We started out very small, with a tiny budget. Just enough to cover the deposit, rent, and a few extra items.
Over time, we grew from an internet-based radio show, into a cannabis lounge the whole world could share. We had a big dream and had no idea where life would take us.
We opened our doors in 2013, and as of January 2020, we have approximately 102,000 members who have joined the iBAKE Family.
During our first year, dispensaries were not open yet and the only people who could purchase cannabis were medical patients. However, Amendment 64 gave citizens the right to GIVE AWAY up to one ounce of cannabis. Taking advantage of this amazing new law, iBAKE Denver started giving away free joints to new members once they joined. This was a tremendous help to weary travelers who expected to be able to purchase legal weed in Colorado.
Over time as recreational dispensaries opened, we stopped giving away free joints and replaced them with weekly consumption activities. We shared countless memories with those who had the once in a lifetime experience with the famous Dab Hookah. We have enjoyed so many rounds of the great toking game, Rush Hour, forever inspired by our dear iBAKE Family member Ed Hunt.
It has been a blast watching members sit around the famous Black Table, sharing life stories, planning adventures, and making forever connections with strangers who became instant friends. We have strived for almost seven years to provide a safe, legal place for locals and travelers to consume legal cannabis. It has been an honor to be part of the United States re-legalization of Cannabis.
With the demand for more consumption lounges, the State of Colorado introduced new regulations to manage these locations.
Sadly, the new regulations paved the way for the MED (which is the Marijuana Enforcement Division), to establish harsh regulations. These new regulations have virtually handed Cannabis Lounges over to the dispensaries and big money, leaving small businesses with no option but to close their doors.
The new Cannabis Hospitality Laws can be found HERE. Pg. 346 Section 6-700 – 6-740.
You will find the pages outline the new regulations to be enforced by the MED and how they apply to local municipalities. The whole state of Colorado, NOT just local municipalities, must adhere to these regulations effective January 01, 2020.
A few of the regulations include, but not limited to:
No more tobacco use, such as blunts. Goodbye swishers, backwoods, dutches, games, white owls, all other tobacco blunts or wraps. Municipalities can choose if your location allows open flame or no open flame. Denver County elected to adopt Initiative 300 in 2018 that does not allow open flame.
This is why you find that all the lounges and clubs in Denver County, only allow edibles or vape. iBAKE Denver has allowed open flame since day one, because they are located inside of Unincorporated Adams County, which has allowed them to use open flame for almost seven years.
Many counties will opt out of open flame based on fear, misunderstanding and the all-mighty Insurance companies. With these new regulations, Insurance companies will have the option to opt-out of open flame.
And believe me… they are not cool with open flames and ‘stoners’.
This basically means the iBAKE Denver experience is over… goodbye doobies/pre-rolls, bowls, bongs, dab rigs, and anything that uses lighters, matches or torches… there goes 80% of consumption we love so much.
The new over-regulations specify that hospitality lounges are not allowed to give out free cannabis.
This means all the fun events experienced at iBAKE Denver over the years are no longer allowed. No free dabs for the amazing Dab Hookah, no free doobies for Rush Hour on Manic Mondays, and no more medicated potlucks for the Holidays.
Shockingly there can be no more educational signs that tell you the benefits of cannabis.
The new regulations require you to post anti-weed use during pregnancy posters. There are absolutely no cannabis educational posters related to the benefits of its use allowed to be posted anywhere. Under no circumstances can you make any medical claims concerning cannabis at the locations.
Hash, Cash or Grass tips are no longer allowed.
The joy of leaving your leftover cannabis for the homeless and less fortunate jar is no longer an option. All abandoned weed will have to be documented and destroyed DAILY, according to the new MED disposal regulations.
If you come in and want to share that dab or bowl with the staff, not anymore, you must consume alone! No more employee’s consumption while on shift. That one-on-one sesh with the owners will no longer be experienced.
To put salt in the wound, Counties can completely opt-out of allowing hospitality lounges.
If they choose to allow consumption lounges, they may introduce exuberant yearly permit costs. This is one of the reasons iBAKE Denver will not be financially viable at its current location. Lovely Adams County has discussed exuberant yearly permitting costs, treating cannabis lounges just like recreational dispensaries.
In addition to these permits required by the County, owners will also have to have permission from the MED and pay their yearly permit costs.
Anyone who wants to open a cannabis hospitality location will have to have permission from the State via MED. Owners and staff will have to pay the fees to be badged by the MED. The fees and permit costs are piled on in order to push the small business concept completely out of the picture. Greed is winning here.
Like a Bar, which can sell you a shot and not the whole bottle… with ‘micro-sales’ a consumption lounge can offer a tasting room, in which you can buy a small amount vs the whole ounce. The catch is that each municipality can opt to not allow the micro-sales. The county that iBAKE Denver has been in for almost seven years is choosing to NOT allow micro-sells. This makes the future of iBAKE Denver in that county no longer financially viable.
One option for small Mom and Pop shops to attempt to compete with the large companies is to allow ‘micro-sales’.
The micro-sales are another way for the MED to bank off the cannabis consumers. There will need to be taxes charged for each micro-sale. Recreational dispensaries will be forced to open their own hospitality locations and provide tasting rooms and micro-sale. Once one or two big-name dispensaries open their own lounges, all others will be forced to open one too in order to compete.
In all reality, tourists will not want to pay extra Uber or Lyft fees to go to buy cannabis and then find a place to consume it too. If there is a dispensary available that has a hospitality lounge, tourists will go there first. Smaller dispensaries will struggle to compete with these larger dispensaries that can afford the overhead of starting a hospitality lounge. The greed continues to build in the cannabis industry, ignoring all repercussions that loom ahead.
The end of iBAKE Denver’like Cannabis Clubs and a new wave of dispensary ran locations has arrived.
The dreams of many have been snuffed out by over-regulation. “This was not the plan!” many claim. Countless come to me still in shock over the fall of what cannabis consumption lounges should have been, and what they will become.
The voters have spoken, yet they refuse to read the very laws and bills they are voting on.
If we as a community, do not start being involved in the regulations and laws being formed concerning our cannabis consumption rights, things will only get worse. Over-regulation in the cannabis industry runs rampant, unchecked, and unaccountable for the destruction of the cannabis community that it leaves in its wake. You must get involved, today.
Our little happy accident went down a path we never would have imagined possible.
iBAKE Denver ‘held the line’ for almost seven years, proving to the world that the cannabis community can safely consume cannabis together. We provided a safe environment that promoted love, acceptance, joy, and abundance for over 100,000 members.
Friendships were formed, laughter echoed throughout the walls, romances were made, and weddings were celebrated, (including my own). Lives were changed, negative addictions were abandoned, goals were pursued, college courses were studied, businesses were brainstormed and made within the very walls. So many dreams were achieved here.
It has undoubtedly been an amazing and unforgettable seven years. The success that iBAKE Denver has achieved has left us in awe. Most businesses do not last the first year, and many don’t make it past year five. Here we are approaching year seven, but it was never about making it past a year or earning a certain amount of money. It was about the cannabis community and the dreams within.
A concept was born with iBAKE Denver, that will never be forgotten. We can consume cannabis outside of our homes, in groups, and everyone will be okay.
More than okay, we thrived.
Our lease is up in March, and with the over-regulation laws that are now in effect, we will bid you a farewell on March 1st, 2020 and encourage you to pick up the torch. Spread awareness in your community about the dangers of what the future may become for the cannabis industry. If we do not want the big businesses to run it all, everyone must get involved.
Never stop watching, because greed is strong in the cannabis industry and they don’t give a damn about our community.