Reno-Tahoe Cannabis Travel Story v. 1.0
BY ED MURRIETA
RENO — The Biggest Little City in the World is dwarfed only by Las Vegas in Nevada’s newest bonanza — the greenrush of recreational cannabis and drug tourists’ dollars.
Thanks to Reno’s scale, getting a taste of Nevada’s newly legal recreational cannabis is a lot easier here than it is in sprawling Las Vegas, and Reno is a good place to begin exploring Nevada cannabis as growers, processors and edibles makers from Reno, Sparks, Carson City and Incline Village supply Las Vegas dispensaries. You can even buy a tourist-oriented welcome basket of Nevada cannabis products, marketed as the Vegas Weekend Box in both Las Vegas and Reno.
Whether you’re traveling to the Reno-Tahoe region to gamble, ski, see shows, engage prostitutes, make a pit stop en route to or from Burning Man, or solely to purchase pot legally, making cannabis part of your next visit here is easy — especially if you can swear off odiferous buds and commit to enjoying locally made edibles, tinctures and vape pens.
Arrive by automobile, bus or train and begin your Reno-Tahoe cannabis trip a short walk away from Reno’s “Biggest Little City” sign at Mynt, downtown Reno’s only cannabis store and creator/purveyor of Kynd, the locally produced, widely available line of flowers, edibles and concentrates.
Or reach Reno via Lake Tahoe, where recreational cannabis at Incline Village’s tony NuLeaf dispensary is the North Shore’s buzziest attraction since The Ponderosa Ranch “Bonanza” TV Western theme park invigorated the historic logging hamlet in the Sixties.
Along the way, behold breath-taking lake and mountain scenery, drink craft beer brewed from Lake Tahoe’s famous blue water and eat a cut above buffets.
Bring your medical cannabis authorization from any legal medical cannabis state and avoid paying Nevada’s 10 percent excise tax.
California residents with medical cannabis recommendations will hit the pot-tourist jackpot a mile from the California-Nevada state line in South Lake Tahoe, where dispensary and grower Tahoe Wellness Cooperative operates a rare tourist necessity: a cannabis consumption lounge, in this case endorsed and sanctioned by city leaders expressly to keep people from smoking pot on South Lake Tahoe’s shore and streets.
South Lake Tahoe is also home to what the Reno-Tahoe region (and Las Vegas) needs to cultivate in higher volume — a bud, bed and breakfast run by an innkeeper who provides locally grown cannabis and the greenlight to smoke it legally, no matter where you come from.
Can’t bear the thought of foregoing joints, dabs and bong hits while you’re visiting Reno or the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe? Forget about staying at hotels. Instead, reserve a 420-friendly gypsy camping wagon, custom-made by a Burning Man artisan and easily towed or delivered to campgrounds or private properties in the Reno-Tahoe area.
You don’t want to spend your weekend visiting all eight dispensaries in and around Reno. Most carry similar products at similar prices reflective of a city governed by industries — gaming and tourism — designed to take your money. Shop according to your lodging proximity and save yourself trips across town — unless you’re a hard-core fan of San Francisco rapper and pot mogul and just have to try his high-end strains or need to pick up a cannabis survival kit specially designed for Burning Man.
Staying at Harrah’s, Circus Circus, Eldorado, Whitney Peak or the Burning Man-themed Morris Burner Hostel in downtown Reno? You’ll surely check out Mynt, downtown Reno’s only dispensary, located across the street from Harrah’s, within view of Greater Nevada Field, two blocks from the Reno Arch and an easy walk to the Truckee River and the RiverWalk pedestrian trail. Mynt’s sister company, Kynd, produces the region’s leading brand of strain-specific concentrates and artisan edibles, including THC and CBD chocolates and salted caramels hand-crafted exclusively for Kynd by a noted local chocolatier.
