For years now, Denver has been working on getting a vast community of businesses together where we can all socially enjoy our great buds with our great buds, together in a public setting. Its been a long wait, but the movement has been gaining traction and within the next couple months a handful of businesses that have already applied for their license should be up and running and within a year (if everything goes as planned) there should be an exciting variety of locations where social consumption is allowed, encouraged, and the heart of their business. All good news; however, the road up to getting to this point has not been easy.
Social Pot Use Initiative Guidelines
Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program Initiative, (Initiative 300), also referred to as the Social Pot Use Initiative or Social Marijuana Consumption Initiative gave Denver’s residents the ability to enjoy marijuana in public and within certain establishments as long as the business followed all the rules and regulations that were stated within the ordinance.
While some of the regulations were somewhat difficult to overcome, the real challenge lied in the application process. Like all ordinances, the process of applying and getting approved was arduous and littered with hoops to jump through.
One of the most challenging requirements was the location. According to the rules, the business could not be anywhere within a 1000-foot radius of a child care establishment, meaning schools and day cares. Considering that there are over 350 daycares in the city of Denver, that created the first problem. Next, you also couldn’t be located next to a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, a city recreational building, public pool, residential zone district or a public property. These restrictions took thousands of locations off the market and only opened a small window for eligible places to open a new business. Once this needle in the haystack was found you then had to get written support from the neighborhood or the presiding organization that oversees the address’s jurisdiction.
The next big challenge was abiding to the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which prevents smoking in any public or private place. Meaning that even though you are inside a facility that allows you to get a little stoney you are not able to do so by smoking it. So, joints, bongs, bubblers, pipes or anything along those lines are out, but that doesn’t put any restrictions on edibles or vaping. This of course is only a restriction put on the inside of the building. Smoking still is allowed outside if the property has a roof or a back patio; however, the owners would need to install a ventilated air system and make sure the area had shielded view from the public.
First Application – Cannabis Infused Coffee Shop
Despite the restrictions and regulations that surrounded applying for this license, like we always do, Denver citizens prevailed! Four months after the bill was passed the first application for the consumption permit was received. The Coffee Joint, a coffee shop and pot lounge, located on 1130 Yuma Court submitted their application on December 8, 2017, to be the first ever licensed social consumption establishment. Once the application is approved, you can enjoy custom cannabis infused drinks and edibles. Although their will be no outdoor area for smoking you can enjoy vaporizing pens inside and there will be a conference room for private pot infused events and parties.
Their plan is to also be an educational hub for Denver locals specializing in lessons on cannabis and featuring special talks and classes given by psychologists, scientists and psychiatrists.
Currently, the Coffee Joint is open to the public, but until they get their social consumption license approved they are only able to serve pre-packaged coffee, tea and candy or snacks. It is unclear when this process will be finalized, but they hope it will be soon.
Second Application – Cannabis Infused Spa
On February 7, 2018, the second application for a Denver Cannabis Consumer Establishment license was received. This business is taking a bit of a different approach and offering the public a way to relax, really relax. The Utopia All Natural Wellness Spa and Lounge is a marijuana infused spa that allows you to smoke, eat and vape herb products as well as participate in cannabis-infused massages and ganja yoga. With an indoor area for vaping and its ventilated outdoor area, you can enjoy your Mary Jane infused experience as a one-time visit, get a private membership or attend a weed event that falls under three categories: healing services, natural products and social consumption.
The Utopia All Natural Wellness Spa and Lounge is located in the Creswell Mansion at 1244 Grant St. and if approved should be opening their doors within the next couple months.
Now that there have been two applications received, there is sure to be more to come in the future. As stated on the Denvers Social Use Facebook Page, they predict that there should be at least three more businesses submitting their applications shortly. These businesses include an art gallery, a cabaret club and a gaming lounge.
This is a truly exciting time to be a Denver local and we can’t wait to see how this initiative evolves. As the first city in the USA to try such an innovative approach to new businesses we get a first-hand glimpse at what the hopeful future of businesses around the country will look like. As the initiative moves forward please stay tuned to our blog to get further updates on new businesses and events around the city.