Denver Cafe, The Coffee Joint, Receives First Social Marijuana License
On Monday, a Denver coffee shop received approval for the United States' first business license that allows patrons to use marijuana on its grounds. The Coffee Joint will soon be allowed to let customers 21 and over to vape or consume edibles they bring to the cafe. The cafe is already open at 1130 Yuma Court, east of the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Customers will not be allowed to smoke in the cafe, as Denver law states that all smoking activities are restricted to outdoor spaces. The cafe also won't be allowed to sell any marijuana products on site, however, the owners of the cafe have ownership ties to a dispensary conveniently located next door.
[video width="840" height="600" mp4="http://blog.greenrush.com/wp-content/uploads/5a9592f160b2c7af7783d416-1080x1080_Feb_27_2018_18_51_52.mp4"][/video]
Co-owner of The Coffee Joint, Rita Tsalyuk has already witnessed an increase in visitors over the past few weeks in anticipation of their license approval. She is eager to begin allowing consumption within the next few weeks and plans on holding a series of yoga, art and educational classes at the shop as well.
"Tons of people already came in," she said. "We're offering free coffee and sneak previews" of the shop.
The Coffee Joint isn't exactly the first of its kind in the U.S. Smoking lounges have been in existence in Northern California for years but have, up until now, been restricted to dispensaries only. The Coffee Joint is the first independent business to receive a license of this kind.
California legalized marijuana for recreational use at the beginning of this year. Since then, one of the issues cannabis advocates have raised has been the lack of places in which cannabis users are legally able to smoke marijuana. Lounges, similar to those found in Amsterdam, would allow cannabis users to have a public place in which to legally consume marijuana.
Location is among one of the deciding factors when it comes to whether a business can receive a license. Even in states where marijuana has been legalized, proximity rules apply. Marijuana use is restricted in close proximity to schools, childcare facilities, or alcohol and drug treatment centers.
Denver's program will serve as a test run to see it this type of license could work for businesses. As long as a business is licensed and follows several rules set by the city, they will be able to allow their patrons to consume marijuana on site. A marijuana spa in Capitol Hill is the next business to file an application for the license. If approved, the spa plans to feature two cannabis lounges; one indoors where customers can vape and consume edibles and another outdoors where they can smoke flower in a ventilated area. The spa also plans to use cannabis-infused products as part of its relaxation therapies.
It remains to be seen how The Coffee Joint will do in the face of their new license but their progress will no doubt influence future laws implemented by the city and other cities looking to establish a similar program.