The Coffee Joint wants to be Denver’s first legal marijuana club

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By Jon Murray The Denver Post

A spokesman for the Denver department that regulates marijuana businesses, Dan Rowland, says the city received a request on Friday from a business called Coffee Joint. The location is in a lighter industrial area off Interstate 25.

More than three months after Denver officially opened the doors, the first application to allow the use of social marijuana in a business has landed.

Applicants seek to take advantage of the voter-approved Initiative 300 in 2016, which made Denver the first in the nation to launch a program that allows limited public consumption in businesses and at permitted events. Customers must bring their own cannabis.

Entrepreneurs Rita Tsalyuk and Kirill Merkulov plan to open a coffee shop called The Coffee Joint in the coming weeks in an industrial area southwest of the city center. The owners have connections with a dispensary next door.

Dan Rowland, the spokesman for the Denver licensing department, confirmed on Monday the application for the first license to establish cannabis use. He said that a public hearing on the license would be established in the next two or three months.

But The Coffee Joint has perhaps cleared the most difficult bar established by the extensive administrative rules adopted by city licensing officials during the summer: it has support from the La Alma-Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association.

"I met with them several times, and one of their members also toured the facilities," Tsalyuk said. "We are going to be good partners."

Despite the name, the company does not plan to allow the use of marijuana.

If the request is approved, the owners plan to allow vaping and consumption at the site. grocery store in the 21-and-over business at 1130 Yuma Court, just east of Interstate 25. They will charge a $ 5 admission fee that includes basic coffee and tea offerings, Tsalyuk said. They hope to offer a welcoming environment, he said, by offering premium drinks and packaged foods for sale along with table games, retail items, art and music.

"We will open as a cafeteria in the next two weeks," she said. "We hope to open before Christmas" with only coffee and tea until the approval of the city of its application allows the consumption of marijuana.

Tsalyuk said the company will also offer vaping equipment for rent and hopes to offer programs that educate clients about the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

Her husband and Merkulov are co-owners of the dispensary next door, which is called 1136 Yuma. It opened next year and now offers both medical and recreational marijuana sales, he said.

Under the rules of Initiative 300, companies with licenses to sell marijuana can not request consumption on the site, but are allowed to open separate businesses.

The initiative requires customers to bring their own marijuana for use in the business. And companies must follow the smoking ban inside the state, although they can allow vaping indoors.

Applicants must also obtain support from a nearby neighborhood or business group, which allows them to establish additional restrictions adapted to the area.

of I-300, which 54 percent of Denver voters approved last year, argue that city officials added too much hbadle to would-be applicants. These include location restrictions that made potential candidates in many areas of the city ineligible because they are 1,000 feet from schools, alcohol and drug treatment centers, and day care centers.

The restrictions imposed by the state to companies with liquor licenses is also more difficult to apply bars. City officials have speculated that cafeterias, yoga studios and other non-alcoholic businesses are more likely to be applied.

Since the end of August, when the city said it was ready to accept applications, several entrepreneurs have expressed interest in the I-300 licenses.

But none has pulled the trigger, until now.

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