Whatever geographic scale you use to look at the cannabis industry—global, national, regional, or local—things are changing quickly. The world of ten years ago would struggle to recognize all the progress that has been made in such a small amount of time, and that march towards the future still travels through Denver. With Colorado’s landmark legalization battle now in the rearview mirror and Denver’s channels of cultivation and retail distribution well-establish, what is there to look for coming down the line? One area where the cannabis industry is witnessing some interesting change is in the regulation of social consumption. What can customers of Northern Lights Cannabis expect to see in the future when it comes to enjoying our products outside of their own homes?
DENVER CANNABIS CONSUMPTION IN PUBLIC
Many readers may recall a piece of legislation passed by the City of Denver in 2016 entitled “Initiative 300”, but some may still be unaware of how it affects them.
This is the piece of legislation which launched a cannabis consumption pilot program created to allow businesses to establish areas where people could consume cannabis in the “public sphere”. Public sphere, in this case, means businesses that are licensed as designated areas where cannabis can be enjoyed, not areas such as parks. Since Initiative 300 was crafted by the city, as you might expect, there has been a long journey from legal permission towards actually creating what many are now calling “cannabis lounges”.
WHERE TO CONSUME CANNABIS “PUBLICLY” IN DENVER
The first area business to receive a social consumption license was The Coffee Joint in Lincoln Park, which began allowing patrons to consume cannabis on its premises in March of 2018. Located at 1130 Yuma Ct., The Coffee Joint was opened by the business partners behind 1136 Yuma Dispensary next door, and of course, there are a few rules to note. Legislation requires that all patrons at social consumption businesses bring their own cannabis, which can only be in vaporized or edible form. Following the lines of the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, all businesses that pursue social cannabis consumption will exclude smoked forms, excluding private outdoor areas. In the case of The Coffee Joint, a receipt from Yuma Dispensary or $5 will get you inside the door. For Northern Lights customers who are looking for new and more interesting ways to enjoy our products, visit The Coffee Joint website to check out a host of events on their schedule, ranging from Retro Video Game Night to Zumba classes.
One of the people leading the way forward in this journey towards increased opportunity for public cannabis use has been local businessman Taylor Rosean of Vape & Play on South Broadway.
As reported by Ann Marie Awad of Colorado Public Radio, Rosean and his associates had their social marijuana consumption license approved in August, with plans to open Vape & Play sometime this fall. Following the business model of adult arcades, Rosean’s business will offer a wide range of entertainment options from card and board games to modern arcade offerings.
Much like The Coffee Joint, Vape & play intends to offer a broad range of activities to pair with cannabis consumption beginning with trivia nights and yoga classes. While these are some of the first trial runs of how cannabis can be enjoyed in social settings, expect businesses to respond to customer response and expand their events to the needs and wants of the public.
Initiative 300 does not currently permit public cannabis lounges to hold food and alcohol licenses, so The Coffee Joint and Vape & Play will be limited to snacks and non-alcoholic drinks on their menus. Considering how early on we are in the process of moving towards more public options for cannabis users, this is not surprising. We can expect more options to open up in the coming months and years.
THE FUTURE OF DENVER CANNABIS CONSUMPTION
Right now, businesses that are following the route of Initiative 300 are bridging an interesting gap in cannabis culture. In the past several years, options to consume cannabis outside of private homes in Denver have been limited to a small number of private clubs—many of which have been content to exist in a legal gray area. Considering the economic opportunity provided by new social consumption ventures, it would be safe to say that the way cannabis is consumed in five years from now will be quite different than today. This is good news for patrons of Northern Lights. As we continue to bring new products to the marketplace, there will be more options for customers to enjoy them.