|White Horse Inn/Twitter|
The first legal recreational marijuana club in the United States has closed its doors, just one day after opening, due to a misunderstanding with the landlord, but the second club is still open for business.
The White Horse Inn opened Monday in the tiny town of Del Norte, becoming -- by just a few hours -- the first in Colorado to offer adults a chance to have a legal joint with their coffee, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post. When the landlord saw the publicity about Monday's opening, he canceled the lease before it took effect, according to White Horse owner Paul Lovato. The lease didn't start until Tuesday.
"By opening early I kind of screwed myself out of my building," Lovato admitted on Tuesday. He had planned on having a storefront for customers to buy coffee and T-shirts, as well as other souvenirs, with a private building next door where customers could smoke free samples of cannabis.
|The White Horse Inn: One of the buildings was to be the Inn proper, while the other was to be private property with complimentary marijuana|
"The White Horse Inn will be a coffee shop, head shop, 420 shop, etc.," an excited Lovato had told pot critic William Breathes of Denver Westword. "It'll have a full coffee menu, but won't serve anything infused. No put will be served or sold or distributed. But next door, at the private property, marijuana is complimentary."
Lovato had planned to open just after midnight as New Year's Eve became New Year's Day, but competition with Denver's Club 64, a members-only group that plans events at different spots throughout the year, caused Lovato to speed up his timetable. He opened for a few hours during the day on Monday, long enough to be "first in the state" and to draw the media attention that came with that, reports The Associated Press.
"Wow guys!" Lovato posted on The White Horse Inn's Facebook page on Monday. "Today was a blast and a blur!"
"To clarify... I had no Landlord dispute!" Lovato posted on Wednesday:
I had an agreement with a family man and an understanding that in a small community his families reputation or possibly well being would be threatened or compromised. There was never a dispute. There was a conversation between men and an agreement made. Nothing more, nothing less. Second, we have not closed our doors, technically! My door is open, and White Horse Inn is still very much alive. My dream of giving cannabis to the world and to anyone who would like to enjoy with me is still open and alive and active. God has blessed us with this plant (Gen 1:29) and who an I to argue with something He made and called good? He knows more than me. So again, our building is gone...but we are not closed! I'm sure there were more inconsistencies, but those are the ones that stuck out and I'll address anymore if they come to mind. Thanks, all! God bless!
Lovato had posted a similar sentiment, expressed in a somewhat more secular fashion, on Tuesday:
I just want to clarify...the landlord is fkn cool. He's not your typical asshole anti64 dickhead. He's a family man concerned about his families reputation and well being. I thank him for the opportunity!
|Colorado Cannabis Blog|
Meanwhile, other newly established private smoking clubs, including Club 64 in Denver, remained open for business. People paid a $30 fee to join Club 64; members were advised of a private location in downtown Denver where they could attend a New Year's Eve party with other tokers, reports Colleen Curry at ABC News. (The membership fee went up to $50 after New Year's Eve, according to Westword.)
Club 64 opened on New Year's Eve at 4:20 p.m. to an enthusiastic crowd of about a dozen tokers, reports CNN. Each member paid a fee of $3, allowing them to bring their own pot and smoke anywhere on the premises.
|Rob Corry: "It went really well"|
"It went really well," said attorney Robert J. Corry, Jr., owner and general counsel for Club 64. Corry helped shape the language of Amendment 64, the measure approved by Colorado voters in November which legalized small amounts of marijuana for adults.
"We rented out a retail shop for the evening," Corry said. "We had a DJ, music, some dancing, there was a bar and people brought alcohol, people brought food. It was a very warm, funny, happy evening."
"The voters of Colorado have said we want cannabis to be legalized and we want a bunch of like-minded adults to be able to get together and exercise their constitutional rights together and that's what Club 64 embodies," Corry said.
"It's a pathway to further freedom," said longtime Denver marijuana activist Miguel Lopez, who said Amendment 64 and Club 64 could serve as a model for other communities. "Are we truly free if all human beings cannot possess marijuana? Not just in Colorado but as a human rights campaign globally. Let Denver be a beacon for freedom, for true freedom."
He then fired up a joint, held in the smoke and exhaled, coughing. "You can't get off if you don't cough," he said, grinning.
|Miguel Lopez: "It's a pathway to further freedom"|
Meanwhile, Paul Lovato said he may adopt Club 64's business model for The White Horse Inn for the next year, then try opening a recreational marijuana shop when he's legally allowed to.
Amendment 64 requires a year-long waiting period before stores are allowed to open and actually sell marijuana. That provision was written into to law to give state and local government officials time to "regulate" the newly legal industry, and, proponents hoped, time for anti-marijuana elements in the community to allay their irrational fears and just calm the fuck down already.
Selling non-medical marijuana is still illegal in Colorado, but adults are now allowed to give pot to one another without compensation, according to the Denver Post. Public consumption is banned, but there's nothing in the law to prevent pot parties.
Corry brushed off suggestions that his club is damaging efforts to make marijuana more legally and socially acceptable by opening before the year-long period mandated in Amendment 64.
"This is much larger than just marijuana; this is a civil rights struggle to end prohibition and civil rights struggles and overcoming oppression (do) not happen easily," Corry said. "It has to happen by people taking chances and sometimes, yes, pushing the envelope.
"And that is how change happens in this country and that's what got us to this point," Corry said. "People taking chances and pushing the envelope."