Colorado’s recently passed Amendment 64, which decriminalized marijuana use and possession, has seen a number of businesses spring up in hopes of capitalizing on the new marijuana economy, although it still remains illegal to purchase the substance for non-medical purposes.
Two such businesses, both marketing themselves as cannabis clubs, successfully opened their doors for the first time on Monday, in time to welcome in the new year. White Horse Inn opened Monday morning in Del Norte and Club 64 opened later the same day at 4:20pm in Denver.
Although marijuana cannot be smoked or consumed publicly, cannabis clubs are hoping to get around this technicality by making their clubs private. Club 64 requires membership fees to gain access and will only disclose its constantly changing location to registered members, who are expected to bring their own marijuana. White Horse Inn is a commercial building, where customers make purchases of $15-$20 cups of coffee in order to gain access to a private building next door where free samples of marijuana will be handed out. All of these hurdles presumably allow cannabis clubs to provide a place for people to obtain and use marijuana outside of their homes when Colorado laws would otherwise prohibit both the sale and public consumption of marijuana.
These clubs exist in the same legal limbo that medical marijuana has long called home. There is some doubt as to how long the federal or even state government will allow them to operate but for one club, the White Horse Inn, it wasn’t some legal ambiguity or judge’s gavel or courtly decree that caused them to close their doors. No. The White Horse Inn, Colorado’s America’s first cannabis club, was closed by their landlord.
In an effort to beat the competition, Club 64, as the first cannabis club to open in America, White Horse Inn’s owner, Paul Lovato, opened early on Monday to claim all the publicity that such a title would garner. He did just that, but in doing so also allowed his landlord to fully realize what kind of establishment White Horse Inn would be. The landlord quickly cancelled Lovato’s lease before it took full effect on Tuesday.
This serves as just another reminder that you can fight The Man, express yourself, and start a maverick business in an unexplored marketplace, but you can never ignore your landlord.