There’s an unusual sight on U.S. 160 in Pagosa Springs, Colo. — a motel sign proudly exclaiming “420 FRIENDLY” next to the other amenities such as wifi, hot tub and sauna.
The First Inn’s sign is not a joke or a Photoshop prank. In fact the soon-to-be-famous sign might be a first in Colorado’s microcosm of legal recreational marijuana: The first street-side admission from a hotel that weed is welcome here.
“It’s only been up for a couple weeks,” said Pierre Roemer, who was working the front desk on June 19. “We’re hoping it’ll bring a lot more business, especially in the winter.”
First Inn owner Lou Woodward came up with the idea to post “420 FRIENDLY” on the sign, said Roemer. Cannabis aficionados know 420 as slang for marijuana. The motel’s liberal approach to Colorado’s still-newish marijuana laws make it stand out from the crowd; The clear majority of hotels throughout the state have tightened their already-strict smoking policies in the wake of Amendment 64’s passing.
“We have one designated tobacco smoking room, and then some of the upstairs rooms are 420-friendly,” Roemer said. “We like to ask people if they’re going to utilize the 420, and if they do then we give them ashtrays. ‘It’s the wacky and not the tabacky,’ Lou likes to say.”
So far the motel, which is closer to the Wolf Creek Pass side of Pagosa Springs than the Durango side, has seen roughly 10-20 percent of its clientele utilizing the rooms set aside for cannabis use, Roemer estimates.
“Some people come by and they’re very happy about it,” Roemer said. “They take pictures. They smile. They laugh. It puts a lot of smiles on people’s faces.”
The First Inn currently charges around $75 (plus taxes) per night for a room.