Denver's Marijuana Mansion Closing for Good in June | Westword

Marijuana Mansion Closing for Good

But you can take home a piece of it during an everything-must-go sale this weekend.
The Marijuana Mansion, a 135-year-old Capitol Hill building turned into a cannabis and art venue, is about to close.
The Marijuana Mansion, a 135-year-old Capitol Hill building turned into a cannabis and art venue, is about to close. Jacqueline Collins
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Denver's Marijuana Mansion is closing for good, according to the owner, but you can take home a piece of it.

The venue in the historic Victorian home has been dedicated to hosting art, cannabis and other events since 2020, but the property at 1244 Grant Street was listed for sale last fall. According to owner Lisa Leder, the mansion required more time than she was prepared to give; meanwhile, Denver's local enforcement of cannabis-friendly events became increasingly restrictive and limited possible events there.

Leder, who now spends most of her time in Florida, says the house is under contract and the purchase is scheduled to close in June. The future owner "doesn't plan on using the mansion in a similar way," she says, while declining to identify the buyer.

"There was a lot of interest in the mansion, and we had a lot of tours," Leder adds. "We had someone who was going to convert it into a shared apartment building, we had someone looking to turn it into office space, and we had someone looking to do something else."

A popular spot for tours, photo shoots and private events, the Marijuana Mansion has plenty of history behind it. The home was built in 1889 for Joseph Creswell, and was and still is known as the Creswell Mansion on ghost tours and in historical accounts. The last decade has given it a more modern 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.

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.
click to enlarge Women party in 1920 new years eve outfits
The Marijuana Mansion was one of the few places Denver's cannabis scene could throw a party.
Jacqueline Collins
For Leder and her business partners at the time, the Marijuana Mansion started as a side project. She and her Green Dragon dispensary associates wanted to put a store in the building behind the mansion, so she decided to turn the street-facing home into an "interactive museum."

Leder bought the property in 2019 for $2.1 million. It was listed for $2.3 million last year; the closing price hasn't been shared, and the mansion's listing page is no longer active. Per the sale agreement, Green Dragon is allowed to remain on the property through 2031.

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 then hired local artists Ellie Paisley and A.L. Grime to augment the rooms with murals, lights and decorations. With the building zoned for business use, the intent was to create a unique space for events.

The Marijuana Mansion quickly became popular with locals and visitors alike for selfies and photo-heavy tours. After the pandemic ended, it hosted private parties for birthdays, businesses and weddings, as well as cannabis-friendly events. Since it was also zoned for private use, the mansion provided a place for Denver's cannabis scene to congregate and sample each other's creations.

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 last June regarding the legality of unlicensed pot parties. After seeing other events shut down by city officials, though, she determined that hosting cannabis-friendly events is more trouble than it's worth unless the venue is licensed by the city's pot hospitality program — and those licenses are hard to come by.
click to enlarge Woman takes a selfie in front of indoor mural
The Marijuana Mansion's artistic and historical rooms made it a popular spot for selfies and photo tours.
Jacqueline Collins
"I feel like we're going backwards, not forwards. I understand they had good intentions, the city, with creating these hospitality licenses, but the regulations became so difficult that no one can really operate a location unless it's on the outskirts of town," Leder says. "It's really sad. I still don't understand why it can't be like a bar. What's the difference, you know?"

Denver's cannabis hospitality program has been criticized by would-be venue owners for being too strict, with only two establishments currently licensed and open — one of which just opened on May 16, after going through the application process for about three years. There are three mobile lounges licensed for cannabis use, as well.

Still, the majority of cannabis-friendly events in Denver remain unlicensed, even though city licensing officials have frequently cracked down on certain venues and event organizers.

Everything Must Go at the Marijuana Mansion

Leder says she is "not sure yet" about her next career move, but she will still host a handful of events before the mansion is officially sold in June.

"I'm sad that we have to close the mansion, because this was a passion project for me. For me and [events director April Emma], as a woman-owned business, it was really special for both of us. We loved the mansion and being part of the community, hosting events and different artists," she says.

The mansion has been closed for tours for a few months now, according to Leder, but it's not shuttered yet. If you're in the mood for a memento, you can stop by and buy.

"It's still open. We still have a couple more events and people doing parties there. We're doing a big sale of all of the items, too," she adds.

From Friday, May 17, through Sunday, May 19, the Marijuana Mansion will be selling holiday decorations, art, furniture and more of the stuff seen inside over the years, including antiques, contemporary art, music albums and cannabis collectibles. The mansion is open for shopping each of those days from noon to 4 p.m.

"We have a lot of stuff, and the new buyer doesn't want it. I don't have any place to take it, so it's all for sale," Leder says. "It's like a garage sale — or an estate sale."

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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