The south Denver city of Englewood has found itself home to a business that embodies an answer to a problem implicit within Colorado marijuana laws: where to consume the cannabis you just bought.
This problem is not new in Colorado and it affects those traveling through who want to experience legal marijuana while remaining 100% compliant with state law. If this wasn't enough, some landlords have moved to add clauses in some rental agreements prohibiting marijuana use, displacing many state residents from being able to legally consume under the constitutional right.
That's where Studio 420 comes in.
Studio 420 – Come-In a Friend, Leave as Family
In an unassuming neighborhood along South Broadway, Studio 420 finds itself surrounded by a variety of small shops, food establishments, bars, and mom-and-pop auto lots. A small balcony hangs over the entrance to the shop at 3995 S. Broadway, Englewood, CO. Upon the balcony, the banner signaling your arrival at Studio 420 is displayed. Exhibited in the storefront windows are pieces of apparel, info on sales, and signs advertising the smoker sanctuary contained within.
Upon entering Studio 420, glass displays showing bongs, pipes, rigs, and the gambit of cannabis consumption accouterments, ranging in price and complexity, are all around, creating the familiar sense of being in a head shop. Once you are about 10 feet from the shop entrance, you'll be met by a glass countertop, a tablet computer, and a staff member (usually Marty).
(Info: Marty is the co-owner of Studio 420, and he operates the establishment alongside his son and co-owner CJ.)
Once greeted, gaining access to the room behind the black door has been set in motion. Don't worry, though, it's as simple as can be. A quick form, a few rules, and a small fee grants you access beyond the black door — a room with dabs rigs, bongs, snacks and ice cream, Netflix, games, and a comfortable social environment where smoking is within the law and fully accepted.
Studio 420 – '"Legal Social Consumption'" & how it works
To understand how this consumption liferaft functions, there are two legal challenges that must be taken into consideration. These considerations define how Studio 420 operate on a legal/ regulatory level and how they operate on an organizational level. They are rules for all businesses and there are some exceptions.
The Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act
Studio 420 is designated as a pipe and tobacco shop that sells tobacco products and various other goods, and under that definition, there exist a few requirements for any businesses wanting to allow smoking indoors. The part of the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act that allows for consumption of tobacco or cannabis products on-site and in-doors asks that 5% of the annual sales come from tobacco to remain classified as a private pipe and tobacco club.
The amendment that regulates marijuana like alcohol in Colorado designates cannabis consumption to be done under the following rules:
- Transfer of one ounce or less of marijuana without payment to person age 21 or older
- Persons age 21 and over are not permitted to consume in a manner that is conducted openly or publicly or in a manner that endangers others
These legal challenges also provide guidance, helping dictate the types of behaviors that are acceptable and those that are not under Studio 420's code of conduct.
Studio 420 – Membership & Benefits
The door swings open and you are met with a total clear room. That is not to say people were not vaping, dabbing, or smoking to their leisure, rather that the air is remarkably unscathed by the constant battle of vapor and combustion. The air quality remains high and overall smell is never overwhelming and never drastically hazy. This is due to two giant scrubbers and an industrial air removal filter. Each scrubber utilizes HEPA filters, producing an air quality suited for a hospital room. This effectively removes over 4,000 chemicals and toxins from the air produced from secondhand smoke.
To the left of the entrance are two video arcade racing games. To the right: a flat screen, a big wooden table, stocked with pipes, papers, grinders, and ash trays and series of two couches, tucked against each wall. The walls, covered by posters and photography.
Before you ask: Yes, you can pass a joint back and forth while racing against your friend. In fact, it's a recommended experience.
If you continue through another doorway, the establishment reveals a large, long table — like one you'd sit at in a large dining hall — with bongs, rigs, and a total of SEVEN e-nails, at perfect temps for delicious dabs. This is also the portal to snack-town, where all kinds of candies, chips, nuts, and other delicious treats such as ice cream, pizza, and a variety of chilled drinks exist for purchase. They are all extremely reasonable in price.
Membership and Fees
Before you can experience this smoker's sanctuary, a brief form asking for the necessary details has to be filled out by each potential member. The basic requirements and code of conduct are as follows:
- Members must be 21 or older
- Members must not bring in outside food (having food delivered is totally fine)
- No sale of marijuana products are permitted (sharing is allowed and. encouraged)
- No alcohol or the consumption of alcohol is allowed at any time (if it is suspected you have been drinking, you will be asked to come back another day, sober from alcohol)
- No disrespectful behavior, racism, sexism, harassment of any variety, theft, or violence is permitted
- No illegal substances of any kind are permitted
- No solicitation of any kind whatsoever is permitted
After providing a government issued ID and inputting some member details, there are two fee structures associated with membership.
Basic Member: Basic membership costs $10.00 for the first day. This $10 fee provides you with a month-long membership and first-day entry costs. Any day you go in following the start of your membership and it's just $4.20 to get in. In addition to this, you also get 10% off glass and merchandise for the duration of your membership.
VIP Member: For a frequent smoker or social toker, or even perhaps as a gift, VIP members get month-long access to the Studio with no daily entrance fee. VIP members save even more on glass and merchandise (20% y'all), plus special monthly discounts. This comes at the monthly cost of $70 dollars per month. It also includes access to the VIP floor.
(Pro-tip: If you go more than 16 days of a 30 day period, the monthly VIP membership pays for itself, friends)
VIP for a Day: If you feel like getting the deluxe package, but don't want it all the time, Studio 420 offers a daily VIP package. This includes the standard 30 day membership, a $5 snack credit for the day, access to the VIP rooms, and the ability to watch one of the various cannabis-centric radio shows be live recorded and broadcast on Toke Radio, a radio network housed within Studio 420's VIP rooms. Check out the current line-up of shows. The daily VIP package is $20/ day for active members and $25/ day for new members.
Benefits to membership
It's just hard when Studio 420 has so much to offer. I mean, I've peppered in some details here and there, but the moment you walk through the black door, formally entering the Studio, the atmosphere is relaxed, comfortable, and accepting. The openness is just one part of a two part social environment.
The other part? Trust
The moment you step through that door, you are given implicit trust to be courteous with the shared space. There are bongs, rigs, torches, grinders, and other consumption tools at the ready, waiting at your beck and call, with sharing becoming the social nature.
Within three hours, I had shared edibles, a few joints, and socially dabbed with people from all over the US. If the vibrant social space with arcade racing wasn't enough, they have a PS4 and a handful of games, in addition to Netflix. That being said, there is WiFi.
They also host a variety of nightly events. These may include:
- An open mic night
- Board game night
- Cards against humanity night
- Joint rolling competitions
- Bong races
Studio 420 is always looking build community, and normalize cannabis into society through building community. Though these events are constantly changing, building a community remains the ultimate goal.
Studio 420 – A Social Benefit
In providing people with a place to smoke, they encourage adherence to the law. I mean, I'm less likely to drink in a park because I know a bar is down the street. The same applies to cannabis. Ultimately, Studio 420 functions as a members-only 21 and up pipe and tobacco shop that allows cannabis consumption. While the words of Amendment 64 in regards to consumption can be understood differently by different parties, the implicit good in encouraging lawful behavior can be seen as positive any way you view it.
In addition to this, Studio 420 has not once been visited by police, fire, or EMS services in the 18 months since the business first opened it's doors.
Check out their webpage here.