KCRW has an excellent, in-depth feature on the California community of Desert Hot Springs and their push to become a mecca for marijuana tourism:
“We anticipate by the end of fiscal year 21-22, just in that year alone, we will see another 350,000 feet of cannabis space come online and become operational,” Deter Hot Springs Assistant City Manager Doria Wilms says.
Now the city is expanding it into the tourism realm. It’s part of their “Cannabis Strategic Plan.” Desert Hot Springs has been guided by its multi-pronged pot plan for around five years. Along with components that deal with being a business-friendly city, educating people about the industry, and maintaining public safety, Wilms says one of the pillars is dedicated to cultivating “cannatourism.”
…While the town rolls out cannatourism on a large scale, one boutique resort in the city’s “spa zone” has specialized in soaking and toking for years.
Since opening as the Monte Carlo in 1957, what’s now the Desert Hot Springs Inn has offered relaxation and hot mineral water pools. Sixty years later, in 2017, it caused a bit of a stir by expanding its relaxation offerings and becoming the city’s first cannabis-friendly lodging.
“People were very appreciative. It was like a big moment of liberty for them to be able to light a joint somewhere and not have to get in the bathroom, stand on the toilet, and blow it into the exhaust fan,” says Innkeeper John Thatcher.
Since going cannabis-friendly, Thatcher says the clientele has defied his expectations. He thought your garden variety basement stoners would show up in droves. Not the case. Many are over 40 and roll up in nice cars, according to the innkeeper.
“They’re good guests to have,” Thatcher says. “They’re very respectful. The cannabis crowd is also a very responsible crowd. They don’t get in the car after they’ve been smoking weed.”
photos: Beautiful Pool by Desert Hot Springs Inn & Cannabis Leaf by laaralyne