Somewhere in Denver’s RiNo district, a loose group of upstarts and entrepreneurs are sitting at individual desks in a giant, open concept office. Though they’re each busy with their own tasks and each having separate conversations, they’ve all got one thing in common: they’re all working with weed.
Welcome to Cultivated Synergy, the world’s first cannabis co-working space.
In the eight short months it’s been open, the 8,500 square-foot building has become a hub for cannabusiness in the Colorado capital. An assortment of freelancers, startups and established businesses – from extracts to tech – use the space as their home base of operations.
The model solves a few problems for those working in the cannabis sphere, says Cultivated Synergy vice president and co-founder Connor Lux.
“It’s a place where people feel safe and comfortable pursuing their goals in the industry. They don’t feel weird mentioning weed on the phone,” Lux explains. “There’s a big emphasis on community. We’ve tried to create something that brings a little more value than just a traditional office space.”
The space holds seven private offices, 13 reserved desks, a kitchen, boardroom, lounge area and about 6,000 square feet of co-working space. The layout changes regularly, serving as a workspace during the day, and an events centre at night. And while there’s a no-toke policy during office hours, some private events get the green light, including the popular Bend & Blaze Yoga, Huff & Puff Fitness and Budtender Appreciation Night.
Rates vary depending on a tenants’ needs. Some only stop by Cultivated Synergy when they’re rolling through town, while others, like Binske Edibles, permanently occupy private office space.
“The feeling of excitement and community that hums in this place every day is the greatest part of working out of Cultivated Synergy,” says Michael Polansky, Binske’s manager of operations. “There’s a shared sense that we are all fortunate to be at the frontier of something we believe in and enjoy, and that makes for a great environment for growth.”
A Colorado mailing address is a big membership benefit for those who work predominantly out-of-state, and the opportunities for neighbouring tenants to collaborate are endless, Lux says.
“We really have our hands in a lot of different places in the industry, which is really convenient. It’s really nice for us to be able to extend our network to some of our clients and members to help them grow a little bit faster, or make a connection that might make a huge difference for a startup,” Lux says, adding that it’s an ideal place for ancillary business owners to work, because they don’t require the same licensing of those who handle the plant directly.
“As an industry that is constantly changing, I am able to learn so much just from being plugged in to this network, which is invaluable. It’s also a whole lot of fun,” adds Polansky.
Lux and partners are currently on the hunt in Seattle for the building that will become the second Cultivated Synergy office. The new location should be open by late 2017.
In a greater business world that’s still warming up to cannabis, offering a weed-friendly place for people to work is invaluable, Lux says.
“It’s a big deal. It’s refreshing to come into a space that’s comfortable. Bringing everyone together under one roof the cannabis community – which is so unique and young, and where everything is changing so fast – it’s nice to have everyone under the same roof. It’s not just like going into the office every day.”
Victoria Dekker is an award-winning print and online journalist, covering culture, life and business in the cannabis sphere and beyond. Connect with her on Twitter @deadtowrite.
Her last article for Civilized, From Meditation To Strength Training, Your Self-Care Regime Should Include Cannabis, was published January 9, 2017.
Story images provided by Cultivated Synergy.