Mynt is also where you can get a taste of Las Vegas in a welcome basket, of sorts, curated for tourists. The Vegas Weekend Box launched in Reno’s larger sibling, Sin City, this summer, featuring cannabis products showcasing the best of Las Vegas and designed to last up to four newbie cannabis consumers throughout a weekend. Price at $199, Vegas Weekend Boxes contain consumer safety tips and a $30 discount to a vegan restaurant in a hip container park. They’ve been flying off the shelf at Mynt, never mind that the restaurant discount is for a restaurant in Las Vegas. A Reno Weekend Box is in the works but for now Mynt’s selling the Vegas version exclusively in Reno. In September, Vegas Weekend Boxes will include Mynt’s cannabis caramels.
Staying at Grand Sierra Resort a mile and a half east of downtown? Sierra Wellness Connection is nearby.
One reason to visit either Reef location is Exotikz by Berner, connisseur-grade cannabis strains personally pheno-hunted by Berner, the San Francisco rapper and pot mogul, priced starting at $60 an eighth.
Luxuriating at Atlantis Casino Resort Spa or Peppermill Resort Spa Casino south of downtown Reno? Sate your need for weed at Blum or The Dispensary, both of which are en route to both destinations by car or frequently running city buses from downtown.
Headed to Burning Man? Not only will you want to take advantage of the room discounts and special spa packages that major Reno hotels offer before and after the counterculture gathering in the Black Rock desert 100 miles north of Reno, you may want to shop for a Burner Box at Blum.
Whether this is your first or 31st trip to Burning Man, you’ll be the envy of your theme camp when you unpack a Burner Box, a curated kit of cannabis essentials that includes cannabis oil, edibles, bud and joints from leading Reno and Las Vegas cultivators and producers, including salted caramels from Reno’s Mynt, enough to keep a Burner buzzed, along with other substances, for a week on the Playa, plus a pipe and rolling papers. Priced at $299, the Burner Box comes with a Vapor Slide cannabis oil vaporizer, a high-tech hybrid that retails for $99 and works on its own or in the stem of a water pipe.
While hotels woo Burning Man attendees, that doesn’t mean they’re drug-friendly, even toward legal recreational cannabis. “Despite the fact that recreational marijuana is legal to smoke in Nevada, smoking is not allowed at any Nevada hotel either on property or in the rooms,” a public relations representative for the Grand Sierra Resort said.
You may have your favorite places to eat and drink in Reno but consider local options beyond the air-conditioned confines of casinos. Shopping for cannabis at Blum or The Dispensary in Reno’s hip Midtown district? Stop by Brasserie Saint James, winner of the Great American Beer Festival’s 2014 Mid-Size Brewpub and Mid-Size Brewpub Brewer of the Year and the inspiration for the offshoot San Francisco brewpub. The menu features Belgian- and German-style beer and beer-friendly food like steak tartare, braised short ribs and oxtails and fried chicken and waffles. Walk three blocks and you’ll reach SixFour Growlers, a barebones taproom where you can get take-out growlers filled with 30 local and regional beers. For higher style and abstract art, Loulu’s serves a sophisticated New American menu.
In downtown Reno, a meal at the Nevada Museum of Art is a must. Tucked inside the museum, Chez Louie serves French-inspired fare — pate, terrines, bouillabaisse, crepes, tartines — for lunch and dinner and fortifies Sunday brunch with a Bloody Mary bar and live jazz. After brunch, enjoy a free guided tour of the museum, an arty gem that boasts rare accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.
For hipster casual with a side of cornhole, hit The Eddy, an open-air cluster of shipping containers on the north side of the Truckee River on Sierra Street featuring three bars, multiple patios, food trailers and games, including ball-rolling bocce and beanbag-tossing cornhole.
For amusement, you could load up on edibles and lose yourself in immersive video-game-style slot machines. For non-casino shiny-object fun, check out the classic collection at the National Automobile Museum. Or test your pot-addled deductive skills and claustrophobic tolerance by locking yourself behind a door and playing an escape game at Puzzle Room.
