Marijuana advocates from California to North Carolina have taken to Yelp to lambast the owners of a Frisco, Colorado, Holiday Inn. The hotel's parent company, New Vision Hotels Two LLC, is at the center of a lawsuit aimed at dismantling the state’s legal weed industry.
A receptionist for the Frisco Holiday Inn said the hotel has also received several calls from people expressing their displeasure with the hotel’s involvement in the lawsuit, filed jointly with the Washington, D.C.-based Safe Streets Alliance on Feb. 19.
The lawsuit, filed with the U.S. District Court in Denver, claims that the Holiday Inn’s business has suffered because of the proposed addition of a retail pot shop across the parking lot from the hotel, although the dispensary has yet to open. Yelp users have responded harshly to the lawsuit.
“The owners of Holiday Inn Summit County apparently feel that marijuana users belong in prison with their houses seized, like the ‘good’ old days,” wrote one Yelp user identified as Harlowe T. of Loma Linda, California. “Anti-business businesses are BAD businesses,” wrote Yelp user Damian M. of Concord, North Carolina. “Of course I am talking about the suit filed to try to get rid of the weed laws in CO.”
Scottie T. of Denver implored would-be tourists to Colorado -- a state often seen as a kind of Mecca for travelers looking to try some of the country’s first state-licensed, legal weed -- to go elsewhere. “If one of the reasons you chose Colorado for your mountain vacation is also because you want to experiment with the state-legal marijuana DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME AT THIS PROPERTY,” he wrote. “The owners of the property are known cannabis prohibitionists and are embattled in a law suit with the state of Colorado in an attempt to force the federal government to strike marijuana regulation.”
The backlash comes after a leading marijuana advocacy group called on supporters of legal weed to boycott the hotel chain in February. However, a spokesman for the D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project said Tuesday that the organization doesn’t have any formal plans to promote the boycott.
“I’ve received a handful of calls from people saying they’re going to end their memberships” with the hotel chain, said Morgan Fox, communications manager for the advocacy group. “I certainly hope more are doing so.” The group spearheaded a Change.org petition urging the hotel group to withdraw the lawsuit. As of Tuesday, the petition had over 15,000 backers.
Safe Streets Alliance argues in the lawsuit that federal racketeering laws bar the Colorado government from benefiting from the sale of marijuana, which remains illegal under federal law. Colorado added more than $50 million in tax revenue to its coffers after the first year of legal weed sales last year. A second Safe Streets Alliance lawsuit, filed the same day as the Holiday Inn lawsuit, alleges that Colorado landowners Phillis and Michael Reilly have been negatively impacted by the building of a cannabis growing facility near their property.
Jordan Worrall, a spokeswoman for InterContinental Hotels Group, which owns the Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express brands, said the company could not comment on ongoing legal matters, but forwarded this statement to International Business Times: “The Holiday Inn Summit County-Frisco, Colorado, hotel is an independently owned and operated hotel and the owners are free to express their views.”