Vail, Beaver Creek hotel concierge services are assisting guests with marijuana-related questions — from where to get it to where to smoke it
By Ross Leonhart
From 70-year-olds inquiring about marijuana to housekeepers throwing the extras away after the guests leave, here are some questions you might be thinking to yourself when arriving to weed-friendly Colorado.
WHERE TO TOKE?Not at the hotel, that’s for sure. Yes, marijuana is legal here and the Cheetos business is booming, but there are still laws and regulations. A great way to think about it is to consider pot as you would alcohol.Marijuana is illegal to consume in public — you can’t walk down Bridge Street drinking a beer just as you can’t smoke a joint. It is illegal to drive drunk just as it’s illegal to drive under the influence of pot, no matter how slowly you’re driving.It is also illegal to consume marijuana on U.S. Forest Service property — aka Vail Mountain and Beaver Creek Resort — although beer is sold across the resorts.Most hotels are smoke-free, leaving visitors in quite a dilemma of where to smoke their dope (edibles don’t smell and are thus OK to consume in hotels).“It’s a hard question,” said Brandon Crow, of the Tivoli Lodge in Vail. “If they ask, I insinuate that it’s under their discretion. I’m not going to give them permission to smoke anywhere. I’ll let them know where they can find it, but that’s up to them how they want to use it.”Some of the hotel employees said some guests smoke in the room, either out of ignorance for the rules or disregard for the hotel staff — and housekeeping.“I think mostly what happens is that they just smoke in their room and/or their balconies and they end up getting charged for it,” said Marla Butler, of The Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa in Avon.The fee at the Westin is a $200 damage and cleaning fee, and while hotels do thorough cleans regularly, deep cleans are required after smoking occurs in the room. That includes taking down the drapes and deeply cleaning the upholstery.“It can be really labor intensive,” Butler said. “We have dogs, anyways, and we do a deep clean after them, but smoking deep clean is much worse.”Smoking penalties at local hotels range up to about $500. Many of them are installing no smoking signs to reiterate the rules of the hotel and better educate guests.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASKThe most common question these concierges seem to be hearing is, “Where can I get it?” and, “How can I get there?”With no pot shops in Vail or Beaver Creek, guests staying at hotels there must figure out transportation to the Green Mile in Eagle-Vail or other shops across the county. Some concierges, such as those at the Sonnenalp, have educated their staff about the local shops and the differences between them, helping to provide better information for a guest who inquires.“I think there’s still that stigma of asking out in the open about it — asking an official hotel person — and they’re kind of nervous about it, is what I’ve noticed,” Butler said.Most concierge services are prepared to assist, while some put the onus on the guest to know the laws and regulations. Butler said at The Westin, they are “absolutely” open to all questions.“The funny thing is it’s more from Florida people and they are elderly people — between 70 and 80,” said Renee Steiner, of The Charter at Beaver Creek. “They all ask very nicely and say thank you and that’s it.”For many guests, legal marijuana is a novelty experience — one they can’t get back home in certain states.“A lot of these people aren’t from Colorado, so it’s kind of an experience if they’re from a state that’s not totally all about it,” Crow said.Many hotel employees stressed that it’s OK to ask them about marijuana — it is a legal product anyways. But when you leave, know what happens to that extra nug or edible that you leave behind.“They all leave it because they can’t travel with it,” said Lisa Smith, of the housekeeping department at The Charter. “We have to throw it away because it’s illegal to send it in the mail, so it’s trash.
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