Missouri Is on the Brink of Allowing Hotels and Airbnbs to Become 420-Friendly Locations
For a small fee of $50, hotels and Airbnbs may have the chance to obtain a special license that would allow them to legally accommodate medical cannabis patients.
Published on January 26, 2021

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Admittedly, it’s not the most thrilling moment for the travel industry. All the same, medical marijuana patients with a trip to Missouri on the horizon will be happy to know that a bill has been introduced that could make it legal to consume cannabis in hotels and Airbnbs with legal patient identification. 

Sponsored by Ron Hicks (R-MO), the “Reduction of Illegal Public Consumption by Allowing for Compassionate Access to Medical Marijuana Act” would establish a licensing system for all “lodging establishments.” 

Requirements would include each lodging facility to pay a $50 fee to register and verify that each patient has legal permission to use medical cannabis. Acceptable forms of patient identification include a Missouri-issued medical marijuana ID card, or “equivalent card issued by another state.” 

Missouri is home to over 60,000 medical marijuana patients, and its first licensed cannabis sales took place in October. Another bill was introduced this past December by the state’s House of Representatives that could give residents a chance to vote on an adult-use cannabis ballot measure in 2022.  

The proposed legislation would require that such buildings post a notice near all entrances stating that medicinal cannabis usage is approved on-site, and require areas of consumption to be 20 feet or further from areas that do not allow cannabis consumption. 

If people are caught using medicinal marijuana at a lodging establishment that doesn’t have a legal consumption permit, owners would be subject to a $1000 fine — an amount that doubles for the second offense, and can eventually cost the location its on-site consumption license.

This is not the first piece of cannabis legislation sponsored by Hicks. He has also introduced bills to protect parents who use medical marijuana and want to adopt or foster children. Hicks has also pushed for legislation to expunge cannabis offenses from patients’ records. 

Airbnb reportedly doesn’t have a problem with cannabis consumption on its rental properties. In fact, there are places to stay in weed legal states that are specifically marketed as “420-friendly,” “green-friendly” — you get the picture. Perhaps due to continuing federal prohibition, there’s still no “can I consume cannabis here?” search filter on Airbnb’s website. 

Several marijuana-themed lodging sites, like Bud and Breakfast, provide limited options. Consumers can also check-in to hotels around the world that have utilized marijuana to attract tourism, from Jamaica’s Coral Cove to Portland’s Jupiter Hotel

But, the grass isn’t greener everywhere for cannabis-consuming tourists. Amsterdam’s Mayor Femke Halsema has proposed a ban on selling marijuana to visitors as a way to crack down on the criminal organizations currently supplying much of the town’s product. (Not an incomprehensible outcome in a country that legalized personal possession but not production, distribution, or legal sales.)

A study by the city found that 57 percent of Amsterdam’s tourists said that visiting one of the city’s world-famous coffeeshops was a “very important reason for their visit.” Why take that away, when introducing effective legislation would increase revenue and push organized crime out of the city? Cannabis tourism is the future — and somehow Missouri is ahead of Amsterdam on that front.

Caitlin Donohue
Caitlin Donohue is a Bay Area-raised, Mexico City-based cannabis writer and author of She Represents: 44 Women Who Are Changing Politics and the World. Her weekly show Crónica on Radio Nopal explores Mexican marijuana culture and politics in the prohibition era. Follow Caitlin on IG @byrdwatch.
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