Legal Marijuana at The Farm Ride
Here’s some information for those who like marijuana
and for those who don’t.
The short version:
• Recreational marijuana is legal for adults where we pedal in Massachusetts and is available for purchase by adults in retail stores (called dispensaries).
• You want to enjoy some legal weed? Great. Info below.
• You want nothing to do with weed? You don't want to see it or smell it, and you don't want it near your kids? Great. Got you covered. Nothing about the ride has changed. It's still the same family-friendly Farm Ride we've run for 15 years. This is NOT The Marijuana Ride.
Well this might be the dumbest thing I've ever written (and that's saying something coming from me...) but here goes: if you are planning on smoking marijuana during The Farm Ride, remember that you can not pass that joint or pipe to others, due to the COVID pandemic. Each person needs their own weaponry. Pipes -- cheap and fancy -- are available for purchase at dispensaries.
The longer version, which is at least 72% more interesting:
Imagine if instead of Massachusetts we were pedaling through beautiful Kentucky.
Some people might stop at a store and buy a bottle of Kentucky’s famous bourbon whiskey.
Other people couldn’t care less about whiskey and would skip it.
Same idea here.
During The Farm Ride some people might stop at a store and buy some of Massachusetts' famous legal marijuana.
Other people couldn’t care less about marijuana and will skip it.
If you don't like marijuana (or don't want it around your kids) you will never see it, smell it, or be encouraged to use it during this ride.
• • •
Think about any other ride you’ve ever been on. At the end of the day someone might say, “I’m going to grab a beer -- anyone else want one?” Those who want a beer drink one; those who don’t want a beer don’t.
Not much difference here.
At the end of the day someone might say, “I’m going off to smoke some [legal] marijuana -- anyone want to come along?” Those who want to smoke go; those who don’t want to smoke don’t.
• • •
Back home there are lots of places that are No Smoking areas -- bars, restaurants, hotel lobbies.... Massachusetts is the same way, except a No Smoking sign in Massachusetts means no smoking tobacco or marijuana. If you want to avoid marijuana entirely you’ll have no trouble doing so.
We stay on the campus of the University of Massachusetts and the entire campus (indoors and out!) is no smoking. More on this in a minute.
• • •
If we were pedaling in Cuba we’d provide you with information about where to get Cuban cigars. At this writing those cigars are still illegal at home and not necessarily great for your health, but we know that some folks on the trip would like that info. Mature adults could decide for themselves whether they wanted a Cuban cigar or not.
We’ll do the same thing here -- provide information about where to get legal Massachusetts marijuana. Mature adults can decide for themselves if they want it or not. Everyone on the trip is going to show friendly respect for adults who want to discreetly enjoy legal marijuana and for those who don’t.
The rest of this page contains information only for those adults who want to buy legal marijuana.
Q: Who can buy and use marijuana in Massachusetts?
A: Any adult who is at least 21 years old can buy recreational marijuana, whether they are from Massachusetts or not.
Massachusetts residents who have a medical marijuana card issued by the state can purchase medical marijuana. Massachusetts does not honor medical marijuana cards issued by other states.
Recreational marijuana and medical marijuana are pretty much the same product -- the dispensaries (marijuana stores) just handle the sales differently. For example, recreational marijuana is taxed at 20 percent. Medical marijuana is not taxed.
Minors may not buy or use marijuana in Massachusetts, and may not enter dispensaries.
Q: How much weed can I buy? Where do I get it? What’s it cost?
A: Easy there big fellah!
The landscape is changing fast, but at this writing here’s where we are:
How Much Can I Buy?
The Minimum -- The smallest purchase in most stores is one gram. You can often buy pre-rolled joints for less than the price of one gram.
The Maximum -- LEGALLY you can buy up to one ounce, which is the maximum you can have on your person in Massachusetts. You can have a maximum of 10 ounces at your home or lodging. Some stores have their own rules that restrict how much you can buy -- more on that in a minute.
Where Do I Get It?
Some dispensaries sell only medical marijuana. Here are three dispensaries that sell both recreational and medical marijuana.
NOTE: Lines are common at most dispensaries. If you wish to purchase we STRONGLY recommend ordering online -- when you arrive you skip the line and go straight to the pick-up window. Having said that, it may be worthwhile to wait in line so you can chat in person with the counter staff. (I just can't bring myself to use the word "budtender.")
AND... hours of operation, below, are accurate at this writing. Please double check before you head over.
169 Meadow Street
Amherst, MA, 01002
This is the dispensary closest to where we stay on the UMass campus -- a short and easy 1.5 mile bike ride away.
Hours of operation:
Monday - Saturday: 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Sunday: 11 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
118 Conz St.
Hours of operation:
8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m. everyday.
This dispensary is near the ride route, and it's also near Herrell's, my favorite ice cream place in the world. 'nuff said.
