Denver Regulators Approve First Social-Use Business License

While lawmakers in Massachusetts are blocking the state’s voter-approved plans for social cannabis use, regulators in Denver, Colorado have finally moved forward on the successful 2016 voter initiative that enables certain businesses — such as bars, restaurants, cafes and yoga studios — to seek licenses allowing the use of cannabis in their establishment. On Monday, officials awarded the city’s first social-use cannabis license to The Coffee Joint, according to a Denver Post report.

Soon, The Coffee Joint patrons who are at least 21-years-old will be allowed to bring their own vaporizers and/or infused edibles to consume in the shop (though store owners will not allow smoking anywhere on the premises). The business is not licensed to sell or dispense cannabis products, though it is located next door to a licensed dispensary named 1136 Yuma which shares the same co-owners.

Rita Tsalyuk, who co-owns The Coffee Shop and 1136 Yuma with Kirill Merkulov (Tsalyuk’s husband also co-owns the dispensary), said that they plan to charge a $5 entrance fee but will not make the coffee shop into a members-only destination.

“Tons of people already came in. We’re offering free coffee and sneak previews [of the shop].” — Rita Tsalyuk, co-owner of The Coffee Shop and 1136 Yuma, to the Denver Post

According to the report, several other companies in Denver may also be receiving a social-use cannabis license soon, including a cannabis-inspired wellness spa.

This appears to be the first case of a non-cannabis related company receiving a license to allow cannabis use in the U.S. — social clubs have appeared previously in California, Oregon, and Alaska but were either operating without a license or were located inside of an already-licensed dispensary.

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