DENVER — The Patterson Inn in Denver hopes to soon welcome Coloradans to smoke weed in its lounge, but there are still a few hurdles in the way.
“This has the potential to open up a business no one has seen before,” said Patterson Inn owner Chris Chiari.
Chiari says it's been a process to obtain a marijuana hospitality license. Right now, they are waiting for the city and county to approve the ventilation system.
“One of the reasons my lounge is 950 square feet is I need to move the air in this room 20 times an hour. In fact, it needs to move 100 times more than a commercial space,” he said.
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The lounge will be located in a separate room in the hotel, and the marijuana smoke will be contained. Food will be served, but not alcohol.
Chiari says employee safety is also important.
“Part of my original application was an odor control plan that everything from creating a positively pressurized zone around the employees' workstation and closing it in glass to truly create a workspace that's isolated from the cannabis smoke,” he said.
Chiari says he plans to offer employees the option of wearing an N95 mask.
The Tetra Lounge is also in a similar situation. Owner Dewayne Benjamin told Denver7 he's also trying to figure out ventilation system specifications and is submitting plans for ADA compliance.
Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses says The Coffee Joint is the only hospitality business in Denver currently allowing consumption of cannabis, and that's just through vaping and edibles. Smoking isn't allowed.
“This is a unique license because it's never really been done before,” said Eric Escudero, Denver Department of Excise and Licenses spokesperson. “The city is going to take a measured approach, make sure that whenever these businesses are operating are safe.”
Chiari says he understands and will do all he can to make this business a reality soon.
“This is my life's work,” he said.
Chiari and Benjamin hope to open their doors by spring.