Joshua Davis has been a compliance consultant for several of Colorado's larger dispensary operations, but always wanted to have his own business in the growing industry. When marijuana hospitality became legal in Colorado and Adams County commissioners decided to hold a lottery for local licenses, "I lit up like a Christmas tree," he says.
Davis was eventually awarded one of five hospitality licenses in unincorporated Adams County, and then bought out the remaining lease on Drunken Monkeys Neighborhood Tavern, the current occupant of 7667 Washington Street. After receiving his license to operate a pot lounge from the state Marijuana Enforcement Division late last month, he's getting ready to begin the transition next week in anticipation of switching to JAD's Mile High Smoke. All he needs now for full local approval is a change-of-use permit from Adams County, which he expects to receive soon.
When the venue opens — ideally before Halloween, Davis says — it will essentially be a marijuana bar, complete with a live-music space, flat-screen TVs, games, an outdoor patio and food. Alcohol can't be served at licensed marijuana bars in Colorado, but that's not what Davis wants to sell, anyway. Because he obtained a hospitality license that allows micro-sales, JAD's Mile High Smoke will be able to sell small amounts of marijuana products that guests have to consume on site, just as they would alcohol at a bar.
"I've been interested in marijuana bars for years. The place needs some paint, but as far as the buildout goes, all of that is done," he says. "People will be able to watch a game, enjoy some food and test out marijuana products. It's something I've always wanted to do."
Marijuana hospitality was legalized at the state level in 2020, but a local government has to opt in before it's allowed in that municipality. So far, only a handful of towns and counties have done so, but Adams County was an early adopter, approving hospitality last year. Since then, Denver has opted in to the state's social- pot consumption programs, and Aurora is expected to approve marijuana hospitality in September.
Although not technically within Denver city limits, 7667 Washington Street has a Denver address because it's located in unincorporated Adams County. Davis is also interested in opening a marijuana lounge in Denver — this one focusing on comedy — and plans to apply once the city begins accepting marijuana hospitality applications in November.
He's been scouting locations with the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, and says he's already been accepted as a social equity marijuana licensee, which is a requirement for all new marijuana business owners in Denver for the next six years.
But for now, he's focused on JAD's Mile High Smoke. Davis is currently finishing up the refurbishing of a pair of food trucks that will be permanently parked on site to serve food to stoned, hungry customers, and he's wrapping up deals with various marijuana product vendors to ensure that visitors can try the marijuana brands they're used to seeing at dispensaries.
"This is something I've been dreaming about for a long time, and I've put a lot of thought into it," Davis concludes. "From my perspective, this is the future of marijuana."
Update: This article was updated on September 3 to correct information regarding the Drunken Monkeys Neighborhood Tavern lease.