At 4:20 p.m. most afternoons, guests at Camp Laughing Grass gather around the pavilion for happy hour. Unlike most happy hour gatherings, however, you will not find low priced cocktails or discounted appetizers. Instead, you’ll find happy campers passing around a blunt or joint.

Nestled on the banks of the Crooked River off Edes Fall Road in Harrison, Camp Laughing Grass offers visitors a unique camping experience. Marijuana is not only allowed, but encouraged.

“We are adult-only, and we won’t kick you out when we find you smoking weed,” said Camp Laughing Grass founder and owner Trinity Madison.

Maine legalized the recreational use, retail sale and taxation of marijuana in 2016, and after purchasing the 17-acre site in 2019, Madison, a Cumberland County resident, decided to open a 21 and over cannabis-friendly campground. Campers bring their own marijuana supply.

“We live in a legal recreational state. I can go in many places and buy weed legally, but there is no place I can legally sit down and smoke that weed. That’s frustrating,” Madison said.

A camper uses a Volcano Vaporizer at Camp Laughing Grass during a 4:20 happy hour celebration. A camper uses a Volcano Vaporizer at Camp Laughing Grass during a 4:20 happy hour celebration. The vaporizer uses heat to fill up a large plastic balloon with vapor, allowing users to take hits from the balloon. Emma Sorkin / Lakes Region Weekly

The campground opened for the 2021 season – after a soft opening last year –on May 27. With 10 campsites – a combination of cabins, glamping and primitive tent sites – Camp Laughing Grass is already sold out for weekends this season and mid week vacancies are limited. All sites can be reserved through AirBnb. 

Each site comes with access to a fire pit and bathhouse, as well as access to picnic tables, hiking and biking trails, and kayaks and canoes. The glamping sites and cabins range from $119 to $139 per night, while the primitive tent sites can be reserved at $59 per night. A groundskeeper lives on site.

“It’s a nice little campground. It’s clean. It’s quiet. You get lots of like-minded people, which is nice,” camper and Maine native Emily Conner said at the camp last week. “You don’t have to worry about the stigma (around marijuana) like you would at a normal campground.”

Madison has organized cannabis events in the state for the past few years. In 2017, she planned a “Bud and Breakfast” event at the Cornish Inn that was canceled by the town prior to its start. 

That didn’t dissuade her, however, and she continued searching for a way to make her dream of a cannabis-friendly destination a reality. Unlike the reception Bud and Breakfast received in Cornish, Camp Laughing Grass has been welcomed to the area, Madison said. 

“The neighbors are really lovely. The town of Harrison has been really great, very welcoming,” she said.

Cumberland County Chief Deputy Naldo Gagnon says they have not received any calls or complaints about the camp.

“They’re running a legit system,” he said.

The camp is the only one of its kind in Maine “that I’m aware of,” Madison said. She hopes cannabis friendly campgrounds will become regular operations throughout the state and across the country. 

“This is the first I’ve heard of something like this,” said camper Russell Schiller who made the trek from Rhode Island to Harrison. “It’s awesome.”

The camp can host a maximum of 30 guests at one time. Guests come from a range of states and countries, including an incoming group of guests from Ireland. Madison also said the age of her clients varies.

Many campers said the social aspect of Camp Laughing Grass sets it apart from other campgrounds. The social nature of smoking and sharing stories and marijuana has helped the campers bond. 

Camp Laughing Grass will stay open until Sept. 17, but Madison is working with a contractor to winterize parts of the camp with plans to open for a winter season this year. Guests would have to snowshoe or snowmobile into camp during the winter season.

Until then, Madison remains busy with a nearly fully booked summer season.

“The property is really, really beautiful. It’s very serene, very quiet. I have 10 sites, and I’m sold out,” Madison said. “I’m nervous, (but) I love what I’m doing. People are so happy at camp.”

I definitely want to make this a yearly thing,” Conner said.

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