NETA sometimes limits recreational sales of marijuana to 3.5 grams per person per visit. That's not a law -- according to NETA it's their own policy to avoid running out and not having enough stock for their medical customers.
When you buy those 3.5 grams of marijuana (or less) you can also purchase other recreational marijuana products -- edibles, concentrates, pre-rolled joints...
If it's been a long time since you purchased marijuana, don't freak out over the quantity restrictions -- those 3.5 grams are a LOT more powerful than that stuff you bought in high school for $20.
NETA will usually sell customers with a Massachusetts medical marijuana card up to one ounce per visit, but may restrict that quantity if supplies are tight.
394 Stockbridge Rd
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. (M-Th)
9 a.m. - 9 p.m. (Fri - Sun)
If you really have your heart set on a larger purchase of marijuana you might want to visit these folks. They offer full-ounce purchases for recreational users (albeit at prices about 15 percent higher than the Amherst and Northampton dispensaries). Not really near the ride, but you might pass it in transit.
Today's legal marijuana is much MUCH stronger than what you may have experienced back in your youth. You may not want to rush in and buy the maximum-allowed all at once until you’ve taken it for a test drive; you might wind up using only a small fraction of that purchase and then have to throw away the rest before you leave Massachusetts -- more info below.
Before You Buy
To purchase marijuana you will need a government-issued photo I.D. (such as a driver’s license or passport) that shows that you are at least 21 years old. You must show your photo I.D. every single time you shop, no matter how old you look.
You will also need cash or a DEBIT card.
No CREDIT cards; no checks.
At this writing we’re seeing prices around $15 - $20 per gram, plus tax of 20 percent. Discounts are offered for larger purchases.
Q: I’ve never used marijuana but I want to try some on this trip.
A: Suppose a friend said to you, “I’ve never had alcohol before, but I want to try some right now.”
What advice would you give them?
Probably something along the lines of, “Have fun, be careful, take it slow, and never drive (or pedal) while intoxicated.”
Q: Can I buy pot brownies?
A: Yes. At the dispensaries there is a huge range of legal edibles for sale that contain marijuana -- cookies, brownies, drinks, candies... All clearly marked with the appropriate dosage.
Please be aware that it can easily take one hour (or longer) for edible marijuana to take effect. (So don't get impatient after 20 minutes, eat some more... then more... Please leave your impersonation at home).
Tricking an unsuspecting person into eating marijuana edibles is among the lowest forms of human behavior and will not be tolerated on this trip -- violators will be sent home immediately. NO REFUNDS.
A: Yup, all sorts of smokeable marijuana concentrates (and the weaponry needed to enjoy them) are for sale.
Q: Where can I smoke?
A: Aye, there’s the rub!
Under Massachusetts law you can not smoke outdoors in public.
Throughout the U.S. many hotels now have only no-smoking guest rooms. If you smoke ANYTHING in a no-smoking room you may get hit with a serious fee on your bill. Similar penalties for smoking in a non-smoking rental car.
And, as noted, the University of Massachusetts campus where we are staying is 100 percent no smoking -- inside and out.
SO... where to smoke?
The advice I received from several dispensary managers is that the local police have taken a low-key approach to enforcement, provided you are discreet and don’t act like a jerk.
Remember that if you are smoking in public view you are, technically, breaking the law, just like drinking a beer in public.
Want to avoid arrest? Show some respect and don't annoy non-smokers.
THE top priority of your tour director and humble servant (me) is to keep marijuana away from anyone who doesn't want to see it or smell it. That means ESPECIALLY no marijuana anywhere near kids. This is a family-friendly event, and we want everyone to feel safe bringing their children.
At our famous Saturday Night Dorm Party we will have accommodations for those adults who want to enjoy legal marijuana.
We welcome your kids at The Saturday Night Dorm Party, but if you don't want them near marijuana, we will need your help to steer them away from the small, discrete, clearly-marked, "adults only" area.
Q: Can I pedal while I’m high? Can I smoke while I’m riding?
If we were cycling and stopped for lunch would it be OK if you had a bottle of beer or a glass of wine?
Would it be OK if you got stinking drunk?
And there we are.
If you are so high or drunk that you are a problem, we will not hesitate to grab you by the ear (or any other appendage we can reach...) and yank you off the road immediately. NO REFUNDS.
Q: Can I take some pot home with me as a souvenir? How about a marijuana cookie? Just a little?
As soon as you cross the Massachusetts border you are under the same laws as back home -- marijuana is illegal and you can go to jail.
If we are transporting your bike and luggage home, trying to hide some marijuana in your gear would be a really REALLY bad idea... especially because I.D. tags with your name on them are going to be attached to your bike and bag!
Questions? Comments? Drop me a note. This is somewhat new territory for all of us and we're doing our best to accommodate everyone.