INCLINE VILLAGE ITINERARY
About an hour’s drive from both Reno and South Lake Tahoe, Incline Village is a picturesque hamlet on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe — located smack in the heart of the fictional Ponderosa Ranch of “Bonanza” fame and home of the former theme park that celebrated the long-running TV Western.
Today, Incline Village is home to some of the richest people in America and home to one of the better brands in Nevada’s cannabis industry — NuLeaf, a dispensary with operational ties Berkeley Patients Group.
Located on the town’s main boulevard, NuLeaf hosted more than 2,000 customers in the first week it sold recreational cannabis on Aug. 5-6. Choose from NuLeaf brand flowers, concentrates and edibles grown and produced in NuLeaf’s cultivation and manufacturing facility on the other side of the Carson Range in Carson City.
Indulge in edibles then indulge yourself and your senses with spa and massage treatments at Stillwater Spa & Salon at the Hyatt.
For lunch, grab a sandwich or the fixings for a meat-and-cheese picnic at Village Meats, a full-service butcher shop and smokehouse that also serves breakfast tacos and breakfast burritos and housemade quiche. For dinner, assemble a small-plates feast a Bite, a thoughtful, casually elegant American tapas cafe. For craft beer brewed from Lake Tahoe’s famously pristine water, don’t miss the snappy Saison or toasty porter at Alibi Ale Works.
You can search Airbnb.com for cannabis-friendly private lodging. If you want to forego smoking, check into dependably comfortable Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort overlooking Crystal Bay (where luxe rooms feature Keruig coffee makers, the easiest way to prepare the cannabis-infused Jane’s Brew coffee you’ll buy at NuLeaf). But for an exotic Lake Tahoe experience as colorful as anything Hoss and Little Joe encountered with gypsies on “Bonanza,” reserve a cannabis-friendly gypsy camping trailer wagon.
Tow the wagon behind your vehicle from Reno or have it delivered to Zephyr Cove Resort’s RV Park and Campground on the South Shore. Check with the Zephyr Cove operators; they’ll tell you it’s OK for adults to smoke cannabis inside recreational vehicles and trailers.
Measuring 5 feet by 14 feet and outfitted with two double beds, propane stove, coffee press, solar-powered lights and 12-volt plugs and USB adapters for charging cellphones, Gypsy Getaway Wagon’s Sun Salutation wagon accommodates four people.
Close the door for private hot-box smoke seshes or prepare cups of cannabis-infused coffee, tea or hot chocolate (again, the Jane’s Brew brand).
Rates are $100 to $149 per night, plus $100 minimum delivery fee.
If camping under Lake Tahoe’s Ponderosa pines and the influence of cannabis isn’t entertainment enough, you can catch a show at a Stateline casino-hotel, say Cheech and Chong on Aug 18, Michael Franti and Spearhead on Sept. 15 and Los Lobos on Oct. 6, or the Electroswing Burlesque Show on Aug. 31 at The Loft Theater Dining Lounge.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE ITINERARY
Jonesing for a dab after a three-and-a-half-hour drive from the Bay Area to South Lake Tahoe? Gotta smoke a joint after a toke-free, edibles-only weekend in a Reno hotel?
California residents authorized to use medical cannabis will make Tahoe Wellness Cooperative their first stop in South Lake Tahoe, the lakefront city on the California-Nevada border.
Fragrant of cannabis, reggae music and psychedelic art, Tahoe Wellness Cooperative exudes South Lake Tahoe’s laid-back, casual vibe. Along with the only public consumption lounge in the Reno-Tahoe region, Tahoe Wellness grows its own house strains — a sativa (SourBand), an indica (The Purps) and a hybrid (Girl Scout Cookies). Bongs and rolling papers are provided in the comfortable consumption lounge, which is open all day and transforms into a solvent-free hash bar at 4:20 p.m., when you can use house e-nails and purchase hash that Tahoe Wellness staff will heat-press into oil-rich full-melt rosin at no charge.
