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Private pot-smoking clubs pop up over holidays in Colorado

| Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, 7:52 p.m.

DENVER — With reggae music pumping in the background and flashing disco-style lights, members of the recreational pot club lit up in celebration of the new year — and a new place to smoke legally among friends.

Club 64, in an industrial area just north of downtown Denver, opened at 4:20 p.m. on Monday, with about 200 people signed up. The opening came less than 24 hours after organizers announced they would charge a $29.99 admission price for the bring-your-own pot club.

“Look at this!” Chloe Villano exclaimed as her club opened. “We were so scared because we didn't want it to be crazy. But this is crazy! People want this.”

The private pot dens popped up less than a month after Colorado's governor signed into law a constitutional amendment allowing recreational pot use. Club 64 gets its name from the number of the amendment.

Two Colorado clubs were believed to be the first legal pot dens in the nation. The Denver Post reported that a similar pot club opened earlier Monday in the small southern Colorado town of Del Norte.

Colorado's marijuana amendment prohibits public consumption, and smoke-free laws appear to ban indoor smokeouts. But Club 64 attorney Robert Corry said private pot dens are permissible because marijuana isn't sold, nor is it food or drink.

Villano, the club owner, said the pot club would meet monthly at different locations, with the $29.99 membership fee good for only one event.

Corry said the pot clubs are for people who can't use marijuana at home because of local ordinance or because their landlords threaten eviction.

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