A Denver Hotel Wants to Be the First to Offer Guests a Cannabis Smoking Lounge
Tourists can get a rocky mountain high without having to sneak puffs out the window.
The Mile High City may soon be home to the country's first hotel featuring a cannabis-friendly smoking lounge.
The Patterson Inn, a nine-room boutique hotel in a Victorian mansion, recently applied for the state's new "marijuana hospitality" license.
Owner Chris Chiari told NBC 9 that he wants to turn the hotel into a cannabis bed and breakfast, complete with a smoking lounge. Plans call for converting the hotel's 1,000-square-foot carriage house into the lounge. Guests will pay $4.20 to enter the lounge.
Chiari also said he hopes to help solve a longstanding problem for tourists: Where can you go to smoke legal weed once you buy it?
The move could mean a major step for the cannabis industry, as most states ban the use of cannabis in unlicensed businesses (and most hotels are smoke-free, anyway).
No one knows how well a marijuana-friendly hotel will do because no one has had the chance to try it. But that may be about to change.
RELATED: The Emergence of Cannabis as Luxury
Cannabis is legal, but where do you smoke it?
The issue in Denver mirrors a problem encountered by tourists across the country. They live in a state that doesn't allow legal cannabis use, so they travel to Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas—or any number of other places where recreational and medical weed is legal. But after they buy weed from a local dispensary, where do they smoke it?
You can't smoke weed in public places, even in states where marijuana is legal (New York is not even allowing cannabis advertising on city subways, trains, or buses). Smoke-free hotels don't permit it. You certainly can't do consume in your rental car.
The situation leaves most people sneaking puffs in their hotel room and blowing into the bathroom exhaust fan—or hiding in a wooded area in a public park. It's such a common dilemma that online discussion threads are filled with suggestions of how to get away with smoking weed where you're not supposed to smoke week.
When you have to sneak around to consume pot, it defeats the whole idea of legalization.
Marijuana hospitality to the rescue
In an interview with NBC 9, Chiari said he wants to provide a safe, accommodating place where adult tourists can enjoy their purchases like adults. "This is going to get tourists off our sidewalks, out of our parks, out of their cars, and into a space that complements and is accessory to hospitality," he said.
He also said hotel employees could help tourists make better decisions about using cannabis. "By having the open dialogue with concierge and innkeepers when you check in, we hope consumers will make smarter decisions and take the advice of 'start low and go slow,'" he said.
Under the rules updated in 2021 by the City of Denver, applications for marijuana hospitality licenses are reserved for social equity applicants until July 2027. The city also makes it clear that no hospitality business - or any type of business - can allow marijuana consumption on its property or conduct any kind of marijuana-related business without the proper city permit.
While marijuana hospitality is allowed at the state level, cities must opt into it. For example, while Denver is moving ahead, the city council in Aurora recently came to a deadlock on the issue.