Boating, floating, and weed

Boating, floating, and weed


Summer is coming, and that means summer activities like float trips on the river and camping with friends. With 50,000 patients in Missouri and the numbers growing each week, there will definitely be medical cannabis patients floating and camping this summer (assuming this is a normal summer, and not overtaken by a virus and social distancing).

So, can you smoke weed while you are floating or camping? Can you even possess cannabis while at the river?

Greenway talked to Christopher McHugh, attorney at Joseph Hollander and Craft.

He said smoking on the river is a no.

Chris McHugh

McHugh told Greenway that this is clearly defined in the law as not permissible because you are not allowed to publicly consume cannabis, even as a legal patient. Patients cannot smoke on what is considered to be a private property that is open to the public, like sections of the river on people’s land that is used for public camping grounds.

According to McHugh, this applies to all consumption methods, even something as discrete as infused gummies.

McHugh said that there could possibly be some leeway when it comes to cannabis consumption in your own tent. While the tent is technically on public campgrounds, your tent is your private property. This doesn’t mean to flaunt your joint around, but McHugh didn’t seem concerned with a medical patient quickly and discreetly getting the medicine they need in their tent while on their trip.


He emphasized, “It is the constitutional right of medical patients in Missouri to be able to use cannabis.”

As far as possessing cannabis, it is also your constitutional right to have your medicine on your person. If you are within your 4 oz limit, there is no reason you should be prosecuted. This brings a lot of comfort to medical patients who are traveling and may have their medicine in their cars.

Though cannabis consumption at the river falls under the broad category of public use, the constitution does explicitly say that cannabis should not be consumed on or before operating a motorboat, so be mindful of this law before embarking on a lake cruise. In this case, even if you own your boat, there is not much legal protection based on the claim that your boat is your own private property. There are also very weird laws surrounding water and what parts of the water are considered private or public property.

These laws are not unique to Missouri. There aren’t many public areas that are open for cannabis consumption in the United States. They are becoming more and more popular though, and places like Oregon and Colorado are creating cannabis-friendly campgrounds. The privately-owned Bandon Wayside Motel + RV park is one of those places, their website says “Guest rooms and RV park are non-smoking/vape, however, we have comfortable designated smoking areas for both cannabis and tobacco.”

The Canyonside Campground near Fort Collins, Colorado, and Smoke on the Water in Oregon are two other campsites that allow campers to use cannabis on their property. Canyonside even offers cannabis concierge services and a handy list of nearby dispensaries. Smoke on the Water refers to themselves as a “cannabis resort” in Selma, Oregon. Like the other cannabis-friendly campgrounds, Smoke on the Water is privately owned.

It will be interesting to see if any cannabis-friendly campgrounds open in Missouri. The state would first have to pass adult-use cannabis into law, but with all of the campgrounds, parks, and land in Missouri, there’s a good chance we could see some 420 campsites in the future.