Colorado's Cannabis Party Buses: A New Business Venture

The cannabis bus services hit the road earlier this year. Meet Colorado’s latest cannabis entrepreneurs: bus drivers. The state began doling out licenses to businesses providing 4/20-friendly bus tours earlier this year. The first business to receive such a business, Cannabis Experience, hit the road in early March in Denver. Local news station Denver7 reported that the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, which issued the license, “believes it may be the first and only licensed mobile marijuana hospitality establishment in the nation.”

Cannabis Party Buses

Cannabis Experience: The Pioneering 4/20-Friendly Bus Tour

The company’s CEO, Sarah Woodson, explained how the business would operate at the station: “There are several rules guests must follow. Woodson says IDs will be checked, and safe consumption information will be shared before the tour begins. Guests will be allowed to smoke on the bus, and they will know how long the marijuana high lasts, but marijuana will not be sold during the trip. Non-alcoholic beverages and food will also be available for guests to enjoy. Regarding tours, Woodson says there will be various options, including airport pickup and drop-off.”

Operating Rules and Services Offered by Cannabis Experience

Riders must bring their weed to Cannabis Experience, but if they’re dry, the drivers will bring them to local dispensaries. According to the Denver Post, cannabis bus tour companies must comply with local regulations. “Denver requires marijuana buses to have a GPS tracking system and ventilation that prevents second-hand smoke from reaching the driver. They must also submit pre-planned driving routes and timely updates if the routes change. That’s one reason The Cannabis Experience will start by picking up and dropping off airport travelers and two of its tours at Union Station,” the newspaper reported. “Because we’re first, there’s going to be a learning curve on how everything is going to work as smoothly as possible,” Woodson told the Denver Post.

Social Equity Applicants Join the Marijuana Mobile Hospitality License Trend

Other entrepreneurs have gotten in on the act, seeking licenses from local retailers. Local station 9NEWS reported last month that three other businesses “have applied for the city’s new marijuana mobile hospitality license, which allows people to smoke weed while riding a bus legally.” The station noted that Denver has made such licenses available only to “social equity” applicants who must meet one of the following requirements: “The applicant resided for at least 15 years between 1980 and 2010 in certain neighborhoods”; “The applicant or applicant’s family member was arrested for a marijuana offense, convicted of a marijuana offense, or was subject to a civil asset forfeiture related to a marijuana investigation”; “The applicant’s household income in the previous year was less than 50% of the state median income for that household size.”

Unregulated Weed-Friendly Bus Tours Preceding State Licensing

While businesses like Cannabis Experience represent the first state-licensed companies of their kind, there have been other unregulated weed-friendly bus tours in Colorado. As the Denver Post noted, such businesses began to surface when recreational pot sales began a decade ago. “In 2018, for example, undercover cops raided local marijuana tour buses and cited many customers and employees for participating in unlawful activities. Ironically, city regulators were considering legalizing the business model at the time,” the Post said. “The conundrum highlighted a gap in Colorado’s then-newly minted marijuana market: Locals and visitors had a plethora of places where they could legally buy products, but nowhere except a private residence they could legally consume.”

The Emergence of Marijuana Hospitality Licenses in Colorado

The newspaper continued: “That’s why, in 2019, state regulators developed the marijuana hospitality license, which allowed for a new type of business where patrons could smoke, eat or vape cannabis onsite. However, hospitality establishments have been slow to get off the ground, as municipalities need to opt in to allow them. The first chance cities had to do so was Jan. 1, 2020, but few did so immediately because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Denver didn’t open applications until November 2021.

A New Business Venture and the Growth of Marijuana Hospitality in the State

After reading the article "Colorado's Cannabis Party Buses: A New Business Venture," it will be appropriate to read "Preferred Gardens Doubles Down." This follow-up article reveals additional details or related events that may interest those interested in the development of the cannabis industry in Colorado. "Preferred Gardens Double Down can offer different aspects of business and entrepreneurship related to cannabis cultivation or related stories and the development of this industry in the state.

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