On Nov. 2 and 3, police with the multi-jurisdictional Metro Vice, Narcotics and Intelligence Division executed search warrants at both of the Dab Lounge’s Colorado Springs locations, as well as at the home of the cannabis clubs’ owner. The clubs, neither of which have a “marijuana consumption club” license, which is required by the city, are now closed. The move comes amid a multi-faceted legal battle over whether private spaces dedicated to the social consumption of marijuana are legal.
The enforcement actions were part of “an ongoing criminal investigation,” Commander Sean Mandel of the VNI unit confirmed. That means they weren’t associated with or triggered by any development in the concurrent civil case, also brought by the city. In that case, a judge found certain clubs, including the Dab Lounge, in “contempt of court” for failure to obey a previous cease and desist order issued by the city. That ruling came down this spring, but it’s been business as usual ever since.
According to city spokesperson Jamie Fabos, code enforcement officers helped physically secure the clubs during the busts. About the stalled civil litigation, she said via email, “The city will proceed based on rulings in the ongoing case to ensure all properties are in compliance with City Code and Ordinances.”
The local law establishing business licensure for the clubs prohibits the “reimbursement” model (e.g. patrons pay to enter as members and can make donations that give them credit toward cannabis products provided by the club) and mandates that the clubs close within eight years. That’s why most club owners opted not to apply for the license — it cripples their ability to make money before shuttering them for good.
When Colorado Springs City Council passed