Hospitality Industry Legal Issues: Medical Marijuana and Non-Smoking Hotels

 I recently had one of my hotels call me about a guest who was burning incense in his guestroom, while he was staying at the hotel. After the guest checked out, he was charged the Hotel’s “no smoking fee” of $250, as the Hotel was a non smoking hotel.

The guest immediately challenged the no smoking fee, and claimed he was burning the incense for “medical” reasons, it was “aroma therapy”. The Hotel asked the guest for a note from his Doctor prescribing the “aroma therapy” and guess what…the guest produced a Doctor’s note. It was a real prescription, from a real Doctor. So, that begs the question….does the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) apply? Do you as an Innkeeper have to allow aroma therapy or medical marijuana use in your non smoking hotel?

The answer is: We’re not sure yet…..

I took this question to the Hospitality Law Conference, which is held in Houston every February. The Hospitality Law Conference is attended by 400 hospitality Attorneys. These Attorneys come from all the major hotel brands, major hotel management companies and includes hospitality educators from all of the major hospitality Universities nationally. I searched out the best hospitality legal minds from our industry to discuss this issue with them.

I was surprised to learn there was no general consensus on how to handle medical marijuana /aroma therapy and the ADA, at hotels. There is no known “case law” on this issue yet, and I received a wide variety of legal opinions on how to handle the medical marijuana dilemma. I have summarized below, the “best practices” for handling medical marijuana / aroma therapy at your Hotel, based on discussions I had with the hospitality industry legal experts:

  1. Place marijuana smokers in “smoking rooms” when available. If you receive a guest complaint of marijuana use in the hotel, you should investigate. If you find the marijuana smoker, ask them for their medical prescription, or State ID card, for legal medical marijuana use. If they have the proper paperwork, allow them to continue in the smoking room (if you allow smoking). If they don’t have proof of the legal use of marijuana, ask them to stop, call the Police, or handle it according to your management guidelines.
  2. If you are an all “No Smoking” hotel, then guests using medical marijuana should be handled the same as cigarette smokers. They must leave the building to smoke. They are no different than cigarette smokers. If they smoke in their guestroom and you have the proper “no smoking” notifications and signage, then charge them your normal smoking fee. Again, you treat them the same as a cigarette smoker. I would recommend if you have “no smoking” signage in the rooms, that you add the words “this includes medical marijuana” on the signs at your next convenience.

 *****Note****, number 2 above applies to guests who are “mobile” and who can easily walk around, use the stairs and elevators, and have no physical restrictions. Most of the legal experts I spoke to agreed, that if a guest has limited mobility, due to a disability etc, then we should handle this guest differently. If the guest cannot easily exit and enter the hotel to smoke their medical marijuana, and they insist that the marijuana is part of their treatment for their disability, then you should allow them to smoke in their non-smoking room. Under these circumstances, the legal experts felt the disabled guest could fall under the ADA laws, due to their limited mobility etc. You should not charge them a “smoking fee”.

These suggestions are based on the opinions of the “best of the best” hospitality legal experts. As you know, the medical marijuana issue is being debated, legalized and defended all over the United States. Call your local Police or Sheriff departments and find out what your local and State laws are regarding medical marijuana. You should manage the guests at your hotels according to your specific laws.

Remember, you also have the right to ask a guest who is smoking marijuana to stop, unless they have a legal prescription, from a real Doctor, to be using the medical marijuana. If the guest does not have the legal paperwork to smoke marijuana, you can make them stop. Call the Police or Sheriff for assistance if necessary. You can use the internet to “google” a Doctor’s name or clinic, if you want to independently verify the validity of a guest’s medical marijuana use.

I’m sure somewhere in the United States in the near future, we will see some “case law” on the use of medical marijuana, the ADA, no smoking businesses and related issues. Until then, I hope these “best practices” help.

(Todd Seiders, CLSD, is director of risk management for Petra Risk Solutions, which provides a full-range of risk management and insurance services for hospitality owners and operators. Their website is: www.petrarisksolutions.com. Todd can be reached at 800-466-8951 or via e-mail at: todds@petrarisksolutions.com.)  

Feb 2010

(Visited 1,475 times, 1 visits today)

104 Comments

Filed under Crime, Health, Liability

104 Responses to Hospitality Industry Legal Issues: Medical Marijuana and Non-Smoking Hotels

  1. Domitille

    Hi,
    Your artical is very enriching, do you know if there has been a cas law since 2010 and what was the decision taken?
    Thank you for your help.

