One major part of the travel industry is the hotel, and with the legalization of marijuana taking place in more and more states in the U.S., hotels are facing several challenges concerning marijuana consumption.
They are faced with the issue of figuring out how to allow their guests to partake in marijuana consumption within their properties, training and drug testing their staff, and how to deal with the changing marijuana laws.
The principal of Woodmont Lodging said that the emerging trend, marijuana, is not going away, and it can be likened to casinos when they were trying their push countrywide.
Medical marijuana is legal in 33 states, while recreational cannabis is legal in 11 states, and it is okay for people above the age of 21 to partake in the act of marijuana cultivation, possession, and consumption.
In the U.S., marijuana is still listed under Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substance Act, meaning that it is federally illegal. Heroin, LSD, peyote, and ecstasy are also considered as federally unlawful.
In 2013, Deputy Attorney General Jim Cole who was working under President Barack Obama’s administration issued a directive to the federal prosecutors and told them not to interfere with states that have marijuana-friendly state laws.
President Trump’s stand on marijuana laws is uncertain because, in August, he said that he would let states decide on whether or not to legalize marijuana, but in December, Trump said that he has the authority to overlook Cole’s directive.
Jim Butler, who is a hotel lawyer, said that even though federal officials tend to ignore activities that violate the federal law but comply with state law, it is not reliable protection. Butler is also the chairman of a global group which represents hotel owners and developers. The group is called Jeffer Mangles Butler & Mitchell LLP.
Butler further said that the reputation of a hotel could be tarnished if charged with breaking federal law; for instance, it could lose its liquor license or banking relationship because banks are federally insured and may want to abstain from working with such hotels dealing with federally illegal substances.
However, guests are not deterred from using marijuana when traveling around the state because of the confusion plaguing the hotel sector. Most of the hotels have a no-smoking policy, but marijuana edibles can be ingested and have no smell.
Some hotels are experimenting with CBD-infused products in their foods, beverages, and other products. These hotels include James New York NoMad and the Standard.
Butler further said that hoteliers have many questions among them about the products and services they could provide to attract more customers and give them a competitive edge.
The partner and chair of the Hospitality, Alcohol, and Leisure Industry Group at Greenspoon Marder LLP Louis Terminello said that currently in the U.S., there are a few hotels that are marijuana-friendly in states where recreational marijuana is legal.
Terminello further said that some hotels turn a blind eye to their guests smoking marijuana, but as the issue evolves, hotels must have a place where guests can smoke freely and comfortably.
Analysts are sure that the entire cannabis industry, including players like ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX), would be pleased if the federal government clarified what hotels can or cannot permit in states where marijuana is legal in some form.
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