Marijuana smokers in Denver now have somewhere to go to light up, relax and enjoy themselves with friends. While pot is not sold there, members are free to bring it and smoke it, after paying a membership fee.
Less than a month after Colorado's governor signed into law a constitutional amendment allowing recreational pot use, the pot clubs have started springing up.
While it might sound a little like the famous coffee shops in Amsterdam, there is a difference, as in Colorado, the sale of marijuana is prohibited. It is a case of bring your own and light up.
One of the clubs is Club 64, named after the constitutional amendment, which is located in an industrial area near downtown Denver. The club opened on Monday and 200 people signed up.
The admission fee is $29.99, to enjoy reggae music and disco lights, and a few snacks, while smoking your own pot.
Club 64 was created by Chloe Villano, whose Cloverleaf Business Solutions consults with medical marijuana businesses, and who is excited by the response. She told AP, "Look at this! We were so scared because we didn't want it to be crazy. But this is crazy! People want this."
According to the Denver Post another, similar pot club opened earlier on Monday in Del Norte, a small southern Colorado Town. The club is attached to the White Horse Inn coffee shop on US Highway 160.
Mark Couch, spokesman for the state Task Force on the Implementation of Amendment 64 said, "Nothing in the amendment language permits consuming (marijuana) openly and publicly."
While the marijuana amendment prohibits public consumption, the private clubs are permissible by law. Robert Corry, attorney for Club 64 says that this is because the marijuana is not sold, nor is it considered to be food or drink.
Corry said, "It's just a place for adults to exercise their constitutional rights together. We're not selling pot here."
"We're making it safe for people," Corry added. "There are a lot of people who, for one reason or another, can't smoke at home."
According to Villano, the pot club will be meeting on a monthly basis at different locations, and the membership fee of $29.99 is payable each time.
"People are social by nature," said Villano, "It's important at this time to provide a safe place for them to associate and celebrate this new freedom."
The first location was a hemp-based clothing store near downtown Denver. Clothing was pushed aside and a few small tables were added. A big screen was showing "The Big Lebowski".
A bar, decorated with Christmas lights, gave out sodas and the official snacks of Club 64, Goldfish and Cheetos. The snacks are a pun on the words of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, who sent a warning to marijuana users on the night of the vote, saying "don't break out the Cheetos or Goldfish too quickly."
One of the new Club 64 members, Joe Valenciano, heard about Club 64 the day before and immediately signed up to celebrate the New Year there. "We need more clubs like this," Valenciano said.
According to amendment 64, it is now legal for people 21 and older to possess one ounce of marijuana. They can also grow up to six marijuana plants and are allowed to give marijuana to another adult.
And now, it seems, they have somewhere to socialize and smoke it with friends.
Later update:RT reports that the pot club in Del Norte has since been closed. Apparently the club's owner's lease only began on January 1, and the owner of the building shut him down.