    Domitille

  2. Domitille

    Hi,
    Your artical is very enriching, do you know if there has been a cas law since 2010 and what was the decision taken?
    Thank you for your help.

    Domitille

  3. Candice

    Before a hotel asks a person to exit the building to use their medication there are a few things to consider. Even if a person appears to be mobile and move around doesn’t mean they are not experiencing agonizing pain when they do so. Also it is illegal for a patient to use their medications in veiw of the public. They are not allowed to take their medication in their vehicles or on sidewalks. These are things to think about, try to put yourself in the patients place. Imagine that the only thing that helps you sleep or eases your pain is something that is technically illegal and an establishment you are paying to stay at tells you to do something that violates the guidelines of your medication and can cause you legal harm which is something they run the risk of everyday even with the drs. recommendation.

  4. Candice

    Before a hotel asks a person to exit the building to use their medication there are a few things to consider. Even if a person appears to be mobile and move around doesn’t mean they are not experiencing agonizing pain when they do so. Also it is illegal for a patient to use their medications in veiw of the public. They are not allowed to take their medication in their vehicles or on sidewalks. These are things to think about, try to put yourself in the patients place. Imagine that the only thing that helps you sleep or eases your pain is something that is technically illegal and an establishment you are paying to stay at tells you to do something that violates the guidelines of your medication and can cause you legal harm which is something they run the risk of everyday even with the drs. recommendation.

  5. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you
    wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit,
    but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read.
    I will certainly be back.

  6. Its like you read my mind! You appear to know a lot about this, like you
    wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message home a bit,
    but instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read.
    I will certainly be back.

  7. s teeth, hair, aand skin, and no tools are required for
    assembly. Go ahead. Well, everyone with dogs wants to
    be like Amtrak.

  8. s teeth, hair, aand skin, and no tools are required for
    assembly. Go ahead. Well, everyone with dogs wants to
    be like Amtrak.

  9. Hey there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if
    that would be ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward
    to new posts.
    http://yamahaworldleague.com

  10. Hey there! Do you use Twitter? I’d like to follow you if
    that would be ok. I’m undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward
    to new posts.
    http://yamahaworldleague.com

  11. I write a comment whenever I like a post on a website or I have something to valuable to contribute to
    the discussion. It’s caused by the passion displayed in the post I read.

    And after this post Hospitality Industry Legal Issues: Medical Marijuana and Non-Smoking Hotels | HOSPITALITY RISK
    SOLUTIONS. I was excited enough to write a comment 🙂 I do have a few questions for you if
    you do not mind. Could it be simply me or does it look as if like a few of the responses look like written by brain
    dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional places, I would like to follow anything new you
    have to post. Would you list every one of your communal pages like your Facebook page,
    twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  12. I write a comment whenever I like a post on a website or I have something to valuable to contribute to
    the discussion. It’s caused by the passion displayed in the post I read.

    And after this post Hospitality Industry Legal Issues: Medical Marijuana and Non-Smoking Hotels | HOSPITALITY RISK
    SOLUTIONS. I was excited enough to write a comment 🙂 I do have a few questions for you if
    you do not mind. Could it be simply me or does it look as if like a few of the responses look like written by brain
    dead folks? 😛 And, if you are writing at additional places, I would like to follow anything new you
    have to post. Would you list every one of your communal pages like your Facebook page,
    twitter feed, or linkedin profile?

  13. Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time
    choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems different
    then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    • We use WordPress but we pay for a premium account and use premium themes. There is nothing wrong with the generic themes but if you want to stand out and be different, the premium themes are the way to go.

      Thank you for the message!

  14. Hey would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a hard time
    choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design seems different
    then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    • We use WordPress but we pay for a premium account and use premium themes. There is nothing wrong with the generic themes but if you want to stand out and be different, the premium themes are the way to go.

      Thank you for the message!

  15. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everybody else
    encountering issues with your website. It appears as if some of the written
    text within your content are running off the screen.
    Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This could be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Cheers

  16. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everybody else
    encountering issues with your website. It appears as if some of the written
    text within your content are running off the screen.
    Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This could be a issue with my web browser because I’ve had this happen previously.
    Cheers

  17. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is wonderful, as well as
    the content!

  18. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is wonderful, as well as
    the content!

  19. I am extremely inspired along with your writing
    skills and also with the structure on your weblog.

    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way
    stay up the nice high quality writing, it’s uncommon to see a great weblog like this one these
    days..

