If all goes according to plan, Denver will soon have its first legal recreational cannabis club.
The evolution of Colorado’s weed scene is taking another step forward. Nearly six years after voters chose to legalize recreational marijuana, Denver will soon have its first legal recreational cannabis club. The development could introduce big changes on the specific issue of smoking in public places.
According to the Associated Press, officials in the city of Denver have approved the city’s first weed lounge.
The Coffee Joint will operate as a bring your own cannabis club. That means that customers will not be able to buy weed directly on site. Similarly, there are also restrictions on how customers will be able to consume their weed.
At this point, it is unclear exactly when the lounge will open. In fact, there are still more regulatory and licensing requirements the business needs to complete before it can open.
Although the shop has received initial approval from city officials, the shop still needs to pass a few more inspections from various city agencies. After that, the lounge should be cleared to open for business.
The possibility of cannabis clubs, cafes, lounges, and bars has been a topic of conversation and debate in Colorado for a few years now.
In particular, it became a more pressing concern after the state voted to legalize recreational weed in 2012. At that point, it became much more urgent to figure out whether or not the state would allow any form of public consumption.
In late 2016, voters in Denver narrowly approved a proposal to allow marijuana lounges. This was essentially the city’s first attempt to establish places where people can legally consume weed in public.
But the process of actually opening a cannabis lounge proved to be tricky—even after voters approved the idea.
For starters, opponents of weed lounges began coordinating efforts to slow the process almost immediately after the 2016 vote. Many of their arguments focused on how a marijuana lounge might affect neighbors.
Opponents argued that such businesses would introduce unwanted second-hand smoke to the locations where they operated. Some also expressed concern that patrons might get a little too high—especially if they’re drinking alcohol.
Beyond facing criticism from opponents, the law itself set up a convoluted application process. The city of Denver began accepting applications for marijuana lounges last fall. But the process of applying and getting all necessary inspections and approvals is long and sometimes tedious.
This is part of the reason it took nearly a year and a half after the 2016 vote before Denver finally granted its first approval for a marijuana lounge. And who knows how long it will be before the Coffee Joint is actually open.
Either way, the fact that Denver will soon have its first legal recreational cannabis club further solidifies Denver as one of the nation’s most progressive cannabis havens.
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