Cirrus Social Club Business License Approved by Denver

Cirrus's website lists summer 2023 as the club's targeted opening date, but indoor cannabis smoke has presented a year-long challenge for similar businesses.
Cirrus's website lists summer 2023 as the club's targeted opening date, but indoor cannabis smoke has presented a year-long challenge for similar businesses. Jacqueline Collins
A proposed cannabis lounge on East Colfax Avenue has been "tentatively approved" by Denver's head of business licensing, but a few steps remain before Cirrus Social Club opens for business.

Cirrus founders would like to open a licensed, cannabis-friendly social club with indoor smoking at 3200 East Colfax Avenue, according to co-owner Arend Richard, who shared the club's cannabis and entertainment plans with Westword in February. If Cirrus reaches the finish line, Richard wants to create an upscale, intimate vibe, complete with booth seating, a player piano and Volcano vaporizers.

"We're going after a demographic of people who are not heavy cannabis consumers, but rather the out-and-about social person who's older than 27," Richard told Westword. "If a date night for you is dinner and a movie, then it now becomes Cirrus and dinner. You come in, have a lovely sesh with us, and hear the jazz music in the background."

The ownership group has been renovating the club's future home, an old tae kwon do studio just off Steele Street, even as it works through the city's licensing process. And it just got one step further along.

On March 29, the Denver Department of Excise & Licenses approved Cirrus's application, so now all the club must do is meet the assurances laid out in its operation plan. But that's a high hurdle, because it calls for passing access, safety and ventilation inspections by the Denver Department of Community Planning & Development, Denver Fire Department and Excise & Licenses.
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The Cirrus ownership group says it will spend $3 million in renovations on the building at 3200 East Colfax Avenue.
Thomas Mitchell
Cirrus's website lists summer 2023 as the club's targeted opening date, but getting approved for allowing indoor cannabis smoke has proven to be a year-long challenge for similar businesses. Over the past year, Excise & Licenses has approved three other applications for establishments planning to allow indoor marijuana smoking, but none have opened yet because of issues in trying to satisfy Denver's ventilation requirements.

Tetra Lounge and the Patterson Inn hotel were both approved for pot hospitality last March, but the owners of those buildings say they're still trying to get their HVAC systems approved. The headquarters of Colorado Cannabis Tours was also approved for cannabis use earlier this year, but that business also needs to meet HVAC requirements before allowing indoor consumption.

According to Excise & Licenses spokesman Eric Escudero, a big hurdle facing the Patterson, Tetra and Colorado Cannabis Tours is a city requirement that secondhand smoke doesn't adversely impact the health of customers and employees. That stipulation is based on national air-quality standards, which were designed for tobacco smoke and have been difficult to apply to cannabis, according to the hospitality applicants.

Tetra and Colorado Cannabis Tours owners have pivoted to creating outdoor consumption spaces as they work toward securing ventilation approval, but Cirrus is still pushing forward with the indoor model. After completely gutting the building, Richard says that creating an approved space on a practical timeline is still possible.

The Coffee Joint is the only cannabis lounge currently open under Denver's cannabis hospitality permitting program. However, it does not allow smoking inside — just electronic vaping and dabbing —  and so does not have to meet the same ventilation requirements.
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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
Contact: Thomas Mitchell

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