Pubdate: Sat, 21 Dec 2019
Source: Westword (Denver, CO)
Copyright: 2019 Village Voice Media
Author: Nina Petrovic


The Coffee Joint, the first establishment to hold a cannabis
consumption license in Denver, is now the second pot lounge business
to apply for a state social consumption license.

Colorado Springs social lounge Studio A64 successfully applied for a
social consumption license at the state Marijuana Enforcement Division
office three hours before Coffee Joint owners Rita Tsalyuk and Kirill
Merkulov could beat them to it.

Studio A64 could not be reached for comment, but Tsalyuk and Merkulov
say the opportunity to apply for a state license is a big step for all
cannabis businesses. "This is bigger than us. It's just a bigger step
in the industry," Tsalyuk explains. "It opens the door to do something
different and plan ahead for the next year."

According to the MED, the Marijuana Hospitality Business Applications
were published online Monday, December 16, with several options for
licenses, including mobile lounges, establishments with micro sales
(limited pot sales), and establishments without micro sales. MED
communications director Shannon Gray says that the new application
aligns with state regulations, and local jurisdictions can opt in or
out of the applications as well.

"The applications are based on regulations and state law and state
rule," she says. "And since Colorado has a strong history of enforcing
local jurisdiction, local jurisdictions can decide whether to opt in
or out of these state applications."

The Colorado General Assembly passed House Bill 1230 earlier this
year, allowing qualified businesses to apply for pot consumption
areas, including marijuana dispensaries, hotels, restaurants, art
galleries, yoga studios and more. Similar to the application breweries
have, dispensaries could now apply for a tasting room license, while
businesses such as hotels or art galleries could apply for private
consumption licenses - but no alcohol sales would be allowed at any of
these businesses.

Denver is a rare Colorado jurisdiction to have already created a
social consumption program, with voters approving Initiative 300 in
2016. The initiative lets businesses apply for a social pot
consumption license in limited designated areas throughout town, and
doesn't allow smoking indoors. Under the rules, the Coffee Joint is
the only businesses that has been able to stay open, although city
officials are likely to revisit Denver's local pot use rules in 2020.

Colorado Springs also allows several cannabis clubs to operate, but
their local licenses are temporary, with social use also likely to be
revisited by city officials in 2020. According to Gray, these
businesses have a grandfather option for them to get a state license,
but must still maintain local approval.

"It feels like a relief to get the application done, but it feels like
we accomplished something," Merkulov says. "This isn't really a
material thing we can measure, but we can at least tell it's one step
further to expanding."
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MAP posted-by: Matt