DENVER (MainStreet) — Christian Hageseth is about to open the world’s first “weedery” in Denver.
Like a brewery or a winery but for legal marijuana, the weedery — called Green Man Cannabis Ranch & Amphitheater — will give the public an opportunity to tour a state-of-the-art grow facility, though consuming weed at the ranch will be prohibited.
“We’re the liquor store model, not the bar, so we can’t have people using on premises,” said Hageseth, who owns several growing facilities to supply his dispensaries.
A 2,500-seat outdoor amphitheater is at the center of the $22.5 million project, expected to be completed by early next year. The Green Man Cannabis Ranch & Amphitheater will host a variety of entertainers as it strives to strengthen the connection between marijuana and music. Hageseth has been talking with Willie Nelson’s staff to determine whether the country music icon is interested in naming rights for the venue.
An on-site dispensary will give visitors the opportunity to purchase Green Man Cannabis’s award-winning marijuana strains, and gifts and souvenirs will be available for purchase at the retail shop. Visitors also will be able to tour the premises to see the large-scale growing facility — 133,000 square feet of greenhouse space, where industrial agricultural techniques will be used to feed and water the plants in an organic way. The ranch also will have a restaurant and rooftop bar.
“After the tour, they can stop and enjoy the uniqueness of where they are — maybe buy T-shirt or have lunch,” said Hageseth, who has worked in the marijuana industry since 2009.
Because consumer preferences have shifted to edibles and oils, some growers cultivating marijuana in greenhouses aren’t as concerned about the appearance of the plant, so they don’t build the facilities to the same standards as an indoor grow. However, Hageseth said his greenhouses will be built to produce the same quality of plant that is grown in indoor warehouse facilities.
“I agree that the market is really shifting to edibles and vaporizers and tinctures, but there are a lot of connoisseurs who feel that good flower is like really good wine,” Hageseth said. “The product will be on par with the high-quality product we’re currently getting out of our warehouse space.”
Hageseth said Green Man Cannabis will continue to grow in its existing warehouse space, even though it’s much more expensive. He estimates it costs $850 to grow a pound of weed indoors, compared with $350 a pound in a greenhouse.
The site’s location 200 yards from a rail stop on the line connecting Denver International Airport to downtown Denver is likely to draw tourists curious about the marijuana culture, Hageseth said.
“From a zoning perspective, those proposed uses would be allowed at this site,” said Andrea Burns, a spokeswoman for Denver’s Community Planning and Development office. “Because it’s so preliminary, we don’t have the full details to react to and provide feedback on, but there doesn’t appear to be a major hurdle where zoning is concerned. All the same state and city marijuana licensing and consumption regulations would apply at this site as elsewhere in Denver.”
Green Man Cannabis recently launched a crowdfunding campaign on indiegogo.com. The money raised will be used to create a documentary film about building the weedery and the challenges the company faces. For example, Green Man Cannabis has been kicked out of seven banks, and Kickstarter refused to accept the business for a crowdfunding campaign.
“We want to garner a greater awareness that we’re doing something unique in the marijuana space,” Hageseth said. “We’re really testing the waters. You can’t raise money explicitly for drugs. We continue to fight the uphill battle to gain acceptance for this.”