Denver Receives First Application For A Social Marijuana Use License


Social cannabis use reform, as I have said many times, is part of the second phase of marijuana legalization. Until social marijuana use is regulated the same as social alcohol use, cannabis will never truly be regulated like alcohol as voters have mandated in 8 states and counting. From a social use standpoint, marijuana is not regulated like alcohol, not even close.

Things are changing on the social use front, albeit slowly. Denver approved Initiative 300 in 2016, which set up a regulatory framework for social use within city limits. The application process for such permits opened up this year, but up until recently, no applications were received. It appears that the application drought is over. Per The Denver Post:

More than three months after Denver officially opened the gates, the first application to allow social marijuana use in a business has landed.

The applicants seek to take advantage of 2016’s voter-passed Initiative 300, which made Denver the first in the nation to launch a program allowing limited public consumption at businesses and at permitted events. Patrons must bring their own cannabis.

Entrepeneurs Rita Tsalyuk and Kirill Merkulov plan to open a coffee shop called The Coffee Joint in coming weeks in a gritty industrial area southwest of downtown. The owners have connections to a dispensary next door.

I think that it’s symbolic that the first application is for a coffee shop. After all, coffee shops were where tourists went for many years in cities like Amsterdam to purchase (and often consume) cannabis. I have seen a number of places on social media that allow social cannabis use, but presumably, they are not specifically permitted for that activity.

A lot of places exist in just about every legal marijuana state that have on-site consumption, but they are all in violation of current rules whether they want to admit it or not. The only two exceptions I have seen are Denver and Oakland. Oakland allows permitted on-site consumption at dispensaries.

Social use reform is being pushed in every state where cannabis is legal, and I am very hopeful that 2018 will be the year that all states get on board. Maybe then someone will open up a retro cannabis arcade so my dream of playing pinball while legally puffing on a joint/vape pen will become a reality!

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