Colorado residents and tourists can now legally hotbox what just might be the country's first-ever legal cannabis consumption bus.
The Denver Department of Excise and Licenses just issued the city’s first mobile cannabis consumption permit to Kush and Canvases, a local Black-owned pot hospitality business. The company's new service, dubbed The Cannabis Experience, will allow up to a dozen people to legally smoke weed while touring the Mile-High City in a party bus. Guests will be allowed to vape and eat edibles as well, and the company will also sell merch, non-alcoholic drinks and pre-packaged snacks.
"It's been a very long time coming," said Sarah Woodson, social equity activist and Cannabis Experience CEO, to Westword. "I'm being told we're the first business in the United States of America to have this license, so Denver will be first in cannabis again."
Denverites are likely already quite familiar with the weed-friendly tour bus experience. Dozens of crafty entrepreneurs launched pot-themed bus tours shortly after Colorado legalized adult-use cannabis in 2014, but the city ultimately decided that these mobile pot lounges violated the state's public consumption regulations. Denver banned weed tour buses in 2018, and local cops soon stepped up to shut these businesses down.
Public demand for a legal spot to smoke weed with friends has remained strong, though, and state and city regulators eventually agreed to license mobile consumption lounges. The Cannabis Experience is the first company to receive full legal licensure, but other businesses can apply as well. But like all other aspects of the legal cannabis industry, these bus rides will be strictly regulated. The company will need to ensure that all customers are aged 21 or older, and booze is strictly off-limits.
Customers won't be allowed to actually buy weed on the bus, either. Bringing your own bud is an option, but the bus is also planning to make scheduled stops at local dispensaries and headshops. The company has yet to finalize these plans, but Woodson said that she hopes to develop exclusive partnerships with other local businesses that have received social equity licenses.
To ensure that the driver remains completely sober, the bus has been retrofitted to include a smoke-proof partition between the driver and the guests. The smoking area has been upgraded with air filtration systems to help clear the haze away, and each tour will also be accompanied by a staff member who will provide safe consumption tips to customers before they light up.
The Cannabis Experience is already booking rides between Denver International Airport, Union Station, and several popular downtown hotels. Eventually, the company also plans to offer tours of the popular River North Arts District and to make additional stops at popular restaurants. And for anyone willing to cough up the dough, the bus is also available for private bookings.
City officials will need to sign off on each and every planned route, however. Buses will only be allowed to operate in jurisdictions that have legalized cannabis hospitality, and will also be banned from stopping outside city parks, daycare centers, schools, or other places where pot consumption is illegal.
Fortunately, “it doesn't take long to get the route approved," Woodson told Westword. Regulators do "want to know every stop you make, your start and end points, and that you're not stopping in front of a restricted area to smoke," though.
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