The Marijuana Mansion, a Popular Denver Event Venue, Listed for Sale | Westword

Time to Say Goodbye to the Marijuana Mansion?

The historic home is full of Colorado cannabis history, ghost sightings and local art. You can have it for $2.3 million.
The Marijuana Mansion was a 134-year-old Capitol Hill building turned into a pot party house. But there was more to it than that, according to its owner.
The Marijuana Mansion was a 134-year-old Capitol Hill building turned into a pot party house. But there was more to it than that, according to its owner. Jacqueline Collins
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Denver's Marijuana Mansion is on the market.

The space dedicated to art and cannabis history debuted in a Victorian-era Capitol Hill home in 2020, and has been a popular event spot for the industry ever since. But owner Lisa Leder has listed the property at 1244 Grant Street, which includes the thirteen-room mansion and a building housing a dispensary in the back, for $2.3 million.

Leder now spends most of her time in Florida and doesn't have the time to properly manage the Marijuana Mansion. She says she initially tried to sell the building to the venue's current day-to-day manager in an effort to keep the space running, but the two parties couldn't agree on the right price.

"I'm not really here that much. To grow the business, it really requires someone to be more involved than I have the time and energy for," Leder says. "The company is successful. I would love for somebody to continue to operate it, and that would be great...but maybe a law firm or something else moves in. I need to be realistic that it might happen."

Leder was a co-owner of Colorado dispensary chain Green Dragon, which was sold to California-based Eaze in 2021. (Leder still owns stock in the company, but is among a handful of Green Dragon's former co-owners currently suing Eaze for allegedly committing fraud during the acquisition; she declines to comment on the lawsuit.) Anyone who buys the business must continue leasing the back building to Green Dragon through 2031, according to the Marijuana Mansion's listing with Denver commercial real estate firm Marcus & Millichap.

Leder would like to see the Marijuana Mansion itself continue in some form, but knows that may not be possible with a new owner.

click to enlarge A woman sits on the throne inside Denver's Marijuana Mansion
Marijuana Mansion owner Lisa Leder.
Jacqueline Collins
"The whole entire mansion is like my baby. I have a special relationship with each room. They're all so unique and different. It's definitely upsetting to have to sell it. If I were in Denver more, I'd be more involved, but I'm just sort of tired now. It takes a lot of work running the venue," she explains.

According to Leder, the Marijuana Mansion started as a side project. She and her Green Dragon associates at the time wanted to put in a dispensary in the building behind the mansion.

"When it was sold, it came as one package deal. The brokers said we could use the mansion as Green Dragon offices or headquarters. But when we went in there, I thought it was such a cool building, and I had a different idea: Let's make this an interactive museum," Leder recalls.

Fresh off visits to Meow Wolf in Las Vegas and an interactive pop-up in Los Angeles detailing American cannabis history, she thought she could create something special in the historic home.

Built in 1889 for Joseph Creswell, it was and still is known as the Creswell Mansion on ghost tours and in Denver histories. The last decade has given it a newer, skunkier reputation, however. Vicente Sederberg LLP, now one of the country's largest cannabis law firms, moved into the building in 2013, right after Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in late 2012.

“That’s where all the implementation went down. The firm grew from five people to thirty people. The National Cannabis Industry Association moved in with us," Sederberg, who left the firm last year, told Westword in 2020. "That’s where all of our legislative work was done, right after we won, when the task force was formed — when everything was happening in order to implement the law.”

The law firm, now named Vicente LLP, grew too large and eventually moved out. A cannabis lobbyist attempted to turn the mansion into a pot-friendly spa in 2018 but was rejected by the city after a long and contentious application battle over cannabis hospitality location requirements.

Leder bought the property in 2019 for $2.1 million, according to city records, and quickly bought into all aspects of its history, as well. "I thought it would be really cool to combine the two aspects of this historic building. It was already named 'Marijuana Mansion,' so it sounded like such a unique venue to begin with," she explains.

A reported $250,000 was spent on renovating the home, restoring the grand staircase and updating each room into a time capsule of Victorian decorations and cannabis legalization history. Leder hired local artists Ellie Paisley and A.L. Grime to decorate and visualize rooms with murals, lights and decorations. With the building zoned for business use, the intent was to create a unique event space — but then COVID-19 hit.
click to enlarge
A Marijuana Mansion room decorated by Ellie Paisley.
Jacqueline Collins
"We stumbled upon the tourist part by accident. Because of COVID, we couldn't do events, so we started selling tickets for tours to see how it went," Leder recalls.

Thanks to artistic appeal and the individuality of each room, the Marijuana Mansion quickly became a popular spot with locals and visitors alike for selfies and photo-heavy tours. Once the pandemic ended, the mansion began hosting private parties for birthdays, businesses and weddings, as well as cannabis-friendly events. Also zoned for private use, according to Leder, the Marijuana Mansion provided a space for Denver's cannabis scene to congregate and sample each other's creations.

"It was more of a passion project," Leder remembers. "And we never wanted to have a consumption license. It wasn't anything we were looking for. We just wanted to have a private place for industry events and a safe place for people to go."

Denver's cannabis hospitality program has been criticized by would-be venue owners for being too strict, with just one spot currently licensed and open. That venue, the Coffee Joint, only allows electronic vaping and edibles. The majority of cannabis-friendly events in Denver are unlicensed, although city licensing officials have frequently cracked down on certain venues and event organizers.

The Marijuana Mansion's private cannabis events didn't run into much trouble despite being unlicensed, Leder says, though she did receive a notification from the city in June alerting her of Denver's cannabis rules and the city's concerns regarding the legality of unlicensed pot parties. But the city's recent moves against cannabis events "had nothing to do" with her choice to sell the property, Leder says, which she had been planning on "for about a year."
click to enlarge A victorian room in the Marijuana Mansion in Denver
This street-facing room downstairs is said to be the most haunted one in the mansion.
Jacqueline Collins
Although she argues that the mansion is a private venue, similar to a short-term rental residence, and the space could still hold cannabis events, Leder isn't fond of how Denver regulates businesses trying to allow social pot consumption for special occasions.

"I'm very upset with the hospitality situation. I would've put the mansion up for sale regardless, but I feel like we're going backwards, not forwards. If you can bring and serve alcohol, that's no problem, but if you want to bring in marijuana, now it's a problem?" she asks. "What if you don't want to host a party at your personal residence? It's so stupid, and it's setting us back."

The vast majority of her Marijuana Mansion memories are positive, she adds, particularly as we head toward her favorite time of the year.

"Holding the Halloween party and decorating the whole place for October and Halloween, I just loved it," she says. "We sell a ton of tickets that month. People love to come in the place and hear about the ghost stories. It's easily my favorite."

For more, read our 2020 article on the Marijuana Mansion's origin story and haunted past, or step inside each of the building's unique rooms through our Marijuana Mansion slideshow.
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