Denver starts accepting applications for social pot spots

Applications for social marijuana spots can start rolling in, a spokesman for Denver’s licensing department said Thursday

Liz hits a joint at Chong's Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Liz hits a joint at Chong's Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)
Liz hits a joint at Chong’s Choice launch party in RiNo. (Chloe Aiello/Denverite)

Applications for social marijuana spots can start rolling in, a spokesman for Denver’s licensing department said Thursday.

City officials wrapped up their internal work Thursday allowing applicants to actually start filing with Denver Excise and Licenses at the Webb Municipal Building, 201 W. Colfax Ave. from 8 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The licensing department plans to start accepting applications for special events where marijuana can be used in September.

Denver Excise and Licenses started offering permit applications for designated consumption areas in January after city voters passed Initiative 300 during last fall’s election.

But the department wanted to finalize its rules for using marijuana in yoga studios, restaurants and other businesses as well as complete the behind-the-scenes system processes before actually accepting applications.

“Since final adoption of the rules, our team has been diligently working on the technology, applications and business processes for these new licenses,” said Ashley Kilroy, executive director of Denver Excise and Licenses in a statement. “We are glad to have these up and running and look forward to hearing from interested businesses.”

The city had not yet had any Cannabis Consumption Establishment License applications as of 9:30 a.m. Thursday, city spokesman Dan Rowland said.

Denver area marijuana consultant Logan Goolsby said he plans to file an application in coming days after he and his partners finalize the details of where they would like to open a cafe and arcade where people can consume marijuana.

Goolsby did not share who he was working with or the neighborhoods he’s considering.

“Even though Initiative 300 passed with a majority of the vote and a majority of Denver residents are in favor of creating these safe spaces for social marijuana consumption, the neighborhood representatives have also expressed their concerns. That has created a very dynamic working environment for these licenses,” he said.

Neighborhood organizations have to sign off on designated social consumptions areas opening in their boundaries.

It’s likely we won’t see a permitted spot where people can use cannabis until at least the fall given the time needed for reviewing and setting up a designated consumption area.

It’s unclear how many people will invest the thousands of dollars needed to open a designated consumption area for marijuana especially considering there’s a possibility the city could change its mind on social pot spots in just a few years.

I-300, in a nutshell, allows just about any kind of business that doesn’t sell marijuana to apply for a cannabis consumption permit under the Neighborhood-Supported Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program. If approved, a business owner can set up space for people to use marijuana in their business. The pilot program ends in 2020, at which time it can be extended, become permanent or fade out altogether.

“It’s not easy, but then again, it’s not impossible,” Goolsby said. “Our goal is to balance the intent of I-300, which voters approved, and also respect the desires of  the community.”

Business & data reporter Adrian D. Garcia can be reached via email at agarcia@denverite.com or twitter.com/adriandgarcia.

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Adrian D. Garcia

Author: Adrian D. Garcia

Adrian D. Garcia is on business and trends for Denverite, serves as treasurer for the Colorado chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists and on the board of the Denver Press Club. He can be reached at agarcia@denverite.com.