Marijuana, Cannabis, and Hemp: What Airbnb Hosts Should Know
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The 420 friendly Airbnb market is a growing sub-category of short-term rentals. The recreational use of cannabis, hemp, and marijuana is now legalized in 11 states. These are Alaska, California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington. It is also legalized in the District of Columbia, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Guam. 16 more states and the U.S. Virgin Islands have decriminalized the use of these drugs. Other states may also allow marijuana prescriptions for medical use.
These vast law changes have a big impact on Airbnb hosts. But hosts still have the right to set the rules and expectations for their properties. Some hosts may be 420 friendly — and there are benefits to this. Others will decide not to allow marijuana use in their properties and are well within their rights.
We’ve put together this guide of common FAQs to help guide hosts on how to approach marijuana use.
What are 420 friendly rentals?
“420” refers to marijuana smoking or related activities. The term “420 friendly” means you are accepting of marijuana use. In the Airbnb world, that means the host is happy having guests that use marijuana. Those hosts may use marijuana products themselves, or simply allow others to use them.
You may be 420 friendly in a state where it is not legal to use marijuana. In such cases, it may not be wise to make such information public.
Do I have to allow marijuana use on my property?
You don’t have to allow marijuana use on your property, even if you host guests in a state where marijuana is legal. There are many ways to use marijuana products. Smoking, vaping, and inhaling are some of the most common. This can be off-putting for many hosts. Even if you are not opposed to marijuana use, you may not wish to deal with the smoke smells or risk of damage.
Many hosts choose to have a blanket no smoking rule. No smoking rules can apply to both the inside and outside of your property. Many apartment complexes also enforce smoke-free policies. Those policies often include smoking or vaping of marijuana or electronic cigarettes. There are locations where it is still illegal to use cannabis in public areas. This could include parks, outside public residences, in bars, at the beach, and more. If you do not want any usage, you should state that there is no drug use, smoking, or vaping on or around the property.
What is Airbnb’s policy on cannabis use?
At the time of writing this post, Airbnb does not have an official policy on cannabis use. Airbnb’s silence is likely because cannabis is still illegal federally. Cannabis use is still not legal across the United States or the world. The decision on whether to allow cannabis use then falls on the host. It’s completely up to you, depending on the laws in your location and your personal preference.
What responsibilities do hosts have to accommodate medical marijuana use vs recreational use?
Using or possessing marijuana (including for medical reasons) is illegal under federal law. Even if your state makes marijuana legal, you do not have to accommodate it.
You can consider marijuana laws as comparable to smoking laws. Even if there’s no anti-smoking law, landlords can prohibit smoking on their premises. While smoking cigarettes is legal, it’s not discriminatory to ban smoking in certain places. Banning marijuana use, medical or recreational, is not discrimination.
Are there advantages to marketing your property as a Cannabis destination?
Finding Airbnb success centers on giving guests experiences that they want. Many Airbnb rentals have found great success by letting guests use cannabis. The legalization of marijuana is becoming more common. But it still has plenty of appeal as a drawcard for some travelers. Travelers from countries with stricter policies enjoy visiting destinations with looser regulations.
Destinations like Venice Beach in LA have a strong association with cannabis culture. As such, they have a strong appeal to 420 friendly travelers. Even in cannabis hotspots, there are limitations in place for smoking in public. This leaves canna-tourists turning to AirBnbs to find a private space. These travelers are looking for a private place to consume in compliance with local laws.
You don’t have to be in a cannabis hotspot to appeal to this customer base. Airbnb has a range of rentals which are 420 friendly. Cannabis friendly listings can be a cottage, apartment, party house, or ski chalet.
You need to be comfortable with marijuana if you’re going to allow it in shared spaces. If you already smoke pot, it’s easier to accommodate like-minded guests. One upside of advertising to this group is there’s no need to hide marijuana paraphernalia. It allows you to feel comfortable renting out your units to people who share the habit.
How to market your Airbnb property as 420 friendly
There is currently no “420 friendly” filter on the Airbnb website. Guests looking for this feature will need to find you via search engines such as Google. Some hosts call their homes “420 friendly“. Others say “cannabis-friendly,” still others say “green-friendly” or “marijuana-friendly,” and so on.
Some hosts style their property with decor which appeals to the cannabis community. Others include a welcome pack. This could include things like pipes, papers, or snacks. Other hosts provide flyers or discounts for local dispensaries.
If you want to target the cannabis travel market you can list your rental on niche sites. These include sites like Bud and Breakfast, TravelTHC, The Travel Joint, and more. Such sites specialize in 420-rentals but do not have the visitor numbers of Airbnb.
Marketing to both 420 friendly and other guests
It’s challenging to appeal to both 420 and non-420 visitors. In this situation, take precautions to avoid emphasizing your 420 friendly status. It’s your decision how overt you want to be in marketing this feature.
If you partake on the property you may decide to emphasize your views in your marketing. If you want to keep your appeal general, you can state something vague on your listing. This could be a message such as “No cigarette smoking inside. Other types of smoking permitted.”
Be clear about your rules and expectations. Is vaping OK, but smoking is not allowed? Make that distinction clear.
It’s also important to keep your property free of any smell that might be off-putting to other visitors. You can do this by using odor absorbing bags, dehumidifiers, fans, and cannabis odor controlling sprays. Choose minimal soft furnishings in your property to avoid lingering smells.
It’s also common to state in your rules that guests are responsible for not leaving behind smells of any kind. Ask that they open windows and use fans provided if they choose to smoke on the premises.
To appeal to several markets, you may wish to list your property as “smokers allowed”. This can help diffuse complaints about smoke-related smells.
There is a huge opportunity in this niche market to capitalize on – if it suits your lifestyle. There are plenty of things to consider before marketing to the canna-tourists. You may want to start with subtle marketing to gauge what’s best for your business.
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