How to Get Away With Getting High in San Francisco

The City by the Bay has been 420-friendly for decades, thanks to its hospitable acceptance of hippies and other counter-culture youth from the 1960s onwards. Today, San Francisco remains as warm and welcoming to weed users as ever thanks to recreational legalization and a bounty of licensed San Francisco dispensaries.

Yet, if you don’t live in San Francisco, you might not be familiar with the local laws regarding cannabis consumption. Any adult aged 21 and over can buy bud and possess it without any hassle from the authorities, but using the good green herb is a bit more difficult than you might expect. Technically, California law only permits qualified consumers to partake in private, away from public view. As a result, travelers need to be careful to consume in weed-friendly accommodations — or they won’t be able to consume at all.

Fortunately, there are a few ways to get around the rule against public consumption without getting in trouble with San Francisco police. Here are a few ideas for getting high and getting around San Francisco safely:

Choose Discreet Methods

Most everyone can recognize the skunky smell of burning weed — and that includes authorities on the hunt for illegal public consumption. While smoking a joint might feel like the most prototypical stoner activity, you might want to opt for a more discreet method of consumption during your trip in the interest of keeping your public consumption concealed from the police.

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to use cannabis without drawing attention. Some options include:

Edibles. Unless you are flaunting the THC content of your snacks, most people won’t question you nibbling on sweets while you are out and about. However, if you aren’t well-versed in edible etiquette, you should be aware that dosing can be difficult with this method of consumption. It is best to start small, with a tiny bite, and wait an hour or so to evaluate effects before going back for more. This will help ensure you don’t get too high on your SF vacation.

Vapes. Personal, portable vaporizers for cannabis are essentially indistinguishable from those made for nicotine. Admittedly, you will be restricted in where you can vape weed to places where vaping is permitted. Fortunately, vaping is allowed in more spaces than cannabis consumption, so overall it is a win.

Oils and tinctures. The most effective method for dosing, especially if you rely on cannabis to manage a medical condition, oils and tinctures are administered under the tongue, where cannabinoids can absorb into the blood stream. The process of using an oil or tincture is fast and simple, and there are many other medications that are administered sublingually, so you are unlikely to be accosted with this method of use.

Transdermals. One of the newest methods to use weed, transdermals are patches that adhere to the skin and provide a low, continuous dose of cannabinoids that are absorbed by the body. The downside to transdermal patches is that they are unable to provide high doses of the drug, so you probably won’t get that out-of-body high that you might expect from using cannabis. You might feel a bit elevated by the patch, but this is truly an option better suited for medical users who need to maintain a medical condition without getting truly stoned.

Consider Visiting a Lounge

San Francisco was the first city in California to permit dispensaries to open cannabis lounges, which are similar to cigar bars in that they offer patrons a place to relax, socialize and consume weed. Not all dispensaries offer lounge spaces, and lounges aren’t always open during all of a dispensary’s hours of operation. However, if you can find a lounge, you can consume safely and legally in a public space.

Consume Inconspicuously

Regardless of whether you smoke a joint in your 420-friendly accommodations, nibble an edible while exploring Fisherman’s Wharf or spend your evening holed up in a cannabis lounge, there is one golden rule for using weed while in an unfamiliar city: Don’t overdo it. Being too high is uncomfortable, both physically and psychologically, and it could cause you to make poor decisions that put you in danger. You should always try to keep your high inconspicuous, giving yourself a pleasant buzz that doesn’t radically reduce your coordination or mental capacity.

San Francisco celebrates its heritage as a pro-cannabis city, but that doesn’t mean San Franciscans relish the idea of millions of tourists getting sloppy high in their streets every night. By being smart in your cannabis consumption, you can get high and have fun on your trip to the Bay.