The Colorado Cannabis Ranch is a lot like a vineyard: you can tour the grounds, take in the views, enjoy a farm-to-table meal, and maybe even hear some live music. But, unlike a winery, you can also step into the on-site dispensary to buy a little of the green stuff.
Colorado’s first “weedery” is set to open in Denver next fall, cashing in on the growing industry of “weed tourism." The $35 million project is headed by Christian Hageseth, the founder of the Green Man Cannabis (a High-Times award winning grower), and author of Big Weed: An Entrepreneur’s High Stakes Adventures in the Budding Legal Marijuana Business. In addition to an amphitheater, restaurant, and dispensary, it will offer a grow tour designed to demystify some of the unknowns about the recreational pot industry.
“Why open a ‘weedery’? The first part of that answer is: because we can,” said Hageseth. “It’s legal, it’s unique, and we feel compelled to act on it.”
But the second part of the answer, focused more on education and awareness, speaks to the prejudices surrounding recreational marijuana, which was legalized in the state in 2012. “We are doing it to set a new standard for the nascent and evolving marijuana industry,” Hageseth said. “There is a better way to do this business and we believe ours is the better way.”
Hageseth said the ranch hasn’t received much backlash from pot dissenters but still required “lots of special permissions from the state” to open. Even with those permissions, visitors won’t be able to consume cannabis on the grounds—although there’s a ballot initiative in Denver aiming to change that. If it passes, visitors would be legally allowed to smoke at the rooftop bar and amphitheater. But if it doesn’t, Hageseth said visitors can still expect to tour and purchase a high-quality herb. (Hageseth’s Green Man Cannabis has won two “Cannabis Cups”—the highest award in the industry.)
As for how this would work outside of Colorado: Hageseth’s already looking at opening weederies in Nevada, Massachusetts, and California once the time—and legal climate—is right.