Skip to main content

First Private Marijuana Clubs Open in Colorado

Submitted by Phillip Smith on (Issue #765)
Politics & Advocacy

At least two members-only recreational marijuana clubs opened in Colorado Monday, one in Denver and one in the small southern Colorado town of Del Norte, according to the Associated Press. The club openings come less than a month after Gov. John Hickenlooper certified the results of the November vote on Amendment 64, which legalized for adults 21 and over the possession of up to an ounce and the cultivation of up to six pot plants.

Amendment 64 also requires the state government to come up with rules and regulations for a legal marijuana commerce within a matter of months. The clubs avoid the regulatory tangle by not actually selling marijuana. Instead, they charge a fee for membership, and paid members can bring their own marijuana and smoke it convivially at the club.

In Denver, Club 64 opened Monday afternoon, less than 24 hours after organizers announced they would create it. It already had 200 members, who had shelled out $29.99 each for the privilege of joining. The club, which will meet monthly at different locations, will charge the same fee each month.

"It's just a place for adults to exercise their constitutional rights together," Denver marijuana attorney Rob Corry told the AP. "We're not selling pot here."

As reggae blasted from speakers below a glittering disco ball and "The Big Lebowski" played on a wall screen, club members shared puffs and hugs as they gathered to celebrate the new year and the new era.

"Look at this!" club organizer Chloe Villano excitedly told the AP. "We were so scared because we didn't want it to be crazy. But this is crazy! People want this."

Not every marijuana reformer in Colorado is on board, according to a CNN report published New Year's Day. "Much of our success with Amendment 64 was making the soccer moms comfortable," an advocate told CNN, adding, "This is not the fight we want to have right now." The advocate spoke anonymously, in order to avoid creating a rift in the community, according to the CNN report.

In Del Norte, the Whitehorse Inn opened Monday afternoon, becoming the first private marijuana club in the state. But according to the Denver Post, publicity surrounding the opening resulting in owner Paul Lovato losing his lease. While Lovato had the keys to the property, his lease didn't actually start until Tuesday, and when the landlord saw the publicity, he canceled the lease before it went into effect.

"By opening early I kind of screwed myself out of my building," Lovato said Tuesday.

He had planned to open at midnight Monday, just after New Year's Eve ticked over to New Year's Day, but moved up his opening by a few hours after hearing about Club 64. Lovato wanted to be first.

"It was really unexpected," he said of the lease cancelation. "I got caught up in the whole 'I want to be the first to open' thing. And I did that. I was the first... I'm pretty proud of that."

If Lovato has lost his location, he hasn't lost his club. He said he was expecting visitors from nearby New Mexico to show up Tuesday.

"We're doing the White Horse Inn at my house today," he said.

America now has its first legal marijuana dens.

Permission to Reprint: This content is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license. Content of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.


Bhonze (not verified)

It's about time we embrace Cannabis again and let people unwind and have fun with friends without having to puke your guts out at the end of the night! No hang over; Gotta love it! Can't wait to book my flight.... MS!

Wed, 01/02/2013 - 11:04am Permalink
Anonymouss (not verified)


I wouldn't be so sure about the puking part. I hooked a friend a phat hit of some OG Kush bubble and he had a signature cough, not overboard but a "hash" cough if that makes sense, deep. He sat down on the couch, enjoying the best high he ever has in his life for about 15 minutes. Then he started bending over and curling up into a ball! He had no idea he was doing it! Passed out for 30 mins, woke up, ran to the bathroom and puked! Hahahahaha. I know we have all heard this before, but he wasn't no newb as well. I think when herb is liberated we are going to realize that the spectrum we have been separated from can be utterly devastating. A lot of people are still in the dark lol. But you are right though, alcohol can take a major backseat to the safer alternative.

Wed, 01/02/2013 - 12:52pm Permalink
kickback (not verified)

What are the membership rules if any ? If I get a membership and show up with an ounce , what`s to stop me from selling 3/4 of it to those members that show up empty handed ? A paying member could be from out of state and in town for the week . Pay the $30 and go score a good ounce .

Wed, 01/02/2013 - 9:33pm Permalink
Volunteer Activist (not verified)

Ouch, Phil great article as always, but why on earth would we want to further propagate the AP's use of the term "marijuana dens"?  It's an obvious attempt to smear the nascent cannabis industry as something dirty and underclass.

"Coffeehouse" and "Cafe" has worked well to describe these establishments in Holland and Spain.  Please!  Let's nip the use of this perjorative term right in the bud (ha ha).


While we're on the topic, why are we still using the word "marijuana" at all?

Thu, 01/03/2013 - 9:44pm Permalink
David Hart (not verified)

In reply to by Volunteer Activist (not verified)

Except that 'coffehouse' or 'cafe' is an obvious coy euphemism for where the actual substance that people go there to take isn't coffee, but no one wants to (or even legally can) openly state what they're really for. Now that they are legal, that seems a bit redundant.

I propose a classy neo-Victorianism: how about calling it a 'cannabinarium' :-)

Fri, 01/04/2013 - 7:49am Permalink
mcweed (not verified)

Urge Lovato and other entrepreneurs to open a manufacturing annex and make long-stemmed, screened-crater "ONE-HIT CHOOMETTES" for use in the coffeehouse, also have vaporizers and portable vaporizers (the fabulous rumored cannabinoid e-cigarette) TRY-OUT rentals for an inexpensive fee.  No Hot Burning Overdose Monoxide jointpapers.  This will make the Responsible Moderate Use point with sufficient clarity to defang any drug war schenannigantz from happening at or to the coffeehouses.

Mon, 01/07/2013 - 6:44pm Permalink

Add new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.