TravelTHC is an accommodation service that offers the intoxicating blend of helping tourists to get high, legally, while on holiday in a stranger’s home
Friday 20 November 2015 13.05 GMT
|Totally smokin’ ... TravelTHC allows tourists to rent a holiday home where they can enjoy their weed freely. Photograph: PR|
As the whirlwind success of the marijuana social network Massroots has demonstrated, there is a substantial appetite for cannabis-related services. This is especially true in US states such as Colorado and Oregon, where, in October, buying marijuana for recreational use from dispensaries became legal. But while the app’s success shows what an online service can achieve, tackling the practical issues of consumption, and tourism, are more complicated.
Tourists in Colorado, for example, face the Amendment 64 conundrum, which allows the consumption of marijuana, but only in a private home and with permission from the owner. There are some hotels that allow vaping in rooms but the law allows a maximum of 25% of rooms to be marijuana-friendly. Enter Greg Drinkwater, who while discussing this puzzle with friends on a visit to Denver in 2013, had a lightbulb moment: AirTHC. Yes, an Airbnb-style service for the cannabis-inclined. Launched in April 2014, AirTHC (the name has since been changed to TravelTHC due to potential copyright infringement) helps tourists fulfil the dream of getting stoned legally in a stranger’s home. Pro-marijuana property owners can list (unlimited) accommodation for a flat rate of $199 a year. Rentals range from the grandiose Blue Sky Ranch vacation estate in Black Hawk, Colorado, from $999 a night, to a modest room in a private Denver home for $80. It boasts hundreds of properties in Colorado and an expanding presence in Washington state and Alaska.
|The Blue Sky Ranch in Black Hawk, Colorado – from the TravelTHC website|
Only licenced retailers can sell marijuana legally, so TravelTHC does not facilitate the sale of marijuana, though property owners are not prohibited from sharing the weed. Hosts may leave a loaf of extra-special banana bread waiting for guests on arrival, for example. Furthermore, travellers who visit Colorado for the purpose of enjoying pot often buy more then they can consume during one visit but cannot legally take their stash home. Even if they live in a state where the drug is legal, Denver airport won’t allow it on its premises – so people leave their bud behind for the next guests.
|Bear’s Den accommodation – from the TravelTHC website|
“People’s eyes are bigger than their lungs,” says Ricardo Baca, editor of the Cannabist, the Denver Post’s marijuana magazine. “Hosts end up with a drawer full of weed and tell guests to help themselves.” This might be illegal if room prices were much higher than market value due to the inclusion of bud, but rooms on TravelTHC are reasonable so they can hardly be accused of selling a “package deal”. In Colorado, an adult can share up to an ounce of marijuana with another adult, and since those sharing are private residents it’s legal despite the fact that money changes hands.
This frustrates institutions such as Denver’s Adagio Bud + Breakfast which incurred a fine for sharing with their guests because it is considered a business. Such strange juxtapositions characterise the fledgling movement that has not yet been fully embraced by the judicial system. With time, Colorado will no doubt incorporate cannabis culture – until then, potheads will just have to sit back and smoke some more bowls as the laws stumble awkwardly through their infancy.