Despite being legal for years, marijuana bars and cafes have been basically nonexistent in Colorado. Why? Because regulations were so cumbersome it simply wasn’t worth the effort. That changed on January 8 when the state Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) rewrote its rules to allow, among other things, weed hospitality businesses to sell the same amount as dispensaries of most products (like up to an ounce of flower) and axed a requirement for security cameras in consumption areas. “Cannabis hospitality is the next frontier,” says Brian Vicente, founding partner of Vicente LLP, a Denver-based law firm specializing in the marijuana industry, “and it’s been anticipated the state would eventually tackle it.”

But Vicente isn’t convinced the new rules are simply to reduce red tape. With tax revenue from marijuana sales down significantly since the pandemic, Colorado may be trying to bolster its other stash of green. Regardless of the reason for the policy shift, entrepreneurs aren’t waiting around. Here are three spots where you’ll be able to toke in public this year.

JAD’s Mile High Smoke

Like any good watering hole, this north Denver “cannabar” hosts live music, comedy shows, and ladies’ nights. But unlike your favorite dive, you’ll find actual bud instead of Bud Light. And while JAD’s was the first weed hospitality business of its kind to navigate the state’s original regulations when it opened in April 2022, it’s still benefiting from the new rules: You can now order a larger serving of flower from its budtenders, and they’ll even wrap up your leftovers to go. Open now

Pure Elevations Spa and Garden

Getting a massage with THC-infused lotions and therapy creams is considered consumption, which, under the old state rules, meant security cameras had to watch. Now that MED has abolished that buzzkill, massage therapist Rebecca Marroquin will open Denver’s first cannabis spa sometime in the next few months. You can set the mood pre-massage by burning a joint from the on-site dispensary in the outdoor garden and then rouse yourself with a weed-free latte from its coffeeshop on your way out the door. Opening this spring

Cirrus Social Club

Denverite Arend Richard, who got started in the weed business in 2012 with a now defunct, stoner-friendly YouTube channel, is bringing a high-end cannabis club to East Colfax. As with most swanky establishments, you’ll be able to make a reservation to visit this smoke spot, which will be inspired by cocktail lounges of yore. The 85-year-old building’s $3.5 million renovation—including a new ballroom, flashy chandeliers, and a pink grand piano fit for ganja royalty—should make Cirrus worthy of its namesake high-flying clouds. Opening this fall

This article was originally published in 5280 April 2024.
Barbara O'Neil
Barbara O'Neil
Barbara is one of 5280's assistant editors and writes stories for 5280 and