Not from California? Don’t have a medical cannabis card? Don’t worry. The innkeeper of The Om House, Tahoe’s only bud, bed and breakfast, has you covered. Under California’s recreational cannabis law, it’s legal to gift cannabis. That sweet treat in your charming South Lake Tahoe mountain retreat won’t be chocolate on your pillow — it’s going to be Tahoe-grown cannabis that the innkeeper gifts to his guests. There’s even pipe to enjoy it.
You don’t have to be a California resident to receive or use a cannabis gift at The Om House. Just be at least 21 years old.
Craft beer drinkers, rejoice, too: The Om House also gifts crowlers of beer from South Lake Brewing Company,
Located in a tranquil, tree-filled residential neighborhood on Gardner Mountain, about a mile from where Highway 50 meets Lake Tahoe Boulevard, The Om House is a 15-minute drive to Tahoe Wellness and a 5-mile hike to picturesque Fallen Leaf Lake via a nearby trail. Priced $149 per night for two people, it’s dog-friendly, too.
Sound too good to be true? There is a catch. The Om House is strictly vegan — no meat or dairy are allowed on the property, even the grill on the deck. The Om House is well-stocked with healthful snacks and pantry items in case you get the vegan munchies from the all-natural cannabis on your pillow.
For dinner, take advantage of The Om House’s well-appointed kitchen and prepare a meal from local sources gladly recommend by the innkeeper. Or slurp dinner at The Oyster Bar at The Hard Rock Hotel and Casino across the border in Stateline, Nev., before catching an outdoor concert at the nearby MontBleu Resort Casino & Spa, one that surely will be enhanced by the edibles you consume before dinner — say Cheech and Chong on Aug 18, Michael Franti and Spearhead on Sept. 15 and Los Lobos on Oct. 6, or the Electroswing Burlesque Show on Aug. 31 at The Loft Theater Dining Lounge.
In the morning, wake and bake and rise and fly — getting as high as you can in body and mind before going as high as $299 per person takes you over Lake Tahoe via balloon. Enjoy a pre-dawn toke to start your day the cannabis connoisseur way then top off your high with a low-dose edible eaten with your bagel and vegan cream cheese and set out at sunrise for a 90-minute flight with Lake Tahoe Balloons, eventually reaching peak air altitude and peak edibles altitude at about the same time. A light meal and a glass of wine are included. Afterward, come down to earth with grounding CBD capsules or relaxing tokes at Tahoe Wellness. Balloon season ends Oct. 16.
(Recreational and Medical)
132 E 2nd St.
Sierra Wellness Connection
1605 E 2nd St #103
1085 S Virginia St., Reno
100 W Plumb Lane
(Recreational and Medical)
Silver State Relief
175 E Greg St,
195 E Glendale Ave.
(Recreational and Medical)
5105 Sun Valley Blvd., Building B
5398 Sun Valley Blvd.
2765 US Highway 50 E
135 E Clearview Dr #119
(Recreational and Medical)
NULeaf Incline Village
(Recreational and Medical)
877 Tahoe Blvd.
SOUTH LAKE TAHOE
(California Medical only)
Tahoe Wellness Collective
3445 Lake Tahoe Blvd.
The Om House
South Lake Tahoe
Reserve via Airbnb.com
Gypsy Getaway Wagons
Serving Reno-Tahoe region
Reserve via gypsygetawaywagons.com
In Nevada, cannabis is legal for adults, age 21 and older, to consume in private residences and private buildings with owners’ permission. It’s illegal to consume cannabis in public, in hotels, in casinos and in moving vehicles. You can take a 2-hour wine-tasting cruise on the lake but you can’t smoke on the water. Lake Tahoe is under the jurisdiction of the United States Coast Guard, a branch of the military that enforces federal drug laws.
