Sixty-six percent of Americans now support legalizing marijuana, according to Gallup’s most recent poll. The latest figure marks the third consecutive year that support of the measure has increased and established a new record. So far, 33 U.S. states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana usage and 11 states allow recreational marijuana usage. In 2018 Canada became the second country in the world to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. It isn’t a surprise that the hospitality industry is trying to bring hemp and cannabis into the mainstream.
A cannabis plant has more than 100 components; the primary ones that people talk about are the active cannabinoids in the plant, known as phytocannabinoids. Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is the non-psychoactive cannabis compound. Studies show that it can decrease inflammation, relieve muscle tension and reduce stress, making it a natural fit for spas. There are myriad different CBD products and they are gaining traction in spas for their restorative benefits. Wellness centers around the country are infusing spa treatments, like massages and manicures, with CBD oil. Top-tier hotels such as the Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles and the St. Regis San Francisco now offer CBD spa treatments that incorporate the ingredient.
In addition to spa applications, cannabis also is transforming the food-and-beverage arena. Chefs across the nation, including those in hotels, are experimenting with cannabis-infused cuisine and cocktails. So far, the experimenting has mainly stayed on the East and West coasts, and it is done using CBD.
At the James New York-NoMad, there is an in-room dining menu solely dedicated to CBD items. Guests can order spicy meatballs, butter lettuce salad, olive tapenade, tater tots, an ice cream sundae and even bottled water—all infused with CBD.
Because marijuana is legal in Washington, The Thompson Seattle hosts dinners that feature marijuana pairings. The property’s executive chef sources the marijuana from the local Lux Pot Shop, pairing it with dishes such as beets with herring, scallops and veal cheeks.
While there are potential opportunities for hotels to offer CBD items, there are some properties in the 11 states that have legalized recreational marijuana usage that have an actual cannabis destination. Properties can permit guests to smoke or consume cannabis on property but generally provide guidelines as to what is acceptable. Because the cost of cleaning smoke from a hotel’s textiles often is cost-prohibitive, smoke-friendly hotels often limit smoking of all kinds to specific outdoor areas.
Perhaps one of the most famous pro-cannabis hoteliers is Roger Bloss, the hospitality industry veteran who founded Vantage Hospitality Group and is now CEO/president of Alternative Hospitality. After two devastating health crises—a “widowmaker” heart attack and a near-fatal car accident—Bloss turned to cannabis as a nonaddictive alternative to prescription pain pills. Learning firsthand the benefits of cannabis, he was inspired to create cannabis-based health and wellness hotels.
The first property is under construction in Desert Hot Springs, Calif., near the site of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Bloss hopes to have the first property open in 2021.
Published: October 28, 2019
Founder & Interim Editor of L.A. Cannabis News