Craving a socially-distant weed vacation to soothe the pain of 2020?
You’re in luck. Tucked high up in the trees of the Cascade foothills in Monroe, Washington, about an hour outside of Seattle, sits Mountain Views Tree House Joint. This retreat of cannabis consumption-friendly treehouses offers adults a socially-distant dream vacation.
The whimsical bed-and-breakfast treehouse rooms come with all the amenities— including a locally purveyed cannabis package for an upgrade ($90). The rentals are for adults aged 21-and-up.
The property is located on four acres near Rudolf Reece Park in the lush Snohomish County. It consists of one 3,000-square-foot home, and four treehouses: the Pot Leaf treehouse, the most often-publicized, it’s 100-square feet with mossy pathways leading up to it and a lighted skylight; there is the Hashtag treehouse, a bright, window-panned, yet snug 70-square-feet; and the 420 Treehouse which offers guests a 90-square-foot elevated glamping experience. Three rooms for rent are also available in her large house on the estate.
The resort of treehouses has added its fourth this year, just completed. It’s called The Trippy Treehouse, constructed by legendary treehouse architect Sunray Kelley. This psychedelic addition will be the property’s largest treehouse, at 150-square-feet, and available for rental bookings soon.
The Treehouse Joint is the brainchild of Tracy Rice, founder and cannabis industry veteran. Born a New Yorker, Rice first moved to Washington 14 years ago. She entered in the cannabis industry in Nederland, Colorado, where she opened a medical dispensary called Nedicate in 2010. After selling the storefront and coming back to Washington, Rice began a new chapter in cannabis industry idealization and built her next business. A tourist destination in the trees.
I spoke to Rice about the tourism industry post-pandemic, how she acquired the skills of not one but two legendary treehouse builders, and a unique, forest experience cannot be found on any other cannabis vacation.
How has tourism progressed for cannabis consumers since you entered the industry? Have you seen more interest from a different type of cannabis consumer, or what has been the sentiment for you?
Tracy Rice: I’ve been in Washington for 14 years. In the beginning, when I founded this business 7 years ago, it was still only medically legal in Washington. So the rules have definitely changed to be more conducive for this type of environment. They wrote adult-use cannabis, finally, into our laws about 5 years ago. Now, we can offer cannabis packages to guests. After that change, people were traveling more with marijuana in mind.
I am a huge stoner. I really won’t go anywhere that doesn’t have weed. I am getting a lot of people who won’t go on vacation unless they have weed waiting for them. I am getting a lot of dabbers, some pretty intense stoners. But I’m also getting people who like to travel and smoke weed on the side, too. My market is, anyone who likes treehouses. But specifically, people who like weed and treehouses. I always ask everybody, ‘how did you find the space?’ Usually, the response is, ‘I was looking for a treehouse, and then I found this place.’ It makes me laugh every time.
I see amazing Washington purveyors of cannabis on your page. Do you highlight local cannabis products for travelers who come to the treehouses?
I love the local brands. I’ve definitely hosted a bunch of parties for cannabis companies. My favorite was for Falcanna, they brought falcons, it was the coolest thing ever. They had two falcons, baby falcons in the kitchen. They did a live demonstration of them eating.
Beth from Falcanna hosted her party here, pre-COVID, so she invited all the companies who had her products in the store. It was exclusively for buyers in the stores who had the products. It was seriously the coolest party that I hosted here for sure. I love to host cannabis events. Obviously, with COVID, people are not having large-scale events. We look forward to hosting them again someday, but until then, everything is small and socially-distant.
I know Sunray Kelly is building your Trippy Treehouse, which he recently finished construction on. And Kelly also built your Pot Leaf treehouse? How did you meet him?
I just got my very first treehouse, the Hashtag Treehouse, and it was built by Derek Diedricksen, from the HGTV show called Tiny House Builders. My friend Adele, she owns a treehouse in Alaska, and she flew out because she knew I was getting a treehouse and she wanted to introduce me to Sunray Kelly. So I brought Derek and his brother back to the airport on Tuesday, and then I met Sunray on Friday. By next Tuesday, one week later I was getting another treehouse. The paint wasn’t even dry on the first one. It was serendipity.
Sunray built the famous Pot Leaf treehouse, how long did it take him?
It only took a month. Because it’s basically a kit, he puts half of it together when he’s at his house. It only takes him like one day to put the base of it in the tree, and then it took a couple of days for it to be put up. It takes about one month total from start to finish, and then it’s completely done. He starts on the day he’s going to start, and he finishes when he says he’s going to finish. The best part is, I never know what they’re going to look like ahead of time, ever. I just give him a bunch of money and he gives me a treehouse.
What has it been like watching him work, do you ever know what the treehouse will end up being?
