You’re checking out Crater Lake National Park in Oregon. The sun is setting, all purple, pink, and orange. You’re soaking it all in at the campsite you just paid $30 for, prepping your chili, and sipping a beer from Klamath Basin Brewing. Recreation marijuana is legal in the state. So, you roll a spleef and light it up. And then—buzz kill!— a ranger comes and slaps you with a misdemeanor drug charge and 3 months of probation.

 Every time you step foot into a national park, you’ve effectively left the state behind, and are standing on land controlled by the federal government. This means state laws don’t apply there.–High Times 

An article in High Times last month discussed the ins and outs of smoking weed in a national park. There are currently 9 states in the U.S. that have legalized recreational marijuana. In those 9 states, there are 28 national parks.

But even in states where both recreational and medical marijuana are illegal—and even socially acceptable—like Wyoming, the rules change once you pass through park gates. Once you step foot in Grand Teton National Park, technically, you aren’t following Wyoming’s laws anymore. Instead, since national parks belong to the federal government, you’re in their jurisdiction.

The reason you can’t use pot there, or any other national park, is because smoking marijuana in public is illegal regardless of where you are. Plus, most national parks are completely smoke-free anyway.

While there are rumors that you can get away with smoking a jay, we wouldn’t bet on it. According to Leafly, a cannabis information resource, park visitors who are caught with weed, are being charged with a misdemeanor drug possession and put on probation. 

So ultimately, even though you may want to feel a true Rocky Mountain high, it’s best to partake in cannabis at a residence or other spot where it’s legal.

Is this news to you? We want to know – have you ever smoked pot in a national park?


Kristen Soderman entered this photo in the 2015 National Park Photo Contest sponsored by Tamron.

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