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can tourists buy weed in california

Los Angeles for tourists: Hollywood, beaches . and pot?

Mom and Dad are smoking fewer cigarettes and more weed, the New York Post reports. Veuer’s Sam Berman has the full report.

In this May 19, 2018 photo tourists smoke cannabis on the Green Line Trips bus tour in Los Angeles. Recreational marijuana sales became legal in California this year, and the industry is targeting tourists as well as locals, with tours, shops, lodging and ads. And there are cannabis bus tours, too, like Green Line Trips, with stops at local pot dispensaries and Griffith Park or Santa Monica. (Photo: Richard Vogel, AP)

WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Recreational marijuana sales became legal in California this year, and the industry is targeting tourists as well as locals, with tours, shops, lodging and ads. “Just seconds from LAX,” says an ad for the MedMen chain.

Yep, there are chains of marijuana stores here. And there are cannabis bus tours, too, like Green Line Trips , with stops at local pot dispensaries along with stops at attractions like Griffith Park. You can even smoke on the bus. (Funny thing about online reviews for Green Line and other tours: They’re really, really positive, as in “the best,” ”coolest,” ”hella” and “man, o man.”)

MedMen, one of several marijuana dispensaries in West Hollywood, scores 4.8 stars on weedmaps.com. At busy times, there are lines to get in, and you’ll have to show ID proving you’re 21 or over. But once inside, it’s head shop meets Apple store. The air smells like pot. Tables display weed, oils, cookies and breath mints, along with iPads to swipe for details on different marijuana plants. The descriptions sound like wine: “good pungent nose” and “some will be piney.”

Shelves and hooks display vapor pens, balms, tinctures, candies. Refrigerators are filled with drinks and frozen pot food like cannabis-infused churros. The sales staff wear red T-shirts saying “Shop. It’s legal.” Their personal styles range from green hair to gray, dreadlocks to buzz cuts, some with tattoos and body piercings and some without. But they seem to have one thing in common: They’re very mellow.

“This is the best job I’ve ever had,” said Richard Horn, 26, as he gave me a tour of the store.

Horn said there are two types of products, those with THC, the mind-altering ingredient that makes you high, and those with CBD, which has no cognitive effects but is sold to treat anxiety, relieve pain and enhance sexual pleasure. I didn’t quite get how the same ingredient could dim pain and enhance arousal, until he muttered something about “numbing” and “lasting longer” and it got a little awkward, since I was old enough to be his mother. The conversation quickly turned to cannabis products for pets, and taxes.

In this Thursday, Dec. 21, 2017, file photo pedestrians walk past one of the MedMen marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. Recreational marijuana sales became legal in California this year, and the industry is targeting tourists as well as locals, with tours, shops, lodging and ads. (Photo: Richard Vogel, AP file)

You’d think that the price of legal pot would be lower than when it was illicit, until you factor in the costs of doing business: real estate, staff, advertisements and taxes. Prices for legal weed can average 35 percent higher than what users were paying on the street, depending on the city. Marijuana at MedMen sells for about $10 to $25 per gram, depending on the quality. Pre-rolled joints sell for $5 to $15, depending on the brand. Shoppers with state-issued cards for medical marijuana pay less because they’re not charged state excise tax. You may purchase up to an ounce of cannabis per day, or up to 8 grams of cannabis concentrates (used in edibles).

Shoppers seemed unfazed by the cost. Dressed in casual and business attire, they browsed, sniffed containers and discussed products with staff. Horn is a fan of battery-powered vaporizer cartridges, “the best, most cost-effective way to get high,” he said. “This defines America perfectly. On the go, ready, right now.”

You can pay with cash or debit cards but not credit cards. (Credit card companies do not sanction pot purchases because marijuana remains illegal under federal law.)

In this Dec. 21, 2017, file photo, a customer browses a selection of marijuana products displayed at one of MedMen’s marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles. Recreational marijuana sales became legal in California this year, and the industry is targeting tourists as well as locals, with tours, shops, lodging and ads. (Photo: Richard Vogel, AP file)

Many customers leave with whole bags of pot products, but tourists face consumption challenges. The law prohibits smoking, vaporizing or ingesting cannabis products in public or anyplace tobacco is banned — which in California, includes restaurants, bars, parks and beaches. Most big chain hotels in California are smoke-free, too, which may leave visitors back where they were before legalization: looking for a place to smoke.

But what does a tourist do with weed leftovers when it's time to go home?