  20. I am extremely inspired along with your writing
    skills and also with the structure on your weblog.

    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself? Either way
    stay up the nice high quality writing, it’s uncommon to see a great weblog like this one these
    days..

  21. Hi there, of course this article is really nice and I have
    learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.

  22. Hi there, of course this article is really nice and I have
    learned lot of things from it on the topic of blogging. thanks.

  23. What’s up, constantly i used to check website posts here early in
    the dawn, as i like to gain knowledge of more and more.

  24. What’s up, constantly i used to check website posts here early in
    the dawn, as i like to gain knowledge of more and more.

  25. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a very good article… but what can I
    say… I put things off a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

  26. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to produce a very good article… but what can I
    say… I put things off a whole lot and never manage to get nearly anything done.

  27. I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should also go to see this webpage on regular basis
    to take updated from most up-to-date reports.

  28. I’m gone to inform my little brother, that he should also go to see this webpage on regular basis
    to take updated from most up-to-date reports.

  29. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your weblog.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility issues? A couple of my blog visitors have
    complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer
    but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any tips to help fix this issue?

  30. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your weblog.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility issues? A couple of my blog visitors have
    complained about my blog not operating correctly in Explorer
    but looks great in Firefox. Do you have any tips to help fix this issue?

  31. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed
    reading it, you may be a great author.I will be
    sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back at some point.
    I want to encourage one to continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!

  32. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed
    reading it, you may be a great author.I will be
    sure to bookmark your blog and definitely will come back at some point.
    I want to encourage one to continue your great job, have a nice afternoon!

  33. Hi, its fastidious piece of writing about media print,
    we all be aware of media is a impressive source
    of data.

  34. Hi, its fastidious piece of writing about media print,
    we all be aware of media is a impressive source
    of data.

  35. It’s going to be ending of mine day, but before end I am reading this fantastic
    post to improve my knowledge.

  36. It’s going to be ending of mine day, but before end I am reading this fantastic
    post to improve my knowledge.

  37. After checking out a number of the blog articles
    on your web page, I really appreciate your technique of blogging.
    I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future.
    Please visit my web site too and tell me how you feel.

  38. After checking out a number of the blog articles
    on your web page, I really appreciate your technique of blogging.
    I bookmarked it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future.
    Please visit my web site too and tell me how you feel.

  39. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!
    It’s the little changes which will make the biggest changes.
    Thanks for sharing!

  40. Greetings! Very helpful advice in this particular post!
    It’s the little changes which will make the biggest changes.
    Thanks for sharing!

  41. I am sure this piece of writing has touched all
    the internet visitors, its really really nice article on building up new webpage.

  42. I am sure this piece of writing has touched all
    the internet visitors, its really really nice article on building up new webpage.

  43. Wonderful site. Lots of helpful info here. I’m sending it
    to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your effort!

  44. Wonderful site. Lots of helpful info here. I’m sending it
    to several pals ans also sharing in delicious. And naturally, thanks for your effort!

  45. I just couldn’t depart your web site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the usual information an individual provide on your
    guests? Is gonna be back steadily in order to investigate cross-check new posts

    • Howdy! This article couldn’t be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my
      previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this.

      I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a good read.

      Many thanks for sharing!

  46. I just couldn’t depart your web site prior to suggesting that I really enjoyed the usual information an individual provide on your
    guests? Is gonna be back steadily in order to investigate cross-check new posts

    • Howdy! This article couldn’t be written any better! Looking through this article reminds me of my
      previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this.

      I will forward this post to him. Fairly certain he’ll have a good read.

      Many thanks for sharing!

  47. Hurrah, that’s what I was seeking for, what a data! existing here at this weblog,
    thanks admin of this site.

  48. Hurrah, that’s what I was seeking for, what a data! existing here at this weblog,
    thanks admin of this site.

  49. Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am
    a blogger, and I was curious about your situation;
    we have developed some nice methods and we are looking to exchange solutions with others, why not shoot me an email if interested.

  50. Do you have a spam issue on this website; I also am
    a blogger, and I was curious about your situation;
    we have developed some nice methods and we are looking to exchange solutions with others, why not shoot me an email if interested.

  51. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been
    blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your
    site is excellent, as well as the content!

  52. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been
    blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your
    site is excellent, as well as the content!

