Back in January, a bring-your-own-cannabis Colorado Springs vape lounge hosted an unlikely event that has since turned into a running partnership. Now, the lounge holds bi-weekly clothing-optional smoking parties.
Jaymen Johnson has operated Speakeasy for 5 years now, having opened back in 2013 when Colorado first began allowing smoking clubs. Over that time things haven't always been great. Colorado doesn't allow businesses to both sell cannabis and let them smoke on site, making things difficult for businesses working within the scope of the law. Over the years he's struggled against clubs that have attempted to circumvent these regulations and illegally sell marijuana in their own establishments.
In the past, Speakeasy had sometimes served as a music venue hosting cannabis-loving acts such as Three 6 Mafia, Mobb Deep, and Sublime with Rome. But in January, Speakeasy hosted a different kind of event, one that was decidedly more risqué in it's demeanor. He decided to team up with Sarie Elayne Randazzo, the "Director of Lust" at Colorado based sex-event promotion company Sinful Living, to hold their first cannabis and nudity friendly event.
Initially the event did receive some backlash, says Randazzo, particularly from the Colorado Springs cannabis community.
"There's definitely been a lot of ignorance, in the cannabis community in particular," she said in an interview with Merry Jane. "[It's surprising] that they'd stigmatize something [like this] in the same ways the cannabis community has been treated for many, many years."
Regardless, Randazzo says she believes there is a strong market for these kinds of events.
"Many of us are heavy cannabis users, and we thought there could be an event with crossover [appeal]. I wanted to bring out more of them. Sometimes we're the lone stoner at the party, outside by ourselves smoking our bowls while everyone inside takes their shots."
Johnson said everyone who attend their premiere event was "completely respectful," and Randazzo believes their events simply allow a community which is often discriminated against a space to exist.
"These kinds of parties provide a space where people can be who they are and express things about themselves that they don't always get to. That's a really important thing to provide to the community."