It’s legal! (But where to do it outside your home?)

by Jennifer F. Knight

Do you think we should have at least one Durango-area lodging establishment that’s willing to accommodate cannabis and tourism by offering inconspicuous 420-friendly hotel rooms and suites?

Watching “Pulp Fiction” in an undisclosed Durango hotel room with a couple Sweet (South West Expert Extraction Technology) CO2 Hash Oil cartridges and a king’s share of Vitamin C helped me choose this week’s topic: Responsible adults who are visiting Durango for all sorts of reasons and would like to smoke pot in a reasonably nice hotel room while they’re here, for fun.

The scene that stuck out was Jules and Vincent discussing legal cannabis in Amsterdam. Vincent explains it this way: “Yeah, it’s legal, but it ain’t a hundred percent legal. I mean, you can’t walk into a restaurant, roll a joint, and start puffin’ away. They want you to smoke in your home or certain designated places … breaks down like this, OK: it’s legal to buy it, it’s legal to own it, and if you’re the proprietor of a hash bar, it’s legal to sell it. It’s illegal to carry it, but that doesn’t really matter ’cause, get a load of this, all right; if you get stopped by the cops in Amsterdam, it’s illegal for them to search you. I mean, that’s a right the cops in Amsterdam don’t have.”

So how would Vincent have broken it down if he and Jules had been rapping about how to safely and enjoyably consume cannabis during a trip to Durango? I can only imagine it would go something like this: It’s legal to buy it, it’s legal to own it, and if you possess a badge from the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division that allows you to work for a licensed medical or retail marijuana dispensary, then it’s legal to sell it. It’s legal to carry it, but only if you’re holding an ounce or less. It’s illegal to consume it in public, but the anti-prohibition folks in some of Durango’s sister-type cities like Denver are working on it, thanks to ballot measures like Initiative 300, which was recently approved to allow for new rules and regulations on social use. But Durango wouldn’t dare go that far, would it?

Colorado marijuana law allows for hotels and private rental properties to decide for themselves whether to allow guests to consume marijuana on-property. Most hotels are smoke-free, wherein restrictions apply to every type of smoking, but the website purports that many Colorado hotels will accommodate the use of vaporizers in-room or in designated outside areas, like patios or balconies. And this seems to also be the case in Durango, for the most part.

I made exactly 10 phone calls to local establishments asking if they had any designated smoking rooms. None of them do. And then I drilled down if they let me, with questions about whether guests can vape nicotine and/or marijuana concentrates in a guest room or in a designated outside area. Nine out of 10 times, my inquiry was welcomed and I was treated with dignity and respect as a potential customer, even when they couldn’t accommodate my request for cannabis-friendly digs. Only one of 10 hoteliers treated me otherwise.

During a call to one locally-owned and operated hotel, the front desk attendant described their policy like this: “It’s legal here in town for adults over 21, but you can’t smoke anything in the rooms. I mean, you’re not even supposed to light a candle in your room for insurance reasons. Edibles are OK though, and we don’t really mind if guests vape in their rooms, within reason of course. But if you want to smoke, you have to go outside, and we ask that you be as discreet as possible so as not to offend the other guests who don’t want to be around it.” Perfectly reasonable.

But another inquiry to a franchise hotel in Bodo with corporate offices in Arizona and Maryland brandished this hypersensitive result: “Absolutely not! No chance. We do NOT allow marijuana on this property at all – no matter what, legal or not. Have a nice day.” And by “Have a nice day,” she must have meant “Goodbye” because her next move was a rather abrupt end to our conversation – she hung up on me. I found no comfort in the experience at all, but I guess that just means reefer madness is still alive and well in certain corporations.

As far as I know, there is not a hotel in Durango that chooses to openly admit that they are OK with the smoking of marijuana on hotel property. This means there is no place in town other than private residences and vacation rentals that offer cannabis-friendly lodging for pot smoking patrons, with vacation rental permits of course, but many hotels are open to allowing its guests to vape and/or consume edibles with discretion and something they call “quiet enjoyment for all” being of the utmost importance.

Jennifer Knight is a freelance writer, thanks in no small part to her day job at Durango Solar Works. ([email protected])Roldo (the illustrator) is an ink-slinging angel, an investor of true talent.


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