Vacation can be a hall pass to hedonism: Champagne with your coffee before the sun rises, opulent dessert spreads capping each meal, and—increasingly—multiple blunts of that good-good. Even if you don’t use a new zip code as an excuse to ensconce yourself in the warm embrace of epicurean cosplay, you probably expect baseline comforts in your home away from home. For many, that increasingly means a pleasant, private space for a nightcap pairing of Bell’s Quinannan Falls India Pale Lager with an ebullient, indica-dominant pre-roll and no pants—with no immediate threat of arrest for those last two factors.
Though some areas, like New York State and Washington D.C., have decriminalized use, cannabis consumption is still banned in the public sphere in all 27 states that have some sort of legality on the books. Meanwhile, private spaces—from Airbnbs to bed and breakfasts—can vary widely in their weed friendliness. By 2019, coffee-shop chalkboards exalting $12 CBD-laced lattes aren’t going to make up for a lack of place in which to partake. Where…can you do that?
Almost 20 years before all this, Sean Roby—a dude who grew up in his family’s vineyards around Napa—saw the writing on the wall. Back in the early ’00s, Roby ran wine tours, and started to notice cannabis plants in hidden corners of the California vineyards’ properties, likely in the wake of the state passing medical legislation for the plant in 1996.
“Wine tourism is gonna be cannabis tourism,” Roby says. “I decided it just kind of hit me: Bud and Breakfast.”
He bought the domain name for “about $6.” The idea—pretty evident by the business name—came into fruition in 2013, when Roby officially started taking bookings. Bud and Breakfast has since expanded ganj-hospitable rentals into the hundreds, from Jamaica and Uruguay to Washington D.C. and, of course, Colorado, where operations are based.
“Cannabis-friendly could be anything, really,” Roby says. “It's a real wide spectrum, so we have places on our website that are 420-friendly where they're fine with you smoking outside and there's a dispensary around the corner to full-blown, all-inclusive bud and breakfasts where you get there and there's a bud bar, there's a cannabis yoga class happening, there's a CBD-infused massage, there's sushi- and joint-rolling classes. Right now there's some people in Sonoma County and southern Mendocino that are putting in a zipline in their vineyard. You zipline over the Pinot Noir, and there's the OG Kush and there's the Cabernet Sauvignon, you know? People are really getting creative with this whole thing. It's pretty cool.”
Roby wasn’t the only one who looked forward and saw green. A number of weed-specific hospitality companies have also rolled out since The Guardian called Bud and Breakfast “the Airbnb of marijuana tourism” back in 2015. Self-identified stoners increasingly have options when traveling to cities like Denver and Portland. All-inclusive services such as Kush Tourism and My 420 Tours, which offer everything from greenhouse grow tours to weed-themed bus tours, make it easy to have a fully hotboxed experience beyond where you lay your head.
As for the problem of a pre-bedtime toke, something feels non-romantically teenaged about stuffing a towel under the door before lighting a jay. Of course, very few hotels offer (cigarette-)smoking rooms these days, which could make a paranoid, stoned person even more paranoid about sensitive smoke alarms. Hotels aside, sharing economy options are often a better bet, though still operate on a case-by-case basis.
You can toggle for dog-friendly options, but Airbnb has yet to add a “blunt$$$ 4 dayz” checkbox in its amenities criteria, just below “indoor fireplace.” Thirty-one-year-old Tanner (he preferred to keep his last name private in this piece) was careful to look for subtle hints when booking a Denver Airbnb for a wedding in October because “we wanted the freedom to smoke in and around our accommodations without violating our host’s rules.” His group ended up settling on what turned out to be a “loud and proud” space.
“There was a pipe, papers, and a grinder in the bedside table that we made good use of, as well,” Tanner, who was visiting from Canada (which has since completely legalized cannabis), says. “We smoked weed in bed, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, and in the backyard. Basically, we just felt comfortable possessing and using cannabis and edibles in the space without fear of pissing off or getting a poor review from the host. The process of booking the space and describing ourselves to the [host] in our introductory message—and the anticipation of staying in a self-identified 420-friendly place—was almost more fun and exciting than actually being in it.”
Plenty of people who toke daily may not even think to include an herbal search term when planning, say, where to stay for a baby shower in San Diego (where adult use is legal and popular), let alone a business trip in Monticello, Georgia (where cannabis is not legal in any sense).
Increasingly, Airbnbs in legal spots include some sort of rundown of the host’s weed preferences. At an Airbnb in Denver’s artsy (and stony) RiNo Art District that I booked last fall, there were simple stipulations with regards to cannabis use in the informational Trapper Keeper, alongside museum suggestions and instructions for using the Apple TV. My host, who says his personal relationship with cannabis is limited to popping the occasional edible, explained:
“We know Denver pretty well and know that there's a lot of people that are coming to Colorado, because their own state doesn't allow it recreationally, and that's a part of their experience… We wanted to be up front about what we were comfortable with and allowing it to be consumed on the patio seems like the best solution to where it wouldn't affect future guests or anything.”
Sometimes hosts don’t exactly offer permission or clear stipulations. Airbnb, as a company, has never officially released a pothead protocol. (They did not respond to requests for comment for this story, either.) Given the rich tapestry of Airbnb cautionary tales, from “drug-induced orgies” to properties being used as porn settings, emptying a porch-side ashtray seems a small ask of any host, regardless of federal regulations.
Unfortunately, asking for a host’s permission to fire up—especially through Airbnb’s official messaging platform—could implicate either party and possibly risk legal consequences. (The threat of losing a spot on the website could be enough to keep a host lukewarm on the matter.) One Brooklyn-based friend of mine, who preferred not to be named, says he reaches out to hosts (in legal and non-legal states alike) prior to staying, asking for their blessing to blaze on the patio, if available. He says he always promises to abstain from smoking indoors as well as being mindful of errant embers in dryer climates. More than anything, this particular friend says he’s trying to dodge fees (or a bad rating) that may incur from leaving a skunky smoke smell behind and/or violating house rules.
Many guests skip asking altogether. “I do smoke at them, [but] usually bring oil to vape so I don’t draw attention to it,” Ash, a 30-something in Atlanta, says about her accommodations in general, not just Airbnb. “I’ll usually try and use it outside or in the bathroom with the vent, just in case.” Other folks have reported clandestine patio smoking or exhaling into a running stove vent to cover bases.
There may be no need for such precautions or conversations in the near future, as businesses like Roby’s continue to bud up and expand beyond a niche clientele. Boutique Portland, Oregon joint Jupiter Hotel now offers the city’s “first hotel cannabis package”—but there’s a catch.
“As the hotel cannot actually provide any cannabis products that contain THC, the package includes the Everything but the Weed kit,” Jupiter’s community manager Katie Watkins explains. “We partnered with Jayne [a Portland dispensary], who provides a nice starter kit including everything from rolling papers to a grinder. It also includes a vape pen, a discount to Jayne to actually purchase cannabis, Oregon Leaf magazine, a Jupiter T-shirt, and some munchies, including a discount to After Dark Cookies, who will deliver late night fresh-baked cookies.”
Oregon’s Clean Air Act bars the hotel from advertising smoking anything in an enclosed space. “I mean,” Watkins says, “in a private guest room, you could conceivably consume cannabis in other methods. We just legally cannot condone it.”
If Canada’s boom in luxury pot resorts is any indication, the same could start populating the United States as legislation continues to roll out. Until then—when we do have that check box available on booking sites—we may all be relegated to the back porch.