He surveys the land, gets in touch with the trees, he decides. At first, I was gonna have a ramp because ramps are easier. And then he got here and he was like, ‘nah, it’s going to have steps.’ Next thing I know, I have 19 steps up to the treehouse. That wasn’t the plan, but it looks amazing. Every time I walk out there, something different surprises me. I like to walk out there once a day, I like to be surprised. A lot of people couldn’t work like that, I know, I am not one of those people. He knows what he’s doing, so I just let him do his thing.
Kelly’s designs seem of nature, I’ve seen architects refer to him as a “spirit of nature.” Do you have any asks or requirements going in?
The only thing that I said was, it needs to sleep four people. That’s it. It needs to be bigger, it needs to accommodate taller people better. Because I was not accommodating taller people very well. This one is not custom-made for me. This one, tall people can stand up inside of it, on the bottom and on the top.
The Pot Leaf treehouse is basically half wood from his property and the other half is from my property. All of the cedar you see in the Pot Leaf treehouse, those come from trees that were on his property that he was born and raised on. They’ve been in his family forever. 500-year-old cedar makes up the Pot Leaf treehouse. All the railings around the Pot Leaf treehouse, all the steps inside, are made from my cedar trees. You can actually look out the window and see where he took the branches out from my cedar, too.
So that’s why I think the Pot Leaf is so magical, half of it came from his property and the other half came from my property.
Who is the Trippy Treehouse for?
People who like to enjoy fun, safe trips.
Due to COVID, it has been such an insane year for the tourism and travel industries. How have you pivoted, have you seen guests come for the unique “socially-distant” potential that treehouses offer?
So I started offering no contact check-ins, people don’t even have to meet me to come here. I give them a set of instructions and they check themselves in. I don’t have to see anybody, they don’t have to see me. People can come here and not talk to a soul, it just depends on what experience they are looking for. I just hope everyone gets the experience they need while they are here.
As far as traveling, people are definitely more hesitant. But we have all the cleaning measures, I got an ionizer. Each of the treehouses has Lysol, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes. I definitely am accommodating all the rules, which has helped.
I have had the busiest summer I’ve ever had. But I also think people aren’t traveling very far, they’re looking for a lot more local places, and we are close to a big city, Seattle.
Where do you see the cannabis industry in the United States in 5 years? What about the psychedelic/plant medicine movement?
I think a lot of the accessories are going to be very new age. The Bello that just came out is a great example. They’re going to be COVID friendly, and not for sharing. With the Bello, you sip, it’s a vapor tap. Everyone gets their own glass. Nobody is sharing anymore. Everyone gets their own bong, their own glass, their own vaporizer bag when they come to stay here. People aren’t going to be sharing joints anymore, they’re going to have their own boujee accessories.
The Bello looks cool! Is it offered as a rental for the Treehouse?
I’m actually planning on it being available soon, within the month of November. So the first month of the Trippy Treehouse is going to include a Bello and a Puffco rental. I want to push the boujee accessories in there. I have ten glasses, you get a marker to mark your glass while you’re here. Nobody shares anymore, everyone gets their own custom bong, vapor bag, that’s how we do it. It is one consumption solution. You get your own glass, everything is perfect.
Have you pivoted marketing events, like I do see on your Instagram page COVID-safe outdoor weddings?
So I do small-scale weddings. My bride and groom are getting married here on Saturday. They had a huge wedding planned, but had to cancel it due to COVID.
The bride asked me if the animals could participate in the wedding photos for the next two hours. I was like, ‘yes of course, how many changes of clothes? What do you want them to wear?’ The wedding ceremony was one hour, then for the next two hours, they were taking pictures of the goat and the pigs. She brought them all these outfits, flower crowns and hats and sombreros. She went crazy, she loves animals. The second round of wedding pictures will be hilarious. Twice already, now, people were going to have a big wedding, but they canceled last minute.
Your pig, Veggie, is so cute. Do they wander around the property, are they like your dog?
Oh yeah, she free roams the property. She lives inside of the house. She actually sleeps underneath a full-sized bed. She sleeps underneath it every day of her life, she won’t sleep on top of it, about 8 to 20 hours a day. She’s real lazy, I’m looking at her right now.
She free roams, the goats also free roam. The goats are out with Veggie all day. Until they make it to the forest, and I let them back in. The animals free roam the property so anytime people are here, they can interact with the pig and the goats.
I recently started offering the animal experience. That is me putting pajamas on the goats, dressing up the animals, it’s an interactive time. Veggie has a lot of clothes, the goats have a lot clothes right now. The animal experience has been a big hit with people. We dress up the baby goats like little babies, and it’s the most adorable thing ever. Combined with the marijuana experience, it’s even more fun. It’s a very one-of-a-kind experience.