Deliveries are allowed by Nevada law but under a statewide emergency order that allowed recreational cannabis sales to begin July 1, deliveries to hotels are banned. Deliveries can be made to any other public or private — a coffee house or your aunt’s house.
Nevada’s recreational pot law allows adults to purchase 1 ounce of flowers, 3.5 grams of concentrates or 3,500 mg of edibles per day. Odds are you won’t come close to consuming in a weekend.
First-timer? Resist kid-in-candy-store urges to purchase and consume mass quantities. A little pot can go a long way. One eighth of an ounce of cannabis flowers can last a seasoned cannabis user three days or more.
Go slow, star low, especially with edibles and even if you’re experienced. The standard edible portion size in Nevada is 10 mg. Some low-dose edibles are 5 mg. 25 mg is strong enough make an experienced user wobble and swoon. Eat edibles after eating other food to aid digestion. It can take up to two hours before you feel edibles’ effects. Start with 5 mg, gauge effects and consume more as desired. Sublinguals have a faster onset time. Smoking effects are immediate, vaping slightly longer. Take a puff or two, gauge effects and consume more as desired.
Hotels and Resorts
While hotels and resorts woo Burning Man attendees, that doesn’t mean they’re drug-friendly, even toward legal recreational cannabis. “Despite the fact that recreational marijuana is legal to smoke in Nevada, smoking is not allowed at any Nevada hotel either on property or in the rooms,” a public relations representative for the Grand Sierra Resort said.
Swear Off Smoking
Avoid causing any sort of stink at hotels and commit to going smoke-free in Reno, opting instead for discrete edibles, tinctures and vape pens. You won’t incur a room-cleaning fee for eating cannabis-infused candy or brewing a K-cup or pouch of Jane’s Brew cannabis-infused coffee or tea. Harrah’s, Peppermill, Whitney Peak, Hilton Garden and The Nugget feature Keurig K-cup coffeemakers in rooms.
They can’t grow pot in the high desert and mountain altitudes without water and you won’t be comfortable without it. Smoked or eaten, cannabis can dry you out. Think cottonmouth is bad? Think about headaches, dizziness and muscle cramps from dehydration.
Save your skin with cannabis-infused sunscreen. Evergreen Organix is THC infused and SPF 30. It not only provides anti-aging sunblock protection but it’s anti-inflammatory and reduces localized pain should you get burned. Available at NuLeaf, Reef, Rise, Silver State Relief, Sierra Wellness and these dispensaries.
Reciprocity is a unique Nevada program that honors medical cannabis cards from other states, allowing non-Nevada residents to purchase medical cannabis products. Not only can medical card holders avoid paying Nevada’s 10 percent excise tax but they can purchase cannabis products recreational customers can’t — like high-potency edibles up to triple the limit of the recreational market’s 100-mg-per-product-unit limit.
Cannabis and prostitution are both legal in Nevada but the twain can’t legally meet, never mind that science calls cannabis an aphrodisiac. A bill that would have authorized smoking and vaping lounges in all manner of Nevada businesses, including brothels in and around Carson City, stalled in the state Legislature in June. The governor vetoed a bill that would have legalized cannabis-infused massages. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enhance brothel sex with cannabis. Like erection enhancers Viagra and Cialis, edibles take a while to kick in so plan your aphrodisiac intake accordingly.
California Side of Lake Tahoe
Tahoe Wellness Collective is the only medical cannabis dispensary on the California side of Lake Tahoe. Dispensaries are banned on the western shore of Lake Tahoe and inland into Squaw Valley and Truckee. Delivery firms service the region.
Traveling with Pot
It’s illegal to take Nevada cannabis out of Nevada. Don’t take cannabis on airplanes. Don’t carry cannabis on Greyhound, MegaBus or Amtrak. Don’t drive across state lines with Nevada cannabis in your car. Don’t get on a local bus from Incline Village to Truckee or anywhere on Lake Tahoe’s California side.