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Denver Approves First Social Cannabis Consumption License

The Coffee Joint, a Lincoln Park-based cafe, will likely be the nation's first business where it is legal to consume cannabis products.

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On Monday, the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses approved a cannabis consumption establishment license for The Coffee Joint, a Lincoln Park-based coffee shop that—pending a public hearing and inspection—will be the nation’s first business where it is legal to consume cannabis products. The license approval marks one of the first major developments since Denver voters approved Initiative 300 in November 2016, giving businesses the ability to apply for licenses that allow adult marijuana consumption in designated areas.

While the license will restrict the Coffee Joint from selling any marijuana products, its co-owner, Rita Tsalyuk, manages the dispensary directly next door—1136 Yuma. If the license is finalized, patrons will be able to purchase marijuana products at 1136 Yuma (or bring their own) for use at the Coffee Joint. However, per the Colorado Clean Air Act, patrons will not be able to smoke marijuana in the Coffee Joint. “You can vape your flower, you can dab your oil, and you can consume edibles,” says store manager Meredith Wharton. “You just can’t smoke in here.”

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A public hearing is scheduled for Friday, March 2, after which the Department of Excise and Licenses will have to conduct a formal inspection of the facility. If the Coffee Joint clears these final two hurdles, they will officially be issued the license and could potentially allow marijuana consumption within the next month.

While the Coffee Joint does not yet have the cannabis consumption license, they’ve officially been open for about a month, trying to get more merchandise into the store, including glass, papers, and cannabidiol (CBD) products (while CBD is a cannabis product, it is non-psychoactive and does not produce a high when consumed). The store has also been offering complimentary coffee so people can come in and learn about the new space, Wharton says. Once the Coffee Joint has its consumption license, patrons will pay a $5 admission fee (entry will be free for 1136 Yuma customers) that comes with a complimentary cup of coffee. Also, if you buy THC coffee from 1136 Yuma, the Coffee Joint will prepare it for you.

The Coffee Joint also plans to host a number of events, including yoga and cooking classes, educational events, and perhaps even movie nights, according to Wharton. “It’s a great way to educate the community,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for people to learn about cannabis and get rid of the stigma that weed is just for stoners. “We urge people who have not been around cannabis, or who don’t know anything about it, to come here.”

(Read about legal marijuana’s effect on Colorado, five years after Amendment 64 passed.)

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