Bars

Cannabis Bar Cultivates a Cheers-Like Atmosphere

JAD's Mile High Smoke is Colorado's first licensed cannabis bar.
JAD's Mile High Smoke is Colorado's first licensed cannabis bar. Jacqueline Collins
When Joshua Davis opened Colorado's first licensed cannabis bar in late April, he envisioned it being a neighborhood joint. His venue, JAD's Mile High Smoke at 7667 Washington Street, sits outside of the city, in unincorporated Adams County, but he's successfully attracting a crew of regulars.

Watch parties for the Colorado Avalanche and UFC fights, movie nights and cannabis-industry parties have given JAD's a Cheers-like atmosphere. The customers might be too stoned for everyone to know your name, but the easy vibes and pub-like surroundings make JAD's a comfortable hang. Davis even has a small food menu, bar and tap. He's not legally allowed to serve alcohol, but Keef Colas are ready for pouring, and infused nitro coffees and non-alcoholic Ceria THC beers are on the way, he says. We sat down with Davis to learn more about what's going on at JAD's and what he plans for the future.

Westword: How have the first six weeks been for JAD's?

Joshua Davis: Cannabis-industry people are in here every day. We have a bulk of regulars who will come in from 1 p.m. to about 4 p.m., and then it'll pick up around 5:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are great days for us, and the other days are sort of slow.

What about 4:20 p.m.? Any action then?

Oh, my God, yeah, 4:20 and 7:10. At 4:20 p.m. we have the jukebox automatically play "Hits From the Bong," by Cypress Hill, and then at 7:10 p.m. it plays "I Wanna Get High." Once I realized people were wanting to do that, we played into it.

It sounds like JAD's is a neighborhood bar. You have your regulars, fast times and slow times.

And people are still learning about us. The call we get all the time is asking us if we're real. People don't think they can really come here, buy flower and legally smoke it. They can roll their own joints and all of that, but it still blows them away. Another call I get is asking if they can buy an ounce, which they can't. The most they can buy in an order is 2 grams, but you can't just go into a bar and buy a keg, either. Once people realize what we are, they come in and don't want to leave.

Out-of-towners are huge for us. Apparently we were on CNN, even though I've never talked to them. But we had a guy come into town with his girlfriend from New Orleans, and they came in every day for a week. They did all kinds of stuff in the area, but at some point throughout the day they'd come here. Then about a week later, the same guy comes here on a separate trip with his best friend for a few days and did the same thing. We get a lot of construction workers, too.

I can imagine it being attractive for tourists who don't know where to smoke weed without getting in trouble.

It's a lot easier for them. They can come here, get high, and go back to their hotels. If they go to a dispensary, they need to worry about sneaking weed around, smoking in the room and paying a fine, or trying to smoke outside. This just allows people to smoke weed and go do whatever they want to do. Our biggest challenge has been coaching people on transaction limits — 2 grams of flower, a half-gram of concentrate or a 20-milligram serving of edibles — because we can only sell a certain amount to an individual per transaction. We have to break it up, so you can't buy 2 grams of flower and a half-gram of concentrate at the same time. It'd be like ordering three beers and a shot at a bar, which most bartenders won't serve to someone by themselves. People can buy more later, but we need to make sure they're not overintoxicated.

You're not allowed to make dishes infused with THC in-house, but can you combine edibles with already-made food and drinks, like a root beer float with THC root beer?

Absolutely. One of our vendors is creating THC liquid shots in a tube. You can order whatever drink you want — soda, juice, or whatever — or even ice cream and some food. One of the mixes is fat-soluble for food and the other is liquid-soluble for drinks.

What has surprised you since opening?

I thought I'd sell a ton of vape cartridges, but it hasn't been the case. We have Colorado Avalanche watch parties, and I figured people would want to sit and puff on a cartridge during the games, because the games last a few hours — but no one wants them. Everyone wants to roll and smoke joints during the games.

I'm 45, so back in my day we didn't have glass. Even getting a screen was hard, so we all smoked joints and got rolling papers. Once I experienced the legal cannabis industry, no one was smoking joints. Everyone had their fancy glassware and dab rigs. But since we've opened, all people have wanted are joints, so we quickly had to stock up on rolling trays and grinders.

People will sit outside here and play Monopoly or Ganjaland — it's like Candy Land, but with weed — for the entire day. That never crossed my mind, but I'll see people smoke a single joint, play rummy for four hours together, and then leave when they feel cleared up. It's all been good surprises so far, outside of the cartridges, but that's not much of an issue.

Is JAD's a testing ground for the cannabis companies you've partnered with?

We've had some strain releases and pop-ups here, and it's been excellent. People can give honest feedback to the rep in person instead of a Google review. The reps are always taking notes. I don't know what they do with them, but it's got to be helpful to have feedback.

Sounds like CU Boulder should be hitting you up to host clinical studies.

They absolutely should.

Some people step out of a bar to smoke weed in between beers, but you're sort of the opposite. Have you caught people trying to sneak booze in, or take a few swigs in the parking lot?

As long as it's not infused with THC, people can bring in their own food. But there is a bar right across the street, and some people have split time between us. We also have people who will come here, partake and then go to the Dream House [strip club] next door. The Dream House girls will come over before and after shifts, too. One girl was nervous before an audition, so she came in and smoked a joint before going in. They're all super-nice people.

What events do you have coming up at JAD's?

We have a few comedy shows coming up: Cloudy Eyed Comedy, Austin Langley and Potty Mouths THC Comedy Experience, which are all hilarious and set up differently. We also have UFC fight parties on June 11, July 2 and July 30 for pay-per-view fights. There might be a couple of fighters hanging out here during those.
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Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell