How Massachusetts inns are going ‘420-friendly’ for travelers

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Melody Whelden has been welcoming travelers to her western Massachusetts inn for almost 20 years, but this previous year marked a 1st: An influx of out-of-state guests booked a space due to the marijuana-friendly accommodations and proximity to recreational cannabis dispensaries.

“It’s a new audience,” mentioned Whelden, a Cape Cod native. “They’ve been my small bit of a godsend when it is the dead time, exactly where I know soon after 20 years of carrying out this, you’d improved save some dollars for November and December.”

Melody’s Location, an 1860 Victorian residence in Charlemont, gives 4 “420-friendly” rooms exactly where guests can smoke outdoors on the covered porch or private deck.

“I have two rooms with a private entrance that have small decks on them,” Whelden mentioned. “So these are good spots to sit and smoke. You have to be outdoors since I have men and women who remain right here who do not smoke also.”

The term “420 friendly” seems on the inn’s web-site, Household Away, and Airbnb listings. She mentioned more than the previous six months, 50 to 60 % of her guests have been attracted by her cannabis-friendly accommodations, traveling from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and even North Carolina.

A lot of of them go to the 3 marijuana dispensaries that are inside an hour drive of her location: Berkshire Roots in Pittsfield, Insa in Easthampton, and New England Remedy Access (NETA) in Northhampton. Her place is best since of nearby seasonal offerings as nicely, she mentioned, which involve leaf peeping, skiing, and a lot more.

Whelden mentioned she’s noticed the most significant uptick in the course of midweek and off-peak travel months. November is ordinarily a slow month, but this year she’s experiencing a lot more midweek bookings, some of which have been due to interest in going to the nearby dispensaries.

A lot of Massachusetts hotels and rental accommodations have policies against employing cannabis on their home, according to the Cannabis Handle Commission, so the commission recommends checking the guidelines prior to consuming marijuana exactly where you remain. The commission’s jurisdiction is restricted to licensed marijuana establishments and health-related marijuana remedy centers, but it could start issuing licenses for social consumption establishments pending a bill prior to the legislature that would enable cities and towns to opt in to hosting such facilities.

Melody’s Location is also listed on budandbreakfast.com, which has been known as “the Airbnb of marijuana-friendly lodging.” Budandbreakfast.com, launched in Colorado in 2013, has a lot more than 1,000 listings worldwide and about 25 in Massachusetts, according to CEO Sean Roby.

“I believe, by this time subsequent year, you are going to see 100 [listings in Massachusetts], at least,” Roby mentioned. “It’s one particular state in the East exactly where you have a really smaller quantity of states, nonetheless, that have completely recreationally legalized [marijuana]. Massachusetts is setting the regular, and men and women like it.”

On the web page, travelers search for and book “420-friendly” inns, rooms, and bed and breakfasts. As with Airbnb, the host sets the price, and budandbreakfast.com receives a reduce.

“We pride ourselves in saying we list couches to castles,” Roby mentioned. “We have areas exactly where a hostel will list a space for 30, 40 bucks a evening, and then we have areas that are $three,000 a evening.”

So who are the travelers?

“We’re seeing each kind of traveler, from the Grateful Deadhead individual to the lawyer to the medical professional,” he mentioned.

Melody’s Location, a marijuana-friendly Airbnb in Charlemont.—Melody’s Location

Legalization in states such as Colorado and California has “opened up huge new tourism possibilities,” according to Beej Das, president and CEO of Troca Hotels &amp Yachts, a New England- and Florida-primarily based luxury life-style hospitality organization that contains The Stonehedge Hotel &amp Spa in Tyngsborough, which bills itself as “Massachusetts’ 1st cannabis-friendly hotel.”

Das thinks Massachusetts is poised to stick to in these states’ footsteps.

“Right now we’re at the starting of that bell curve,” he mentioned. “There’s going to be a point exactly where we’re component of a uncommon group of areas exactly where you can use cannabis in a luxury life-style setting. There’s going to be a period exactly where a lot of areas enable it.”

The Stonehedge launched a 420 practical experience package on April 20. For an added $175, guests can remain in one particular of two designated cannabis-friendly rooms with balconies, get a “munchie and hydration kit,” limitless flatbreads at the hotel’s restaurant, and a lot more. Das noted that cannabis is not incorporated, and the package’s vaporizer has been replaced with a present card because the 4-month statewide vape sales ban went into impact.

Das mentioned cannabis opens up new tourism possibilities since, like alcohol and meals, it offers an chance for men and women to socialize about an activity.

“What we realized relatively rapidly is that the men and women who are socializing about cannabis are also the men and women that attract other men and women to socialize about them,” mentioned Das.

Even though there has been “some blowback” by guests who do not smoke, Das mentioned the package has been nicely received, and a lot more cannabis-friendly plans are in the operates for 2020, he mentioned.

“We’re going to be operating with a couple of unique groups that have approached us to do dinners with edibles,” mentioned Das. “They’ll bring a chef. They’ll monitor the quantity of cannabis in unique dishes and entrees and desserts, and they will curate the practical experience for guests.”

The hotel will develop a lot more space for smokers as nicely, he mentioned, in the kind of a villa that is not connected to the most important constructing.

“The purpose we’re building that is we’re attempting to integrate two communities right here,” he mentioned.

Discretion is critical, but so is social intermingling among these who consume cannabis and these who do not, he mentioned.

“What we’re seeing is, in the end, the social mix that is made in our restaurants and lounges when you are capable to integrate the two — it is magical.”

If you go:

Melody’s Location, 193 Principal St., Charlemont, 413-337-4322

The Stonehedge Hotel &amp Spa, 160 Pawtucket Blvd., Tyngsborough, 987-649-4400



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