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There's Now an Airbnb for Colorado's Pot Tourists

Marijuana is now legal in Colorado, but you're not allowed to smoke in public or most hotels. That's where a new website hopes to help out.

by Olivia Becker
Apr 28 2014, 10:20pm

Photo by O'Dea

It’s harder than you might think to find a good place to smoke pot in Colorado, especially if you’re a tourist. Although recreational marijuana use is now legal in the state, strict laws forbid you to smoke or consume pot in public, including most hotel rooms, bars, or restaurants.

Thats where airTHC, Colorado's newest cannabis business venture, comes in. Modeled after Airbnb, Colorado property owners who are “420 friendly” can list their homes on the site for tourists coming to Colorado looking for a private place to light up for a couple of nights or longer. "The goal is to connect 420-friendly Coloradans with people from out of town," airTHC co-founder Jordan Conner told VICE News. "Whether that's renting out rooms in a small boutique hotel or in your spare bedroom."

The inspiration for airTHC came after Conner had a friend visiting from out of town and quickly realized that they couldn’t get high in a hotel room or even out in public. “After doing some preliminary research we realized there was a real need for this service,” Conner said. “Even though marijuana use is legal, Colorado still isn’t Amsterdam. We don’t have cafes or bars you can smoke in.”

Smoking in public can get you a fine of up to $150. Light up in a park and the penalty can be as high as $5,000 or six months in jail.

AirTHC seeks to market itself not only as a safe, legal way for tourists to get high in private, but aims to “own marijuana tourism as a whole,” according to Conner. In addition to listing properties for short-term rental, airTHC.com will also include recommendations for concerts, restaurants, and other social events that pot smokers might enjoy. “We want it to be a place to find the things in Colorado you might you might also enjoy if you like smoking weed,” said Conner.

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Thanks to Colorado’s Amendment 64, adults aged 21 and over can now purchase, consume, and grow regulated amounts of pot. But marijuana smoke also falls under Colorado’s Clean Air Act, which forbids smoking in public restaurants, many hotel rooms, and all public parks or forests. Smoking in public can get you a fine of up to $150 and 15 days in jail. Light up in a park and the penalty can be as high as $5,000 and up to six months behind bars.

Although the legislation legalizing recreational marijuana use passed in 2012, the first dispensaries did not open until January 1 this year. Since then, Colorado has experienced a tourism boom from those coming to the state to take advantage of the new drug policy. According to the new law, people from out of state can consume and purchase marijuana, but only up to a quarter of an ounce at a time.

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Conner and the other founders of airTHC came up with the idea for the site shortly after the first dispensaries opened. AirTHC officially launched on April 20, when tens of thousands of pot smokers descended on downtown Denver to partake in the 420 celebrations. Although not available for renters yet, airTHC currently has over 50 people who have listed their properties and will shortly be open up to those looking to stay — and smoke.

"We definitely see this becoming very popular," said Conner. "Especially when concerts and festivals like Red Rocks and Phish happen."

Follow Olivia Becker on Twitter: @obecker928

Photo via Wikimedia Commons