The rise of the marijuana den in Colorado
As private pot clubs spring up legal issues arise
Published: Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, January 23, 2013 01:01
This past November saw the passage of Amendment 64 in Colorado. The amendment legalized the sale and use of recreational marijuana in the state and on Dec. 10 Gov. Hickenlooper signed the law into effect. So, theoretically marijuana is now officially legal, save for a few minor obstacles.
The largest hurdle that Amendment 64 still has left to scale is that of buying and selling marijuana—legally. The amendment gave the Colorado government one year to figure out the odds and ends of the new and rather vague law, a chore Hickenlooper has left to a special task force he created. Currently there are no licenses to sell recreational pot; however, an individual with the proper documentation can still buy from medical dispensaries. In January 2014 Colorado will hand out the first official licenses for recreational marijuana stores.
In the mean time, Coloradans are doing their best to find every possible way around the legal hindrances. The Denver Post reported that The White Horse Inn in Del Norte, CO opened and closed its doors on Monday, Dec. 31, making it the first pot club in the state. The small cafe sold everything you would expect to find in a coffee shop, however, in a private building next door a space was offered for customers to enjoy free pot samples as well as pass and trade their own. In order to follow state law The White Horse sold no marijuana, recreational or medical. According to The Post, a dispute with the landlord of the property shut the den down before the smoke had even settled; The White Horse Inn had in fact breached its lease by opening before the first of the year.
Similar members only clubs have begun cropping up in Denver. The New York Daily News reported that Club 64, named after the amendment, has been holding private get-togethers in the industrial district north of downtown. The club meets in different locations throughout Denver and charges $29.99 for admission. Again, marijuana is neither bought nor sold at any capacity. Instead members are urged to bring their own marijuana and trade with others.
According to the Westword, The Front, a tea shop and art gallery in Lafayette, has followed the same path. The shop holds cannabis events every night except for Thursdays. The Hive, as The Front has been newly dubbed, has become a space for pot smokers to come together in a friendly social setting.
However, many cities throughout the state have chosen to fight the opening of marijuana dens. The Denver Post reported that Fruita, a town just west of Grand Junction, has placed an immediate moratorium on all private marijuana clubs. The Aspen Daily News has also written that Aspen is also resisting the opening of any marijuana dens, citing the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act.
As the year progresses many questions about marijuana, its use, sale, and the many new intricacies that come along will surely arise. For those Denver residents eager to light up outside the house, they can join the waiting list at Club 64.