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Aspen City Council Tables Discussion On Marijuana Lounges

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Aspen City Council considered allowing “marijuana lounges” at a work session last night, but councilmembers largely agreed that now is not the time to consider such a measure.

State lawmakers passed a 2019 bill allowing businesses to apply for licenses that would allow on-premises cannabis consumption in isolated sections of restaurants or dispensaries. Local governments can choose to opt-in to the allowance. Parachute did so earlier this year and a handful of Summit County towns are considering doing the same. 

Mayor Torre said working on setting up indoor smoking areas would be at odds with current public health priorities. The discussion was tabled for future review, but other councilmembers expressed concerns that even outside of a pandemic, such businesses could drive up rent in Aspen’s downtown or damage its brand reputation.

Aspen currently has eight licensed dispensaries. A ninth, set to open soon, is a company called "Buffalo Biotech," licensed to operate on South Mill Street. 

Alex is KUNC's reporter covering the Colorado River Basin. He spent two years at Aspen Public Radio, mainly reporting on the resort economy, the environment and the COVID-19 pandemic. Before that, he covered the world’s largest sockeye salmon fishery for KDLG in Dillingham, Alaska.
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