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Danielle Hackett prepares marijuana buds for sale at BotanaCare in Northglenn, Colorado in this file photo taken December 31, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files Danielle Hackett prepares marijuana buds for sale at BotanaCare in Northglenn, Colorado in this file photo taken December 31, 2013. REUTERS/Rick Wilking/Files  

Colorado mountain town to open country’s first cannabis club

Despite a statewide ban on indoor smoking and a specific ban about smoking marijuana in public, Colorado will be getting its first private cannabis club where people can meet to smoke pot.

Club Ned, as the café will be called, will open in the next few weeks in the mountain town of Nederland, with the official blessing of the town’s board of trustees.

It’s the first business in the country sanctioned as a gathering place for people to smoke recreational marijuana.

“The idea is if you don’t provide somebody a place to go, people are just walking around smoking pot,” Jeff Gard, attorney for café owners Cheryl and David Fanelli, told the Daily Camera. “So for the town it was kind of a no-brainer. You don’t want people on Main Street in Nederland smoking weed, or going into the woods and burning the forest down.”

Several other pot clubs have tried to open around the state over the past year but ran into various problems, primarily the Colorado Clean Indoor Air Act, which bans smoking anything in most buildings. The Fanellis found their way around the restriction by adopting a business model similar to the VFW, a private club that allows members to smoke cigarettes.

As a private club, Club Ned must sell memberships and it’s restricted to employing only a small number of people. Members must bring their own marijuana when popping in for a toke.

A final hurdle was convincing the town of Nederland to rezone the area in which the shop is located to allow for private clubs.

“We needed to update our code for clubs in general, whether it’s the Lion’s Club or Club Ned,” Mayor Joe Gierlach told the Camera. “We just wanted to update our code so that we had something to address this type of building use… I think we developed a pretty solid policy which makes sense for Nederland.”

Gard said public opinion favored the business by “a landslide.”

That the first business to allow pot smoking on its premises would be in Nederland comes as little surprise to Coloradans. The town is known for being quirky, with its most popular annual event being the Frozen Dead Guy Days, held in honor of long-deceased Norwegian man frozen in a Tuff Shed during a DIY attempt at cryonic preservation decades ago.

Nederland voters legalized marijuana in 2010, two years before it became legal statewide.

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