Legal Marijuana at The Farm Ride
Here’s some information for those who like marijuana
and for those who don’t.
UPDATE: When we first posted this page a couple years ago, Massachusetts was one of the very few states with legal recreational marijuana, and that was a big deal for some folks. Now that NY, NJ, CT, and MA have all legalized recreational marijuana this page may have outlived its usefulness, but we'll keep it here just because...
The short version:
• Recreational marijuana is legal where we pedal in Massachusetts and is available for purchase by adults in retail stores (called dispensaries).
• You want to enjoy some legal marijuana? Great. Info below.
• You want nothing to do with marijuana? 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 16 years. This is NOT The Marijuana Ride.
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 want 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 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 a pre-rolled joint of about one gram or less.
The smallest purchase of loose marijuana buds ("flower") is usually 1/8th of an ounce -- about 3.5 grams. (We used to see one-gram purchases of flower available. Still sold at some dispensaries, but we are seeing this less often).
The Maximum -- You can buy up to one ounce, which is the most you can have on your person in Massachusetts. You can have up to 10 ounces at your home or lodging.
Where Do I Get It?
When we first saw legal recreational marijuana at the Farm Ride in 2018, there was ONE store. Now there are a bunch.
You can see a map that shows our Farm Ride Start/Finish line and nearby recreational marijuana dispensaries in Amherst and Northampton .
Most dispensaries allow you to pre-order online, and then just grab and go when you arrive. If you prefer you can step to the counter to chat, browse, and get shopping advice from the staff. (Sorry; I just can't get myself to say the word budtender and you can't make me.) Long lines were a problem in the past, but with so many more dispensaries now open we hope this is no longer an issue.
We will pass several recreational dispensaries during our rides. Stop if you wish; skip it if you prefer. Please note that if you are part of one of our Escorted Rides, where you pedal with a trip leader, they will NOT be stopping at dispensaries. Plenty of time later to go on your own.
Please note that 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. This is not like your local liquor store where they don't card you because you are clearly over 21 -- you really must show your government-issued I.D. each time.
You will also need cash or a DEBIT card.
No CREDIT cards; no checks.
At this writing we’re seeing prices around $26 - $60 for 3.5 grams (1/8th ounce) and full ounces for about $350, plus tax of 20 percent. Discounts are usually 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 or gummies?
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 gear 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. (So maybe leave that 6' bong at home...)
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 trouble? 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.
TRIVIA: One year some people walked by the Adults Only area of the party set aside for marijuana smokers:
"What's in the Adults Only area?"
"That must be the porn room."
(It is NOT the porn room!)
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?
Because marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, you can not transport marijuana across state lines, even if it is from one legal-marijuana state to another.
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!
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 may not want to pass that joint or pipe to others, due to the lingering COVID pandemic. Each person may prefer to bring their own smoking weaponry. Rolling papers and pipes -- cheap and fancy -- are available for purchase at most dispensaries.
Questions? Comments? Drop me a note. This is somewhat new territory for all of us and we're doing our best to accommodate everyone.