Denver gets first marijuana social-use applicant

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More than a year after Denver voters approved marijuana social-use lounges, the city has its first applicant – a coffee shop that plans to allow vaping and the consumption of cannabis edibles.

The Coffee Joint’s application comes more than five months after Denver finalized rules for social-use clubs.

The rules are so restrictive that some wondered whether any business would apply.

Entrepreneurs Rita Tsalyuk and Kirill Merkulov told The Denver Post they’ll start selling coffee by the end of the year, then allow social cannabis use if their application is approved.

A public hearing on the license will be held in the next two or three months, city officials told the Post.

Tsalyuk and Merkulov co-own a dispensary, 1136 Yuma, next to The Coffee Joint.

Businesses with marijuana sales licenses can’t apply for onsite consumption in Denver, but they’re allowed to open separate operations.

Denver has come under fire for setting up elaborate rules for consumption clubs after they were approved by the city’s voters in 2016.

Other municipalities with recreational marijuana sales, notably Las Vegas, have said they’re watching Denver’s experience with marijuana clubs before licensing them.