Social Marijuana Use Areas Are Cropping Up in Colorado

Marijuana Bars, Cafes & Lounges Approved by CO Governor

On May 29th, 2019, Governor Polis signed the act allowing “Marijuana Hospitality Establishments” in Colorado.  The effective date for this act was in early August 2019!  Which means marijuana cafes, lounges, dispensary tasting rooms and other social-use businesses are now legal to open in Colorado.  The businesses must apply for a license from local and state authorities by the end of 2019, but are free to open pending approval

“Colorado has many tourists and residents who choose to participate [in legal cannabis use]. Up until this bill, there’s been no way to have safe public consumption,” Polis said before signing the bill on May 29. “I’ve smelled it walking my dog. For many of us with kids, we want to make sure we don’t have that in our neighborhoods.”

Governor Polis’ public reasoning for signing the Act is that he wants a safe place for people to smoke and also doesn’t want to smell it on the street.  That’s fine as he’s doing the right thing by allowing the market to decide what social establishments people want to frequent.

But Will the Idea Take Off?

Remember those oxygen bars in the 90’s?  Not everything that is legal is profitable, or a good idea.  It may just be that these areas are a safe place for tourists and you continue to smoke with your friends on the back porch.

But we’re already seeing recreational use areas pop up in Colorado.  So far there are five in Denver and four in Colorado Springs.  See an updated listing of Colorado Marijuana Lounges here.

When Will There Be a Marijuana Lounge in Durango?

House Bill 19-1230 allows for retail marijuana shops to also allow use on the premises if they become licensed.  But remember that the ability to do this is subject to local licensing.

Via email, Durango Mayor Melissa Youssef said allowing cannabis clubs…

“would be a substantial policy change that would require a thorough public vetting process.”

“We have an engaged and involved community that cares a lot about the character of our town, and we would need to understand and discuss the implications on our community identity, as well as consider the implications on our youth.”

Despite the mayor’s tepid (and politically careful) response, Durango has shown in the past that it has the will to get these sorts of things pushed through.  During the 2012 legalization, voters approved the recreational shops, but the overall process was still contentious due to strong opposition by the minority of Durango citizens that don’t want marijuana at all.

There is no timeline yet, but pending local policy being approved, we fully expect some Marijuana Dispensaries in Durango to open up recreational use spaces.

What Marijuana Hospitality Clubs Cannot Do

  • No free samples
  • No alcohol
  • No tobacco
  • No butane torches
  • Serve visibly intoxicated persons
  • Permit rowdiness

So if you want to get rowdy while sharing a free joint with a friend, juggling butane torches and appearing intoxicated, you’ll just have to do that at home.

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