  53. Can I simply say what a comfort to find a person that truly knows
    what they are discussing on the web. You definitely know how to
    bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to
    look at this and understand this side of the story.
    It’s surprising you’re not more popular given that you definitely possess
    the gift.

  54. Can I simply say what a comfort to find a person that truly knows
    what they are discussing on the web. You definitely know how to
    bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to
    look at this and understand this side of the story.
    It’s surprising you’re not more popular given that you definitely possess
    the gift.

  55. After you click the above link, you will see-the first page of
    Valentines coloring sheets. More often then not, that is when parents tend to yell at their kids probably the most.

  56. After you click the above link, you will see-the first page of
    Valentines coloring sheets. More often then not, that is when parents tend to yell at their kids probably the most.

  57. It’s frantic to estimate what an audience wants nowadays to state the smallest
    amount of. It is better to find means of strengthening your relationship instead.
    John Shiban (Representative), Jaimie Alexander, Joey Mendicino.

  58. It’s frantic to estimate what an audience wants nowadays to state the smallest
    amount of. It is better to find means of strengthening your relationship instead.
    John Shiban (Representative), Jaimie Alexander, Joey Mendicino.

  59. Estoy seguro que la mayoría de ustedes han experimentado a investigar +
    ¿Quién es este ? + Más de una docena de ocasiones!
    Si el administrador no tiene contraseña , haga clic en el icono de la cuenta
    de administrador y luego seleccione >añadir / cambio de contraseña.

  60. Estoy seguro que la mayoría de ustedes han experimentado a investigar +
    ¿Quién es este ? + Más de una docena de ocasiones!
    Si el administrador no tiene contraseña , haga clic en el icono de la cuenta
    de administrador y luego seleccione >añadir / cambio de contraseña.

  61. Hello! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  62. Hello! This post could not be written any better!
    Reading through this post reminds me of my good old room mate!
    He always kept talking about this. I will forward this write-up to him.
    Pretty sure he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  63. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.
    I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will come
    back later on. I want to encourage that you continue your great job, have
    a nice holiday weekend!

  64. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.
    I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will come
    back later on. I want to encourage that you continue your great job, have
    a nice holiday weekend!

  65. Good post. I learn something new and challenging
    on sites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be helpful to read through articles from
    other writers and practice something from other websites.

  66. Good post. I learn something new and challenging
    on sites I stumbleupon every day. It will always be helpful to read through articles from
    other writers and practice something from other websites.

  67. Hey there, You have done an incredible job.
    I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this site.

  68. Hey there, You have done an incredible job.
    I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my friends.
    I’m confident they’ll be benefited from this site.

  69. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as
    I provide credit and sources back to your weblog?
    My blog site is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Cheers!

  70. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your posts as long as
    I provide credit and sources back to your weblog?
    My blog site is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would really benefit from a lot of the information you present here.
    Please let me know if this okay with you. Cheers!

  71. Do I anticipate a jail guard to well know an inmate?

  72. Do I anticipate a jail guard to well know an inmate?

  73. It’s awesome to pay a visit this site and reading the views of all mates about
    this post, while I am also eager of getting know-how.

  74. It’s awesome to pay a visit this site and reading the views of all mates about
    this post, while I am also eager of getting know-how.

  75. If some one needs expert view concerning
    blogging then i propose him/her to pay a visit this weblog, Keep up
    the good job.

  76. If some one needs expert view concerning
    blogging then i propose him/her to pay a visit this weblog, Keep up
    the good job.

  77. I tend not to comment, however after reading through
    a lot of remarks on Hospitality Industry Legal Issues: Medical Marijuana and Non-Smoking Hotels | HOSPITALITY RISK SOLUTIONS.
    I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s okay.
    Could it be only me or does it look as if like some of the remarks
    appear like they are coming from brain dead people?

    😛 And, if you are posting at additional social sites, I’d like to keep up with you.
    Could you make a list of the complete urls of your social pages like your twitter feed, Facebook
    page or linkedin profile?

  78. I tend not to comment, however after reading through
    a lot of remarks on Hospitality Industry Legal Issues: Medical Marijuana and Non-Smoking Hotels | HOSPITALITY RISK SOLUTIONS.
    I actually do have 2 questions for you if it’s okay.
    Could it be only me or does it look as if like some of the remarks
    appear like they are coming from brain dead people?

    😛 And, if you are posting at additional social sites, I’d like to keep up with you.
    Could you make a list of the complete urls of your social pages like your twitter feed, Facebook
    page or linkedin profile?