Adams County wants to shut down private pot club

Posted at 9:57 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-24 23:57:17-04

Adams County officials are seeking an injunction to shut down a private marijuana club, more than three years after it opened for business.

Promoted as a place to legally smoke weed with others, iBake Denver is located at 6125 N. Washington Street, which is in unincorporated Adams County.

"We were looking at purchasing property and expanding," said the co-owner, who goes by Thurlow Weed. "We were like, 'Hey there is no issue.'"

While the county has seemingly looked the other way for more than three years, officials recently sent a letter giving the landlord 10 days to shut down the smoking club.

“We received some complaints from people in the community about iBake,” said Jim Siedlecki, a spokesman for Adams County government. "And that triggered our code enforcement team to go out and take a look."

In the past, the high-profile marijuana club has been featured in live shots and newspaper reports, but Siedlecki said the county was not aware of it.

iBake finally showed up on the county's radar last month because of controversy over a planned 4/20 event, and it didn't take long for the county to find that the business was permitted to be a motorcycle repair shop in 2013.

"They're not permitted as what they are representing themselves as," said Siedlecky.

After three inspections at iBake, the county will go to court in early June to seek an injunction against the business.

"In Adams County, there are only 10 marijuana related businesses allowed," said Seidlecki. "And they didn’t even apply for a permit, so they’re obviously operating illegally."

But Weed shows past fire inspections, police calls and other documents that indicate the county knew full well what business was operating there.

"We are a private tobacco retail shop, and that is legal under the Clean Indoor Air Act," said Weed, who has no plans to close his store. "We're going to fight it. We’re a legal business. They know we’re a legal business, otherwise they would not have let us open in the first place."

Meanwhile, the Denver Chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (Denver NORML) is working on a petition drive to make marijuana clubs licensed and regulated in Denver.

"We are disappointed in this action, and we are sympathetic to iBake," said Judd Golden, an Attorney for Denver NORML. "Unfortunately, the law in Adams County and in most of Colorado is not friendly to the needs of people who buy legal marijuana and want a safe, legal place to consume socially outside private homes." 

Legalization under Amendment 64 prohibits “open and public” consumption, and this has been interpreted by most government to prohibit private clubs like iBake, said Golden. 

"We are hopeful that Denver voters will approve our measure, so similar clubs and other business models can open in Denver in 2017," said Golden.