When the nation's only bed, bud and breakfast opened here two years ago, it
created quite a stir.

The marijuana-friendly hotel was front-page news in the Los Angeles Times.
The New York Times, High Times, People Magazine, and CNN also picked up the
story.

Why, even Jay Leno cracked that, instead of mints, guests would find a
complimentary joint on every pillow. When someone knocked on the door,
quipped Leno, the "whoosh" of the inn's toilets flushing could be heard for
miles.

While the media frenzy has for the most part dried up, business at the
Compassion Flower Inn has begun to bud, and Saturday will mark its two-year
anniversary.

The fact that the celebration falls on 4/20 is no coincidence. The date is
an annual counterculture holiday known as the stoner New Year's, widely
believed to have originated at San Rafael High School in 1971 by a red-eyed
group of teen-agers who would meet daily at 4:20 p.m. to fire up a fattie.

"The bed, bud and breakfast has caught the attention of several million
people," said Andrea Tischler, who co-owns the handsome 1865 Gothic-Revival
Victorian inn with her partner Maria Mallek. "I think this is going to be
our best year yet. We might even break-even or make a little."

Indeed, the one-of-a-kind establishment, which caters to medical-marijuana
users and open-minded vacationers, has drawn guests from around the world,
due largely to Internet advertising.

Though the guest register typically includes a 50-50 mix of heterosexuals
and homosexuals, many of those who stay here suffer from AIDS and cancer,
or are simply curiosity-seeking travelers.

Occasionally, Tischler says, an unsuspecting tourist will make a
reservation to stay in one of the classy joint's five themed rooms.

"We had an FBI agent stay here once," laughs Tischler, recalling a casual
breakfast conversation with the man, in town for a triathlon. "We put him
in the 'Hemp Room.' "

After the agent checked out, Tischler discovered he had left some clothes
behind.

"I took them to him in San Francisco, and he said 'This is the first time a
pothead has brought my clothes to me'," Tischler said, pausing. "I'm not
exactly a pothead."

Like the FBI agent, local police, too, have taken a very mellow position on
the Laurel Street hemp hotel, where guests with a physician's prescription
can smoke pot on the "toker's deck," where it is strictly BYOP.

The chill attitude reflects that of Santa Cruz voters, who overwhelmingly
supported Proposition 215, which passed in 1996. The California law allows
patients under a doctor's care to be treated with marijuana.

"To my knowledge, we have had no calls, no complaints, and no issues (with
the inn)," Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Jeff Locke said. "I would say
that 50 percent of the serious calls we get for service are
alcohol-related. Alcohol is by far more costly to the community for
enforcement than marijuana would be. Unless we get a complaint, (the inn)
will not get priority treatment."

For more information, visit: http://www.compassionflowerinn.com


Pubdate: Sat, 20 Apr 2002
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2002 Santa Cruz Sentinel
Contact: editorial@santa-cruz.com
Website: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/