DENVER — Over the next week, two different Denver businesses will have hearings over their applications for a marijuana hospitality license. If granted, these businesses would be able to welcome Coloradans to smoke weed in designated lounges.
Patterson Inn, a boutique hotel, and Tetra Lounge, which calls itself "Denver's Premier Cannabis Social Club," are the two businesses at the center of the hearings.
The Patterson Inn would have a separate lounge for smoking, a place other than the rooms where people stay overnight. Tetra Lounge, on the other hand, is a bit different. It's all about being a safe place to smoke weed.
The two are similar in the fact that neither will sell weed, just provide a space for people to consume it, becoming the answer to a question many have had for years.
"One of the biggest questions over the last couple of years in the cannabis industry with consumers after they make a purchase of cannabis is, 'Where can I smoke this?" said Dewayne Benjamin, owner of Tetra Lounge.
It's something Benjamin says Denver has been in need of.
"I've been in the cannabis industry for awhile. So it pretty much came about as fulfilling a need that the market directly needed," he said.
Chris Chiara, owner of Patterson Inn, calls getting a marijuana hospitality license a dream years in the making.
"I'm heads and beds overnight hospitality, and my goal is to pair four-star hospitality with one of the most unique and exciting amenities in America with a licensed adult 21+ controlled space cannabis consumption lounge," he said.
Chiari's lounge would be called "The 420 Denver" and would be on the same property as his inn. He hopes the lounge will attract current visitors as well as new ones.
"It's an amenity for me, actually. I hope that it gives me an opportunity to market and invite guests that might not be aware of my property to come and stay," Chiari said.
At Tetra Lounge, the goal is to bring in anyone 21 and older who needs a safe space to smoke.
"Tetra is the thing that fulfills that need," Benjamin said. "It's a safe, enjoyable atmosphere for people of all different genres, races and things that come here and consume cannabis in a social atmosphere."
Before the two spots can welcome weed smokers in, they have to get through the hearing process with the city. After that, a hearing officer would draft a recommended decision about whether to approve the license. From there it goes to the executive director of Excise and Licenses, who ultimately has the final decision. If approved, required inspections would be the last step.
But for a guy who's waited years for the opportunity, Chiari says he's willing to wait just a bit longer.
"Considering how long we've waited, not long at all," he said.
The Patterson Inn has its hearing scheduled for tomorrow at 9 a.m. Chiari says if all goes well, he hopes to have his lounge open either in the fall of this year or early next year.
Tetra Lounge's hearing is scheduled for March 11. Benjamin says he's ready to open as soon as he's given the green light.