Airbnb hosts in Berkshire County earned $9.8 million in 2018, serving nearly 62,000 visitors. With two recreational marijuana shops already open in Berkshire County, and the potential for more on the way, 1Berkshire CEO Jonathan Butler said it's an opportunity for even more green in the area.
"We're a visitor destination and this has the potential to bring in another audience of visitors," Butler said.
And Airbnb hosts like Andy agree. He offers a whole house in Housatonic on the app, just a few minutes away from the shop in Great Barrington.
"It's [marijuana] a new form of business, it's exclusive to the Berkshires so it's going to attract people for that business," Andy said. "But then they're also going to want to do something else, whether it's going skiing or going to a concert."
The idea of "Pot Tourism" isn't new. It's something Colorado has been baking since its first recreational shops opened in 2014.
"I think right now we've had a handful of different stakeholders come to us with some very interesting ideas, of which I think will probably proceed within the coming months or coming year," Butler said.
But there's still some work to do, Butler said because details still need to be ground out as the Commonwealth clarifies how it regulates recreational sales.
And while Andy hopes the grass only gets greener, he's also hoping the bill just signed by Gov. Charlie Baker to regulate and tax short-term rentals goes up in smoke. The bill, signed back on Jan. 2, subjects Airbnb and other home-shares to the 5.7 percent tax hotels and bed and breakfasts in Massachusetts are also subject to. It also allows localities to collect local taxes from Airbnb as they see fit.
"I do feel that it wasn't well thought out," Andy said. "I understand the basics of it is just to make an even playing field for hotels because they're not getting as much business, but as far as tourism, this is a new way of traveling, people want to stay at homes not just a hotel room."
But Butler said he doesn't believe the tax will hurt the hosts or the budding local economy.
"As a region we want the next generation of visitors to see the Berkshires as a destination and that to the extent that they embrace the sharing economy, we want to be supportive of that and we are, we're excited about it and we're excited to see those numbers increasing," Butler said. "But one thing I think we do have an obligation to do in the Commonwealth is still fairness."
Airbnb said it's hoping to roll out more of its "experiences" in Massachusetts in 2019. Experiences are another chance for hosts and locals to share their knowledge with opportunities like offering guide tours or events -- something that could also be rolled out into marijuana tourism in the area.