Ween front man aims to give Denver a cannabis bazaar with music and art for four weekends

Dean Ween’s Honey Pot Lounge applied for a social marijuana consumption license — but then quickly rescinded it.
4 min. read
Meagann Reefer poses with a blunt and special socks during Denver’s 2018 Mile High 420 Festival, April 20, 2018.
Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

UPDATE: A day after submitting its application, Dean Ween's Honey Pot Lounge rescinded it. The property owner of 1801 Market St. was unaware of the group's plans.

"It looks like they will have to find a new location and reapply for the license," Denver Office of Excise and Licenses spokesman Eric Escudero said via email.

Ween is one of those bands you can't put in a box, and front man Dean Ween hopes a mini-festival laced with marijuana, music and art will be just as hard to pigeonhole.

Dean Ween's Honey Pot Lounge just applied for a permit to host four events in the Ballpark district this spring and summer that would let people get high -- smoke, vape and eat edibles -- outside without having to worry about police.

"We understand that our constituents, cannabis consumers, come from all parts of life," said Michael Polansky, Honey Pot's chief operating officer. "The reason this works so well with Dean Ween is that the last 30 years of his career have been genre-defying. His music cuts through an endless number of genres that cut through any number of people."

If approved by the city, the "counter-culture fair," as Polansky called it, would span 10 days over four weekends in June, July and August. Honey Pot plans to lease the giant surface parking lot at 1801 Market St. -- it's about 1 acre -- and transform it into mini-festival grounds, each festival different than the last, that can host an estimated 1,500 to 2,000 people at once.

Dean Ween's real name is Michael "Mickey" Melchiondo. He doesn't own Honey Pot, but he is the company's entertainment director. In other words, the guy who sings "Transdermal Celebration" and "Pork Roll Egg and Cheese" will be responsible for your entertainment, if that means anything to you. He'll be at each event.

Local acts will be part of the fairs, as will vendors selling food and goods. But Polansky said he's keeping the specifics low key until the city approves the permit. He wouldn't want to have a Fyre Festival situation on his hands, he said.

"Deaner's brand is sort of bizarre for lack of a better term, and that's how we want it to be," Polansky said. "Without giving too much away early on, the idea is to do fun, weird, exciting, entertainment art."

The process of getting a license for open-air weed consumption may be the opposite of fun, weird, exciting, entertainment art.

It's an exercise in bureaucracy. That's why Denver is hiring a cannabis business navigator. Honey Pot is the city's fifth social consumption applicant and the second to apply for a special events license, Denver Office of Excise and Licenses spokesman Eric Escudero said.

The company submitted a 94-page operations plan to Denver's licensing department that covers incentivizing safe transportation, spotting fake IDs and everything in between -- like the Boosted Oorboss 60, an air purifier with "odor cannons" to diffuse the weed smoke.

Also, no bongs and no booze allowed.

The Ballpark Collective, a registered neighborhood organization, lent its support in a letter to the city.

"In meeting with the Honey Pot Lounge management team, we feel their organization is in line with our goals to continue to protect and improve the safety, health, welfare and quality of life in the neighborhood," wrote Lisa Franz, president of the group. "Our neighborhood fully supports their efforts, and looks forward to welcoming HPL LLC into our neighborhood, as well as seeing their efforts to help brand our neighborhood in a way that benefits all residents and businesses."

Maybe Honey Pot will give you another reason to hum, "We had the best time at your party."

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