After a recent stay in a hotel absolutely reeking of marijuana, what can be done about this problem?
Pot Smoking In Hotel Rooms Is Rampant
Checking into a hotel lately has been a greeting of a list of amenities they no longer offer (due to COVID, labor shortages, inflation – fill in the blank) and a wafting of smoked marijuana floating along the air. It really doesn’t matter where I check in throughout the country, the smell permeates most of the hotels I find, from five-star to select service.
While I was in one of 19 states that allow recreational/medicinal marijuana use, this is not a hotel with smoking rooms. In fact, Virginia not only doesn’t allow public consumption, sharing, or offering to others but the state also doesn’t allow smoking in hotels of any kind.
No doubt this hotel not only had a non-smoking policy but a $250 cleaning charge for smoking in the room. If that’s a profitable service charge for the hotels, they could have made more money on cleaning fees than room rates for the night. Perhaps it’s part of their business model though I doubt many hotels often collect on those fees.
Why It’s Hard To Tackle
Sometimes it’s clear exactly where the smell of marijuana is coming from, and sometimes it’s less evident. Hotel staff might have the right to knock on a door and ask if there’s smoking in the room or even ask guests to leave regardless of the answer they get. But hotels and motels do not have the staff, especially at night, to vacate the desk and go door to door (even when it’s obvious.)
Law enforcement won’t service calls as a priority for suspected guests smoking in the room, especially in states where marijuana is legal. If they do, guests don’t have to answer, and opening a hotel room without permission requires “reasonable, articulable suspicion that a crime is afoot.”
State laws that decriminalize marijuana make it more of an issue of smoking indoors than possession of a substance, even if it’s illegal to use outside of one’s own home as it is in Virginia.
Hotels often collect $50 at check-in for incidentals in addition to the cost of the stay, but that doesn’t mean that there is room on a debit or credit card to absorb the charge. Further, guests who dispute those charges in essence freeze the whole charge (and potentially the room revenue as well) until the charge can be upheld which could be a bigger challenge to retain.
What Can Be Done About This?
First, bigger signs in the room that indicate a cleaning charge applies might be enough to deter some. Collecting a larger hold at check-in could also help. Enforcement of the state laws and hotel rules, whether with staff calls to the room or visits by police might help too.
Outside of that, I’m not sure what can be done.
Why is it a problem? They aren’t smoking in my room, right? Weed is pungent, whether you enjoy imbibing it or not, it’s a very strong scent. I personally don’t mind if someone smokes pot, takes edibles, or drinks – it’s not my business. Until it’s made my business. When my clothes and luggage smell as if I am in the room with them, it’s now my problem. On a recent trip, the smell was so strong that I could smell it on my clothes the next morning and I didn’t want that. I didn’t want to go through security at the airport smelling like weed (or attracting the attention of a police dog.) I would have been mortified to show up to a professional meeting smelling of pot too. Why should I have to?
What do you think? Do you find hotel rooms reeking of weed as a common issue? What should be done about it?