In honor of this very special, 4/20, semi-post-pandemic holiday week, the city of Denver has an exciting announcement. On Monday, Denver City Council approved cannabis smoking lounges. This exciting news coincided perfectly with the cannabis holiday, getting city residents excited for what is to come.
There are already some businesses in Denver that have been holding their breath, ready and excited to pivot as soon as local law allows. The Tetra Lounge in RiNo is just one example of a private club, like many of the clubs that already exist in Denver. Out-of-towners can’t just stop in and get high, as a membership is needed, and this has been one of the major criticisms so far of the legal cannabis industry in Colorado and Denver. There still isn’t really a sustainable, legal place for tourists to smoke.
With this new ordinance passing in the city of Denver, it will now be fully legal to go in and enjoy a cannabis smoking lounge just as a guest stopping by. This is a smart move for rebuilding the economy and tourism in Colorado, as there will now be many more options for visiting folks.
“I love it,” said an unnamed individual at The Tetra Lounge about this new ruling. “I think it’s a beautiful thing, I’m glad.”
Dewayne Benjamin the owner of Tetra Lounge, echoed these sentiments a bit more eloquently. “I think it’s great for the community, especially to give them more areas like this. I think it’s a wonderful thing.”
Additionally, this new rule hopes to open up the social equity floodgates so that entrepreneurs who don’t have tons of money to spend can still get in on the action and get a piece of the pie. Just like other areas of the industry, legal cannabis consumption lounges with fewer resources will get a chance to join in and potentially rake in the big bucks. A bill passed by the Colorado state legislature creates loans for those looking to start cannabis businesses, so those looking to start a lounge in Denver under the new rule could take advantage of that offer.
According to Benjamin, this is welcome news, as he himself comes from a marginalized background under prohibition. “My family members have been dealt with with the marijuana laws the past 20 years. Arrests, things like that, tickets.”
With Cannabis Smoking Lounges, Colorado’s Weed Scene Expands
Additionally, this is an exciting opportunity for the Colorado cannabis industry at large. Cannabis buses will now be open to the public, and not just available for private events. Hospitality locations like Denver’s Coffee Joint cannabis cafe, where on-site consumption is encouraged and Bring Your Own Weed is the rule of the day, will become more prevalent. And cannabis events can now happen in places that are open to the public to attend, not just members of a specific cannabis club.
Of course, this will mean more competition for the existing cannabis smoking lounges and clubs, even though they also have more opportunities to make money. But Benjamin welcomes that challenge.
“There will be a lot of different restaurants, clubs, spas … I am looking forward to seeing the development of this in the industry,” he said.
In addition to clubs, the city council move also legalized cannabis delivery for those allowed to get into the game under the social equity provision. Now, cannabis businesses will be able to deliver their products within city limits, and within the confines of the law.
While local economies are still working to get back on their feet after the COVID crisis, measures like approved cannabis smoking lounges that support the already booming, legal cannabis industry are definitely a big help.