Historic L.A. hotel remodeled as pot-friendly lodging

A California entrepreneur is reopening a historic 1920’s L.A. hotel as America’s first pot-friendly accommodation. Dennis Peron, a long-time marijuana dispensary owner and medicinal marijuana advocate, is currently remodeling Los Angeles’ Hotel Normandie with plans to turn its 106 rooms into a haven for smokers around the world.

Though the property is far from complete, Peron is planning a grand opening for the new residence today, April 20th, or “4/20” in smoker slang. Once complete, Peron’s vision is a hotel with a “hippie rustic” theme and a rooftop deck where users could light up, framed by the hotel’s vintage neon sign.

Unfortunately the dreams for America’s first marijuana hotel are threatening to go up in flames. As it currently stands, Peron and friend Richard Eastman are running short on funding for the ambitious project. A few rooms have been remodeled but the majority are not. The proposed renovation is likely to cost upwards of $500,000 and the real estate investor who purchased the property for Peron is $200,000 behind on payments.

Will this pot-friendly hotel ever see the light of day? The answer, it appears, is hidden by a cloud of smoke.

The Oakland airport pot conundrum

Airports in California are in a bit of a pickle – their state allows the medicinal use of marijuana, but until last year, no airport in the nation allowed users to legally carry their stash on a plane.

Oakland airport is the only one with an official policy permitting pot carrying passengers to fly, though officials do point out that they run the risk of being arrested if they are searched at their destination (if they are flying somewhere medicinal marijuana is not recognized).

Pot for medicinal use has been approved in California since 1996. Until 2008, any marijuana found at Oakland airport meant the cops would be summoned, and the stash thrown away – even though it was obtained legally. FAA regulations ban people from carrying marijuana on a plane – unless it is authorized by a Federal or State law.

According to a local Sheriff, some other Californian airports have an unwritten tolerance policy, while others like Burbank, Ontario and San Diego do not. The Sheriff says all airports in the state should have an official policy supporting the state law, but at the moment, Oakland airport is the only one.

Obviously this does not mean that any pothead can fly in and out of Oakland with a couple of baggies, the distribution and use is still regulated, but those people that need their daily joint to relieve pain can fly knowing they won’t be harassed.