Boston has long been a vacation destination, but legal marijuana may draw in even more visitors to all over Massachusetts — and businesses like 420 Suites are ready to cater to cannabis tourism.
420 Suites, which debuted at Boston’s recent CannaCon, is turning the typical vacation rental into a cannabis getaway. With fully-furnished cannabis-friendly rental units throughout the city, from East Boston to Back Bay, a tourism trip with a weed twist awaits.
Inside every rental unit, a welcome basket will great each guest. But instead of just sample-size soaps, the accoutrements are cannabis-themed: hemp-based toiletries, CBD chocolates and gummies, eye drops and a free Uber ride to and from, along with a discount at, a marijuana dispensary.
“420 suites is essentially like a cannabis-friendly Airbnb company,” explained Sarah Dunphy, director of business development at 420 Suites. “We have different apartments all over the city where it’s just like a vacation rental, a fully-furnished apartment, but it’s cannabis friendly, which means travelers can stay with us and we provide a safe, comfortable place to consume while traveling.”
Cannabis tourism in Massachusetts: Who can consume?
While recreational marijuana is legal across Massachusetts, there are still no recreational retail dispensaries up and running yet. That means that for now, the cannabis tourism experience 420 Suites can offer is a bit limited to those who have a medical marijuana card.
420 Suites is currently partnering with Revolutionary Clinics, a medical marijuana dispensary in Somerville, offering free rides to-and-from the rental to the dispensary as well as special discount promotions for their products. For now, only guests with a medical marijuana card will get the ride to the clinic and the chance to shop. Though that may not appeal to every would-be cannabis tourist, it still accounts for a large number of clientele, Dunphy said.
“We do have a lot of clients do come into Boston for medical reasons who are genuine cannabis care patients who need it as their medicine,” she said. “They can stay with us because no one else is really advertising as a safe place to consumer their medicinal cannabis, but we are.”
Some of the 420 Suites rentals are smoke-friendly, but not all, since even cigarette smoking is banned in certain buildings. This is beyond the business’s control, Dunphy explained, but also, she argued, doesn’t really limit a guests’ marijuana consumption.
“It’s not just about smoking — it’s hemp, it’s CBD oil, it’s edibles, it’s vapes,” she said. “Just because it’s not smoke friendly doesn't mean it’s not cannabis friendly.”
This is also part of what 420 Suites hopes to offer: an education into the world of cannabis.
If you don’t have a medical marijuana card but still want a cannabis-themed trip as soon as possible, you can indulge in the CBD products available via 420 Suites, which are federally legal. As the laws change, though, so will 420 Suites and its partnerships.
“As the legal adult cannabis industry emerges, Revolutionary Clinics is seeking opportunities to connect adult use clients to our safe, high quality products and services,” said Keith Cooper, CEO of Revolutionary Clinics, in an email. “Whether it’s through a partnership with 420 Suites or other innovative concepts, our priority is always to promote the responsible adult use of cannabis.”
Revolutionary Clinics in Somerville. Photo: Provided
420 Suites: Leading the way of weed tourism in Boston
Dunphy believes 420 Suites is the first company to promote a cannabis-tourism in the Boston area, but she does not expect it will be the only one.
“It’s going to blow up,” she said. “Cannabis tourism is going to be such a big thing coming to tourism in this area in the next few years.”
It’s certainly a trend where recreational weed has been legal for longer than in Massachusetts. In California, the budding industry pairs regular weed consumption with ganja yoga classes, pot dinners and tours into every nook of the local cannabis culture.
Cannabis tourism isn’t just for out-of-towners, either, Dunphy said.
“We also want to be [connected] with the community, with locals, and help educate them on how great this business can be for our city,” she said.
An example of one of 420 Suites cannabis-friendly vacation units, a fully-furnished vacation rental. Photo: Courtesy of 420 Suites
The business is already open to reservations, and Dunphy said they’re getting booked up. And as the cannabis industry grows in Massachusetts and retail dispensaries are finally in place, 420 Suites will adapt its offerings as well.
Dunphy sees a whole world of cannabis tourism in Boston: curated cannabis meals, dispensary tours a la brewery tours, weed-friendly lounge events and more. As with most cannabis developments in Boston, we all just have to be patient, she said.
“We’re doing what we can with what we’re able to do right now,” she said. “We can’t do [all of] what we want to be doing, but we’ll get there.”