ll head south until we reach Anchorage, where we’ll stop in at Pot Luck Events to enjoy another smoke of some Arctic Blue.

We’ll dip back into Canada for a while before returning to the coast to visit Alaska’s capital of Juneau. Then it’s back into British Columbia to make our way to Vancouver, then Seattle, and finally back home to Portland.

There you have it! 18,863 miles of driving across nine legal states, ten legal provinces, 38 legal cities, and only less than 34 miles of the trip (0.18 percent) was spent in prohibition country.

Who wants shotgun?

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