The idea of a social cannabis club has been floating around the aptly named Mile High City for quite some time. The ball was rolling a few years back and it looked as though pot clubs were only months away. Yet the concept came to a halt when the current administration made it clear that they were not 420-friendly. Not wanting to rock the boat, Denver applied the brakes. But that did not last long - the city has approved an application for the first official club.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Mary Jane is going public.
During a hearing that occurred in February, the hearing officer encouraged the city of Denver to accept the social club’s application. The Department of Excise and Licenses eventually agreed. And now The Coffee Joint is the city’s first cannabis club (and a nice little play on words).
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
Denver is a cannabis-friendly city, but that doesn’t mean everyone likes the idea of pot’s prevalence. When Amendment 64 passed in 2012, the margin was slim – cannabis got just over 50 percent of the vote. Even then, the fact that so much tax money went to schools was a major factor.
A lot has changed in the past five years and, were the same measure to present today, it’s fair to assume more people would vote yes. Still, Denver is filled with all kinds of people – those who like cannabis, those who are indifferent, and those who don’t want it around.
In the past, this has been an issue: a cannabis-friendly church received many complaints from its neighbors, for instance. But that isn’t a factor right now.
The Coffee Joint is located at 1130 Yuma Court and documents from the hearing show that neighbors support its existence. They like the idea of driving traffic to local dispensaries as well as local businesses. They also like the idea of giving themselves – and others – a safe place to consume.
The Coffee Joint is located right next to a dispensary operated by the same owners, making it convenient for users (as well as the businessmen and women). But it’s not a ‘smoke ‘em if you got ‘em’ environment. Denver doesn’t allow indoor smoking (not tobacco or otherwise) and the rules apply here as well. There is no outdoor patio to allow for outdoor smoking, either. So, people who want to take advantage of the club can either vape or consume edibles on the premises. To do so, patrons must pay a five-dollar entrance fee.
Before The Coffee Joint fully opens its arms to Mary Jane, it’s expected to go through an inspection process and a bit more red tape. It was the first business to submit an application, though any place that serves alcohol was barred from applying.
Tourism in Colorado
Recreational cannabis is now old hat – more states have legalized and that has cost Colorado some toker tourism. Yet they're still proving to be trailblazers in regard to the leaf: Colorado is the first state with an official and regulated social pot club, though other states (especially Nevada) are not far behind. Nor is California, as they’ve had several unofficial clubs in existence for years as part of their medical marijuana program.
It’s fair to assume that they’ll wait and see what – if anything – happens in Colorado. We are still dealing with a federal government that is very anti-ganja and it’s always possible this next step will give the feds reason to step in.
Colorado has tried this before, sort of. Colorado Springs was also home to several unofficial and legally gray clubs. If you’re local, you see the irony in this: Colorado Springs is one of, if not the most, conservative city we have. The government eventually intervened and told the clubs to close. Some have stayed open with the help of temporary licenses, but they’re not thriving and their legitimacy remains iffy at best.
So, Denver it is - for now anyway. The Coffee Joint is the first, but it won’t be the last. Many other businesses, from massage studios to yoga studios, are toying with the idea of adding a cannabis club to their repertoire.