BRECKENRIDGE - Folks over 21 can get high at a private club on Main Street - but town officials are considering a law to prohibit cannabis consumption at such venues.
For a monthly fee, members of Club 420 in Towne Square Mall can use vaporizers for rent or sale in an exclusive lounge. Cannabis is not made available at the club, which neither permits nor prohibits use of the drug.
"I don't think that was the intention of any of the local ordinances," town Councilman Jeffrey Bergeron said. "And I don't think it's particularly good for neighbors of that business and just the perception of the town."
He supported an initiative voters approved last November allowing possession of less than an ounce of marijuana, but he said he'd prefer to "let the dust settle" with local and statewide marijuana laws before he'd get behind an establishment like Club 420.
The club has been open since April 20, and owner Collette Wilson said it is not connected with medical marijuana dispensaries. Members must be at least 21 and agree to the club's rules and regulations.
"(Members) also agree not to inquire, seek or try to receive any cannabis from any of my employees," she said.
The club appears to operate in accordance with the town code, which prohibits consumption in "places of business generally open to the general public" among other locations, as the town's cannabis laws state.
Breckenridge police chief Rick Holman said the town has received complaints from a couple of neighboring businesses that "they don't feel that type of business is appropriate in the town."
He said town staff is examining case law to determine whether Club 420 operating as a private club in that capacity is in fact violating the law as a business open to the general public.
"Our intent right now is to amend this ordinance and put it in front of council for first reading May 11 ... to prohibit any use or consumption of cannabis within a business in town," Holman said.
Wilson, a former middle and high school math teacher, said the club offers a positive alternative to "cars with smoke billowing out - to me, that's inappropriate."
She said the club supports healthy lifestyles.
"We're definitely health advocates, and smoking is dangerous to your health," Wilson said, adding that the club offers members an opportunity to become familiar with vaporizers, a significantly healthier alternative that doesn't involve actually burning the weed.
Vaporizers priced from $25 to more than $1,000 are available at the club, and they may be purchased in conjunction with membership dues. Membership is $20 per month until the end of May, when it increases to $50 per month.
Wilson also runs the Colorado Cannabis College on Airport Road in Breckenridge, which offers training for medical marijuana technicians and organic growers, as well as information on marijuana's medicinal components and history.
Club 420 member benefits include free access to those meetings. Benefits also include access to wireless Internet in the lounge as well as future additions to include theater seating with large-screen TVs, aromatherapy and possibly an oxygen bar.
"It's a very peaceful place," Wilson said.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.