Update: The owners of 1801 Market Street say they were never consulted about hosting concerts at the property, and have refused to allow the proposed events to take place there. The Honey Pot Lounge has rescinded its application with the city, and hopes to refile with a new location.
In November, Dean Ween, guitarist for the band Ween, announced he would bring the Honey Pot Lounge to Denver as the first legal pot-infused concert venue to Colorado. But as Denver struggles to implement rules governing social consumption, Ween and his backers have had to find alternative ways to license Honey Pot Lounge.
Instead of trying to attain a permit for a physical location that would allow consumption, Honey Pot Lounge filed on Monday, February 4, for ten special-event permits that would allow pot use, according to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses.
A 48,000-square-foot parking lot located at 1801 Market Street is the proposed address where Honey Pot Lounge chief operating officer Michael Polansky says the company wants to host concerts, live comedy and film screenings throughout the summer.
Original plans for Honey Pot called for a physical location at the Circus Collective, an alternative fitness and training center at 2041 Lawrence Street in the Ballpark neighborhood. But Polanksy says his team realized that the Twentieth Street Recreation Center, a city-owned recreation center — which, along with schools, daycare centers and drug-treatment centers, must be at least 1,000 feet away from social pot use areas — sat just within the buffer zone. Honey Pot then decided to stop searching for a physical location, focusing their efforts on organizing special events for the time being.
"It's still the same company, but we just had to get creative with the regulations through the city," Polansky explains. "We've been working on this for a while, but no one has done this before, so we're all kind of pioneering some new grounds."
Location restrictions and a lack of viable business plans have hampered Denver's social pot use program. So far, just two social use businesses have opened under the city's program since it started accepting applications in 2017.
The Honey Pot Lounge is the second entity to apply for a special-event permit under the program, with Denver-based company HTBX International applying for two, in May and November. Although smoking is banned indoors under the program, special events outdoors may include smoking in private areas.
According to the Honey Pot Lounge's application, the proposed concert dates run from June to August, with a capacity of around 1,500 people per event. Although Polanksy declined to share more details about the acts that are planning to play, he says many of them are nationally known.
"[Entertainment] will always be the main focus. We just had to broaden the scope and get creative with the consumption part," he says. "Music, film, comedy and cannabis will be our priorities."
Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.