Are you looking to visit Chicago to try some of the Windy City’s newly legal weed, but you can’t find a hotel that will let you blaze in private? Well, you’re in luck.
When Illinois became the 11th state to begin selling legal recreational weed on January 1, Chicago instantly joined the likes of Denver, Los Angeles, and Seattle among the nation’s top cannabis tourism destination spots. And since most hotel and motel chains ban smoking of any kind, tobacco or otherwise, that leaves peer-to-peer hospitality services such as Bud and Breakfast to fill in the gap.
“Some of the accommodations in Chicago are getting booked every day,” said Bud and Breakfast’s CEO Sean Roby to the Chicago Sun-Times. “The whole reason for Bud and Breakfast is to provide a safe and legal haven.”
Like pretty much every other state with adult-use weed, no one is permitted to blaze in public. Smoking out in the open can result in a ticket and a small fine, and toking up in a hotel room can lead to pricey clean-up fees, if not being kicked out of the hotel altogether. That means tourists are stuck with having no place to consume — that is, unless they book a space with a 420-friendly peer-to-peer hospitality service such as Bud and Breakfast.
“If you twist one up at the Ritz, they'll have you arrested," said Dave Power, who worked as a desk clerk at a weed-friendly hotel in Colorado in 2015. "This has been, I think… a boon for business. It attracts a different crowd."
"They don't make noise, they don't throw Jack Daniels bottles through the walls,” Power added.
BnBs such as Bud and Breakfast aren’t dingy affairs, either. These are comfortable, cozy, upscale weed spots with far more personality and flair than one would find at most higher-end hotels. Currently, the company hosts 20 homes, condos, or apartments for visitors, and one even comes with a fully stocked snack bar. Munchies happen, after all.
“Hotels, [bed and breakfasts], yoga studios, event spaces and others are finding ways to cater to and bring together a still nascent cannabis culture,” said Andy Seeger, an analyst at the cannabis research firm the Brightfield Group. “Local consumers, and certainly the out-of-state customer, are looking for the industry to guide them.”
Of course, Bud and Breakfast isn’t the only company offering options so tourists can get legally lit. The Aldrich Guest House is a tried-and-true bed-and-breakfast located on the Illinois-Wisconsin border where guests can spark ganja. Springfield, Illinois is set to open the state’s first licensed pot lounge so tourists can smoke in a social setting, and Chicago officials are currently considering allowing weed smoking at tobacco shops and hookah lounges.
Weed-friendly hospitality is now following cannabis legalization as it sweeps the nation and the globe. Towns near the world-famous Coachella music festival are building pot resorts so partiers can keep blazing long after the headliners take their final bow. Luxury hotels are now offering CBD products on their room service menus. Some weed lounges are even hosting sex clubs for kinkier cannabis consumers. It’s just a matter of time before mega-destinations such as Disney World and Universal Studios build their own themed smoking sections — for the adults, of course.