Aurora flung open the doors on the next — and perhaps final — frontier in the world of legal cannabis in Colorado, giving initial approval this week for smoking lounges, tasting rooms and tour buses filled with stoned customers.
“I see this as a game-changer for the industry,” said Victoria Osler, an Aurora entrepreneur who plans to roll out a “party bus” called Dreamy Illusions, complete with a stripper pole, thumping music, strobe lights and, of course, mobile consumption.
“You will be able to consume cannabis on the party bus,” she said.
The Aurora City Council’s final vote on new cannabis hospitality regulations — with tourism top of mind — is expected Sept. 13; Monday’s initial vote was 6-3 in favor.
Colorado’s third-largest city would be following in the footsteps of neighboring Denver, which passed similar rules in April but won’t start taking applications for licenses until the fall. If Aurora’s ordinance passes, the city could start issuing licenses as soon as October.
Denver and Aurora are among the first cities in Colorado to adopt on-site and mobile cannabis consumption, according to Truman Bradley, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Group, and the new rules mark what could be the rollout of the final phase of pot legalization in the state.
According to CannaCon, which puts on cannabis expos across the country, seven U.S. states — including California, Nevada and New York — have passed laws or are considering legislation allowing gathering places for weed users.
Sales of recreational marijuana in Colorado began in 2014, after voters passed Amendment 64. But its prohibition on public pot consumption has muddied the legal landscape for those wanting to open places where people can light up or vape just after buying.
Police in Denver even raided several pot clubs in 2015 on April 20,