Denver pot clubs are rare despite them being legal

Posted at 4:10 PM, Jun 09, 2018

DENVER -- Two years ago, Colorado voters passed Initiative 300, which paved the way for the first-of-its-kind cannabis consumption establishment license.

The Coffee Joint, which opened in early 2018, became the first business with a social marijuana license and allows use of vapes and edibles in its premises.

Since then, no other business has opened with the same license.

Taylor Rosean and Megan Lumpkins were just given the green light to move forward with their business called Denver Vape & Play. It is set to open at 1753 S. Broadway in Denver. It's the third ever business to apply for a license in Denver.

"It's going to be an adult social lounge and entertainment space," said Rosean. "It will be centered around a multi-station, saloon style vape bar."

Marijuana will be the main ingredient.

"This is a huge opportunity for cannabis in Denver in general," said Rosean.

But why is it that only a few businesses have applied for the license?

"As a cannabis business, it's hard to obtain funding and financing," Rosean said. "There are also a lot of zoning requirements."

The city of Denver says there are still plenty of options to open a pot club, though.

"The question we've been asking is why the 9,000 businesses that are eligible haven't applied for a license," said Ashley Kilroy, the executive director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses.

She has her own suspicions.

"We look at the issue of the fact that marijuana is still federally illegal," she said. "We've also heard anecdotally that perhaps a business landlord is not interested in having a marijuana business."

Bottom line, the city says "bring it on" just as long as the business is in compliance with licensing rules.

So far Denver Vape & Play is meeting all the requirements.

"We need to do this right," said Lumpkin. "Everyone that follows us into this market, into social consumption, is going to be building off our experiences and our successes."

Denver Vape & Play could open as early as this fall.