Dispensaries are not the only businesses benefitting from Colorado's phenomenal "green rush." In fact, Colorado's legalization of cannabis in 2014 produced a significant "ripple" effect among a number of other industries, from security and marketing to web hosting and limousine services.
One of the businesses intimately tied to marijuana is hospitality and tourism — particularly hotels. Throughout the Centennial State, commercial lodging has experienced a large and dynamic boom.
What is going on in this industry? How does the exploding trade in cannabis relate to the hotel and lodging industry?
Let's take a peek.
The Tourist Industry & Cannabis: A Love-Hate Relationship?
Despite the exploding popularity of legal cannabis, there is a slightly funky relationship between marijuana, on one hand, and the tourism industry, on the other. Consider the following:
- The state tourism industry is reluctant to market Colorado as the “Cannabis State” because — like it or not — there remain lingering, negative perceptions of its use. Despite the millions generated for the state treasury in tax revenue, there still exists traditional, public perceptions of the "stoner." Old stereotypes die hard…
- As more states legalize marijuana, however, residual negative attitudes will likely dissipate:
- The reality is that most canna-tourists to Colorado make up every demographic imaginable, from stockbrokers, entrepreneurs, first-timers, and newlyweds to medical patients, twentysomethings, and grandparents.
- The largest number of canna-visitors come from illegal states — Namely, Texas, Florida, Ohio, and New York.
420 Hotels: Some Dos and Don'ts
Before you set off and make any reservations, be aware of the following, general guidelines:
- Remember, marijuana is still illegal under federal law
- Colorado law allows hotels — and private rental properties — the ability to choose whether or not to allow guests to consume marijuana on the premises.
- One catch: Under the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, 75% of rooms in hotels are mandated smoke-free (Which includes any type of smoking, including tobacco).
- A number of cannabis-friendly establishments will advertise "full combustion permitted."
- 420 hotels will discreetly allow vaping on a deck or patio.
- Restrictions usually do not apply to edibles and tinctures.
- A friendly tip: Use a vaporizer pen (They give off no smoke and very little odor).
- Remember: Just because a hotel allows smoking does not mean that it endorses the practice — be discreet.
- Be sure to check out the smoking policy of your hotel before you check in!
The Hip Alternative: "Bud-and-Breakfasts"
One of the hottest trends in cannatourism are so-called "bud-and-breakfasts." These establishments are privately-owned properties that offer a number of significant advantages over hotels:
- Colorado's Clean Indoor Air Act limits hotels to a maximum of 25% smoking rooms (Recall that the remaining 75% are designated non-smoking). Smoking is also prohibited in public spaces. As a result, many hotels are up against a litany of tight regulations.
But not bud-and-breakfasts!
- Private property owners can (mostly) get around state consumption regulations
- Bud-and-breakfasts range in size and amenities from a basic student-like hostel to a luxurious spa. This virtually ensures that you can find anything to suit your taste — and your budget.
- Who is using bed-and-breakfasts? Not just vacationers, but people seeking medical cannabis or couples on a weekend get-a-way. The image of the "stoner" — complete with lava lamps and Grateful Dead posters — is quickly becoming a thing of the past!
420 Hotel Amenities
A virtually-endless array of options is available to the 420 hotel user. Choices and bargains are to be had, everywhere. The following amenities are to found at most cannabis-friendly hotels and bud-and-breakfasts:
- Free shuttle service to/from Denver International Airport
- Low-cost vaporizer and dab rig rentals
- Package deals, offering discounts on tours, shops, classes , and stores
- Complimentary breakfasts
- Pet friendly accommodations (Often requires a deposit of $15-$100, depending on size/weight of the animal)
- Kitchenettes, with microwaves and refrigerators
- Studios, one- and-two bedrooms
- Balconies/no balconies
- Free wi-fi
- Cannabis-infused massages
- Room service
- Valet parking
- Concierge services
- Complimentary receptions
- In-house restaurants/breweries
- Guest laundry
- Work spaces
- Free, locally-guided tours
- Bike rentals
- Wedding packages
- Often, no minimum nights' stay
- Patios, with fire pits and BBQ
When Booking a 420 Hotel Reservation, Think About The Following:
- Many 420 hotels (and bud-and-breakfasts) are within close proximity to all sorts of local attractions — breweries, theatres, sports venues, restaurants, museums, and local landmarks. Plan ahead!
- There are currently so many choices of hotels and bud-and-breakfasts that you can afford to be choosey.
- Prices typically range from $150 – $250 per night, but the sky is the limit. . .
- To court your business, business owners offer a large number of amenities, perks, and discounts. The bottom line? With some savvy shopping online, your dollar can go far!
- Remember: Cannabis cannot be taken outside the state.
- Incorporate your stay into a larger travel plan. Take-in the other sights, sounds, and tastes of Colorado!