Where to Get High in the Midwest

Most people, in planning their weed-centric vacations, look to the coasts. California has long been the cultural mecca for cannabis users, and places like Alaska and Maine offer rugged charm with legal bud. Yet, as the legalization trend intensifies, the center of the U.S. is seeing more and more cities reforming their cannabis regulations — which means you might consider visiting the Midwest to get your marijuana fix.

America's heartland is increasingly green — with cannabis, that is. Here are a few Midwestern cities to put on your weed travel bucket list.

Chicago, Illinois

There's no debate — Chicago is the coolest Midwestern city with legal weed. With a Chicago dispensary in every neighborhood and invigorating attractions on every block, there is no end to weed-fueled adventures in the Windy City.

If this is your first time in Chicago, you should spend some of your high exploring the must-visit sights like Navy Pier (where you can ride the iconic Ferris wheel), Millennium Park (home to the Bean), the Chicago Riverwalk (which showcases the city's architecture) and River North (for the city's most luxurious shopping). Then again, if you have been to Chicago before, you might want to do all the same things, this time with a bit of weed in your system.

Galena, Illinois

An old mining town that has found new life in the 21st century, Galena boasts a remarkably rich history — as well as a wealth of weed for visitors to enjoy. Nestled in the northwest corner of Illinois and easily reached by Wisconsinites, Iowans and Minnesotans, Galena has fully embraced the cannabis industry, transforming itself into a hub for bud tourism in the Midwest.

Galena is full of small-town charm that you can soak up stoned or sober, but some activities you would likely enjoy more with a bit of a high is a ghost tour, which will introduce you to all the haunted spaces and famous spirits. During the tour, you spend time in the Old Market House, the Dowling House, the Old Blacksmith Shop and more.

Getting high in the midwest

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Way back in the 1970s, Ann Arbor took a stand against escalating cannabis prohibition by radically decriminalizing the drug, charging those found in possession of pot a meager $5 fine. Thanks in no small part to Ann Arbor's progressive perspective, Michigan was the first Midwestern state to legalize cannabis, and today, Ann Arbor celebrates weed in every way.

Much of Ann Arbor's ardor for cannabis comes from the high concentration of college students, and accordingly, many of the city's attractions revolve around University of Michigan. You can wander around the Museum of Natural History, the Museum of Art and the Botanical Gardens, all managed by the university and free to visitors. You might also simply spend time on the gorgeous UM campus, especially during summer or fall.

Detroit, Michigan

Detroit might not be the industrial Midwestern powerhouse it once was — and that might be for the best. These days, Detroit residents have become much more focused on creating art and celebrating culture, and the legalization of weed has certainly helped.

It is easy to get lost and overwhelmed in Detroit, especially when you are stoned out of your mind. You might want to stick to wandering around a low-key area, like Belle Isle Park or the Detroit Institute of Arts, though you definitely want to take your munchies to the Eastern Market, where you will find all manner of craft snacks.

Traverse City, Michigan

The list of vacation-worthy Michigan lake towns is almost endless, but Traverse City is perhaps the best for the weed-inclined. Large enough to boast a few dispensaries but small enough to feel quaint, Traverse City offers everything a 420-focused visitor could possibly hope for.

It should go without saying that the best thing to do in Traverse City is lounge on the lakeshore. Sleeping Bear Dunes is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S., and it offers a wealth of outdoor activities that aren't too rigorous for those with a bit of a buzz. You can also explore the forest around the Old State Hospital, where you will find the aptly named Hippie Tree — a quintessential stoner spot.

More Midwestern states are likely to legalize cannabis in the coming years, especially to combat lower tax revenues after the coronavirus pandemic. Already, South Dakota has passed both medical and recreational regulations — though the state has not acted on them — and Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin are working on getting legalization bills through their legislatures. Soon enough, you could have even more opportunities to get high in the Midwest, but for now, you should be thrilled with these wonderful weed-friendly spaces.

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Mark Bernberg
Mark Bernberg

Mark Bernberg is a long-time cannabis investing enthusiast and founder of The Green Fund, Asia Pacific's preeminent media house, positioned at the forefront of the global cannabis industry.