Denver’s first marijuana den opens doors

Club 64 to be open to members only

DENVER (AP) – Billed as Denver’s first legal private cannabis club, Club 64, met Monday afternoon at a Larimer Street retail store.

“We will have a ribbon cutting. We will probably go until New Year’s and a little after. There will probably be some cannabis,” said Robert J. Corry Jr., Club 64’s general counsel.

And, in tiny Del Norte in southern Colorado, a private marijuana den attached to the White Horse Inn coffee and head shop along U.S. Highway 160 was already open by late Monday morning.

Corry was a leading proponent of Amendment 64, which won voter approval in November and made it legal in Colorado for people 21 and older to possess 1 ounce of marijuana, grow up to six marijuana plants and give marijuana to another adult.

But Coloradans can’t smoke or consume marijuana publicly and openly, according to the law.

They can smoke or ingest pot at home and, as Corry and White Horse Inn owner Paul Lovato are assuming, they can also do so inside private marijuana-friendly businesses.

“Nothing in the amendment language permits consuming (marijuana) openly and publicly,” said Mark Couch, spokesman for the state Task Force on the Implementation of Amendment 64.

The rules on any clubs or lounges, Couch said, “will be sorted out in the months ahead by legislators, law enforcement and the task force.” He suggested law enforcement should be contacted for clarification.

Denver Police spokesman Sonny Jackson said the department would have to consult with city attorneys. Denver Assistant City Attorney David Broadwell said he had no comment, except the city awaits further guidance from the state.

State Attorneys General Office spokeswoman Carolyn Tyler said the task force should be asked questions related to implementation of Amendment 64.

Legal recreational marijuana sales can be made only through licensed pot shops, which will not be licensed until June and cannot be opened until October, Couch said.

Meanwhile, celebrations were afoot at Club 64, a chartered members-only club devoted to the use of cannabis.

Club 64’s location, Corry said, will be disclosed to members only through its website, Club-64.com. Corry said the club will run on private membership fees, and other refreshments – not cannabis – will be sold there.

“We’re making it safe for people,” Corry said. “There are a lot of people who, for one reason or another, can’t smoke at home.”

People might not want to smoke near children, he said. They might have a disapproving spouse. They might live in a rental home where it’s prohibited.

“People are social by nature. It’s important at this time to provide a safe place for them to associate and celebrate this new freedom,” said Chloe Villano, a Club 64 owner whose Cloverleaf Business Solutions consults with medical marijuana businesses.