Denver Coffee Shop First to Apply for Social Pot Use

Friday, December 15, 2017

More than a year after Denver voters approved social marijuana use at licensed businesses, the city has received its first application.

The Coffee Joint in west Denver will be the first in the city to allow vaping and the consumption of edibles. City regulations prohibit smoking cannabis indoors. As part of the licensing process, owner Rita Tsalyuk was required to get approval from the local neighborhood association.

“I really feel comfortable,” said Aubrey Lavizzo who is part of the neighborhood association which met with the owners of the Coffee Joint.

“Our main concerns where whether or not they are going to be good neighbors,” said Lavizzo. “But they were coming to our meeting and answering all their questions.”

Denver finalized rules for social use five months ago, but many local businesses complained that the city’s regulations are so restrictive that they discourage businesses from applying. In addition to receiving approval from local neighborhood associations, social cannabis use businesses are required to adhere to a host of regulations. Rules include operating at least 1,000 feet from schools, as well as restrictions to keep social use shops at least 1,000 feet away from daycares, public recreation — public parks and community pools — and alcohol and drug treatment facilities. The application fee is $1000.

A public hearing will be held in the next two or three months. In the meantime, the Coffee Joint plans on opening at the end of the year as a regular coffee shop. Tsalyuk expects to open the shop for marijuana consumption in March 2018.

“I want it to have a Starbucks feeling, but more like the Highlands,” said Tsalyuk. “They’ll watch TV, listen to music, do art, there will be lessons, educational events, just no cannabis… yet.”

Denver’s social use regulations prohibit marijuana dispensaries from applying for a social use license, so plan to BYOM (bring your own marijuana). Luckily, the Coffee Joint is neighbors with an a existing recreational cannabis shop.

Once the Coffee Joint opens for social cannabis use, there will be a $5 admission fee that includes coffee and tea.