In the grand tradition of British journalists looking askance at various corners of U.S. culture, the BBC's Peter Day recently had a funny old time in weed-legalized Denver, Colorado. He stayed at a Bed & Breakfast which caters specifically to marijuana smokers. Bud & Breakfast, a chain of slickly marketed, aptly named and heavily themed B&Bs allows its guests to smoke and partake in marijuana in its communal areas—4/20 happy hours and all.
"Even before breakfast the smoke is wafting up from out-of-towners, pot tourists who have flown into Denver to escape from being criminals in their own state because they use Mary Jane," wrote Day, who noted that, to him, "nibbling cannabis mint or a bit of marijuana chocolate still seems a little bit foolish."
Each to their own, Mr Day. But the reporter rightly described how there is nothing frivolous about Colorado's growing weed industry since recreational use was legalized in 2014. A business like Bud & Breakfast exemplifies the sort of entrepreneurial operations finding openings in the new market and its various regulatory and legal potholes.
Bud & Breakfast CEO Joel Schneider, a New Yorker who moved to Denver specifically to take advantage of legal weed and its business opportunities, is an unabashed pot fan. The former lawyer knew the annoyance of "smoking in hotel bathrooms, shower on, towel under the door," he told HIGH TIMES. He wanted to create a safe space for people to "smoke and share." His is one of the many auxiliary business to the legal weed market —Bud & Breakfast has relationships with major dispensaries, but doesn't sell anything except paraphernalia to hotel guests.
While it's illegal to smoke in public and in bars, a B&B offers guests the residential status in which smoking on the premises is permitted. Strangers can't walk in off the street, and the B&Bs are locked and gated. Nonetheless, as an explicitly weed-friendly business, advertised as such, Schneider had his bank accounts at JP Morgan Chase closed and initially struggled to find credit card processing services. These were teething troubles, overcome with the use of more accommodating services and a credit union. Schneider has faced just one legal charge for the petty offense of allegedly sharing above the permitted daily one ounce of marijuana per day, for which he paid a $50 fines and some hefty legal fees.
"I'm no martyr," he explained.
And, indeed, there's nothing politically radical in a high-end B&B chain catering to well-off weed fans. One of the three locations charges between $299 – $399 per night, and a less expensive site costs around $199. It's a smart business idea and a good service, no more, no less.
Texans make up a large part of the clientele, but Schneider has hosted guests from around the country and world.
"These are largely baby boomers, reasonably high income," he said, "but they're not all white."
There's no reason to think that legal weed will go any other way but that of alcohol. Safe, comfortable and legal spaces for communal consumption proliferate—for those who can afford them.
(Photo Courtesy of Bud+Breakfast)