5 Ways Traditional Hospitality Operators Can Get Involved with Cannabis

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Cannabis legalization for adult use has been sweeping the United States for the better part of the last 5 years. With the loosening of laws comes the ability for businesses to capitalize on new opportunities.

One relatively new facet of the cannabis industry is “cannabis hospitality.” Sure, you may have heard of Barney’s selling $1,500-plus bongs, and events where people consume cannabis openly, but how do these trends affect your hospitality business?

Here are 5 ways that the hospitality industry can get involved with cannabis:

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1. Offer Consulting Services

Cannabis is booming, hospitality is hot. But I’ll be honest: Much of the cannabis industry lacks the knowledge and experience in the hospitality department required to really take things to the next level.

As the wave of cannabis-use venues and retail establishments continues to crest, there’s major opportunity for hospitality professionals to teach what they have perfected over the years. Staff training, menu development and standard operating procedures come to mind. The best part? Most of what you could be teaching doesn’t involve cannabis directly, so you avoid the federal banking issues most cannabis companies must tiptoe around.

2. Offer CBD Options

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past couple years, you’ve probably heard of (or used) CBD. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is the non-intoxicating (no high, unlike THC) compound in cannabis that’s shown to provide anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, and health-boosting properties. CBD comes in a few different forms, allowing you to easily add it to food and drink menu items.

Read this: 4 Reasons Your Bar is Horrible: The Guest Perspective

For example, a water-soluble CBD solution could be dropped into a cocktail of the guest’s choosing, adding an extra layer of hangover protection to beverage alcohol offerings. Rather add it to a food item?  Use a tincture and squeeze a few drops onto a hummus for a health-forward appetizer option. Be mindful of federal, state and local laws, and always consult a lawyer before proceeding with serving any cannabis product due to the ever-changing nature of cannabis laws.

3. Cross-promote with Cannabis Companies

If you want to take advantage of the cannabis craze without serving cannabis, you could provide cross-promotional offers with local dispensaries. One notable example is a sandwich shop named Cheeba Hut. This cannabis-themed sub shop does not sell cannabis in any capacity, but they do offer advertising spots for local dispensaries. They’re supporting the community without touching the plant.

Read this: Bar Marketing and Promotions Ideas Essential to Your Business

Depending on the relationships you build with local cannabis companies, you could create a killer promotion for one or both of your businesses. Could you imagine a coupon for a one-cent pre-rolled joint when you order the deluxe nachos? Yummy.

4. Add Your Services to a Cannabis Company

Do you have an incredible service that could integrate into an existing dispensary model? How about adding your valet parking service to high-end dispensaries? You could add your legendary food and beverage program to a consumption lounge, giving guests unbelievable meal options. Food ROI is always solid when serving a crowd with red eyes and a strong case of the munchies. With existing business models and services already being perfected in the traditional hospitality world, the possibilities for crossover services are only limited by your own imagination.

5. Get Licensed, Open Your Own Consumption Venue

Alright, this one may be a stretch for some of us. Owning a bar, restaurant or hotel is a ridiculous amount of work; operating one of these businesses with cannabis consumption allowed on site is an even more herculean task. Building requirements, governmental hurdles, required capital, and numerous logistical issues are just the start of challenges facing potential cannabis hospitality operators.

All is not lost though. Being a hospitality operator already positions you to understand and overcome the challenges required to acquire a license and begin operating an establishment that allows cannabis consumption. Partner with an existing cannabis dispensary, build a dream team, and create the cannabis club of your dreams!

Read this: Increase Guest Counts: Get out of the Fishbowl and into the Ocean

Judging from the popularity of alcohol in social settings, cannabis is poised to become a perfect addition to existing bar, nightclub and hospitality models. At this point in time we’re playing the waiting game with legislators. As soon as the federal legalization floodgates open, hospitality will be in an optimal position to capitalize on cannabis.

Looking for more content like this? Many states have legalized cannabis with more expected to follow, while consumers desire more accessibility and tolerance. Expert Andrew Mieure will explain how social, on-premise cannabis consumption may transform current hospitality businesses or lead to new entertainment and nightlife options during his 2019 Nightclub & Bar Show session. Learn about the opportunities and challenges during "Nightclub & Bar Show on the Future of Cannabis in Hospitality and Nightlife." Register now!

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