Now that recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, tourists have been flocking to the state, curious about the new pot laws. But, there's only one problem. Travelers interested in smoking some of that newly legalized weed have limited options for where they can use.
So what's a marijuana tourist to do? Enter airTHC, a new site that will feature marijuana-friendly vacation rentals. Property owners who are comfortable with marijuana use in their homes can rent out spare bedrooms or their entire residences to travelers looking for a legal place to smoke. The weed-friendly home rental service plans to fully launch in May, but it's accepting property listings now.
"AirTHC.com provides visitors to Colorado with smoke-friendly rental options so that they can safely and legally experience the most progressive marijuana legislation in the land," Greg Drinkwater, the co-founder of airTHC, told The Huffington Post. "Some visitors may not be aware, but legal recreational use in Colorado does have its limitations."
That's because regulations are strict: Laws prohibit public consumption of the drug, and there are no Amsterdam-style cafes. The Colorado Clean Indoor Air act, which already bans cigarette and cigar smoke in most bars and restaurants, was recently amended to also ban marijuana smoke. Even ski resorts have banned the use of recreational marijuana. Of course, some hotels allow for smoking in the state, but that doesn't necessarily mean they allow for marijuana smoking. Although there are more hotels loosening up their marijuana rules, the law requires that they keep 75 percent of their rooms smoke-free.
Get caught smoking marijuana in public, and you'll face $150 fine and up to 15 days in jail. Break the marijuana laws in one of the state's national parks -- or on federal land -- and you could be looking at a $5,000 fine or six months in jail.
AirTHC hopes to provide state tourists with easier access to marijuana-friendly spots to light up and enjoy.
"We provide a safe, legal place for visitors to smoke in private residences as the law was intended," Drinkwater said. "We also provide a number of other features as well, allowing visitors to search dispensaries, restaurants, live music venues and ski resorts with interactive maps and contact information. And we'll be adding more activities. We are a part of the community -- we eat, drink, ski, hike and live Colorado -- and want our website to represent that."
Colorado legalized marijuana for adult recreational use back in 2012, but sales didn't begin until Jan. 1, 2014, when the state also saw a flood of tourists patiently waiting in long lines, eager to buy those first bags of legal greenery. The laws allow for out-of-state visitors, 21 and older, to purchase up to one-quarter of an ounce of marijuana per transaction for personal use.
Drinkwater said airTHC started marketing during the recent 4/20 holiday weekend, and has received several listings already.
"The listings that we have received so far vary from a five-bedroom, luxury mountainside estate in Breckenridge to a studio apartment in downtown Denver," Drinkwater said. "Our listings range from a full house to an apartment to a spare bedroom within an occupied home. We already have developed the functionality to allow visitors to search and find the perfect property and hope to turn that functionality on within the next few weeks," Drinkwater said.