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Can I Smoke in Yellowstone? How about marijuana?

Smoking is permitted only inside vehicles and designated areas. It's forbidden in thermal and natural areas. Boom! As for possessing marijuana, it's illegal on Federal land.

Permitted: Smoking inside vehicles, on sidewalks, in gravel or paved parking areas, in developed campgrounds, immediately adjacent to backcountry fire rings, and in designated smoking areas inside buildings.

Strictly Forbidden: Smoking in all public areas, visitor centers, and ranger stations. In addition, smoking is not allowed on trails and in thermal areas. 

Litter of all types is a problem, but cigarette butts can become especially numerous if smoking is allowed in natural areas.

Smoking also is a fire hazard. The great fire of 1988, the largest in Yellowstone’s history, started as three smaller fires that merged together. Two were started by lightning. One was started by a cigarette. The person responsible was caught by using DNA evidence from the cigarette butt.

Why can’t I smoke at the geyser basin areas?

Most thermal areas have sulfur deposits lying on the surface. When sulfur catches fire, dangerous, sometimes lethal, fumes are given off. This is a chance we just aren’t willing to take.

Is it legal to have marijuana in Yellowstone?

On federal land, as throughout Wyoming and Idaho, marijuana possession remains illegal. What happens when a person is caught with marijuana in Yellowstone or Grand Teton National Parks? Marijuana possession on federal land, such as a national park, national forest or BLM land, is a federal crime. It is punishable by up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine. Source:

Recently, Yellowstone pot possession arrests have risen. Many people who legally buy marijuana in neighboring states think that they can legally carry the drug into other states.

Alex Freeburg, a criminal defense lawyer in Jackson, Wyoming, frequently handles marijuana possession cases from Yellowstone. He told KOMO News that his clients often are surprised when they’re charged for small amounts of marijuana.

“I think that it’s fair to say that it is the legalization in a couple of states. They know it’s illegal but they don’t think it’s a crime,” Freeburg said. “There’s some sort of disconnect.”

The typical marijuana case arises from a traffic stop in which rangers say they smell the drug in the vehicle.

“And most people, most of the time, if a ranger says, ‘Do you have any marijuana in your car?’ they’ll say yes,” Freeburg said. “In which case, there’s not a lot a criminal defense attorney can do for them.” Those convicted of misdemeanor possession commonly receive a $1,000 fine. Source: