Haunted Denver Hotel Applies for Marijuana Hospitality License

Denver was supposed to begin accepting applications for a new marijuana hospitality program today, November 11, according to the City of Denver’s website, and a Capitol Hill hotel owner jumped at the opportunity to become eligible to open a marijuana lounge.

Chris Chiari, owner of the Patterson Inn at 420 East Eleventh method, says he applied with the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses for a pot hospitality license and paid the required $2,000 application fee; he already received an email from the city saying that his application has been accepted.

But according to a department spokesman Eric Escudero, the official application rollout was truly intended for later this week; November 11 is Veterans Day, a holiday for city employees, and for a time today, the city’s site was already down. As a consequence, Chiari’s application “isn’t official however,” he says, adding that  the email acknowledgment was automatic.

“I feel like my application is submitted,” says Chiari, who has however to be contacted by the city regarding the glitch.

Who files first makes a difference, because locations are limited. City rules ban hospitality licenses from being located within 1,000 feet of any daycare center, drug treatment center and city-owned park, pool or recreation center. The 1,000-foot buffer also applies to the distance from other hospitality licensees, which could rule to a competitive application course of action between would-be business owners located within 1,000 of each other.

Escudero says the department wants to ensure that possible applicants all start at the same time, given the rules. The Patterson is shooting for a hospitality-only license, but mobile hospitality licenses and hospitality licenses with micro-sales permits are obtainable, in addition.  “So far there hasn’t been a ton of questions about hospitality,” says Escudero. “We don’t expect a huge rush of applications, but we won’t know until people start applying.”

Starting with Chiari.

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An announcement on Denver Excise and Licenses’ website on the morning of November 11.

Denver Excise and Licenses website screenshot

Chiari bought the Patterson Inn in 2018 with the hope of creating a marijuana-friendly parlor space, but he didn’t think conversion was possible under the city’s former social pot consumption program, which didn’t allow indoor smoking, so the project was shelved. Denver City Council approved an overhaul of local marijuana social consumption rules in April, however, including rules that permitted indoor smoking with proper ventilation.

Chiari successfully rezoned the Patterson into a mixed-use character to make it eligible for the city’s new hospitality program, and then waited for the application period to begin. In the meantime, he additional a new unit address at the Patterson: Suite 420, which will serve as a marijuana consumption area for guests. He plans to build out the first floor of the hotel’s carriage house and install a ventilation system for indoor smoking, and says he’s currently working on final drafts for construction.

“I’m proud to be the owner and caretaker of this castle on a hill in Capitol Hill, and I’m excited to add to the history of the house with this next step toward cannabis normalization,” Chiari says. “The final mile in cannabis legalization is hospitality and consumption destinations. So much work nevertheless to do and every success opens the door to more work.”

All new marijuana business applicants (outside of prospective owners of marijuana testing labs) in Denver must qualify under a social equity designation intended to assistance communities harmed by the drug war. Chiari says he qualifies because his sister was “arrested multiple times” for cannabis possession. Under the city’s social equity rules, having a drug charge or being related to someone with a drug charge qualifies.

Colorado hotels can allow outdoor marijuana smoking on their similarities, but the great majority ban pot consumption. If approved by the city and the state, the Patterson Inn would become Colorado’s first hotel licensed for marijuana use. Chiari says he has a pending hospitality application with the state Marijuana Enforcement Division, another requirement for social consumption businesses.

Built in 1890, the Croke Patterson Mansion was named after the character’s builder, Thomas B. Croke, and eventual owner, Thomas M. Patterson. During renovations to the character in the 1970s, workers began reporting voices, strange smells and occasional spiritual encounters. The Patterson is now a popular stop for local ghost tours and lists of Colorado haunts, and Chiari has his own stories.

Now he’ll be able to add his delayed application to the Patterson’s mysterious tales.

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