Could a party bus for tokers be coming to Boston?
That’s the hope of Bryan Spatz, the owner of Denver-based company Loopr, who said this week that plans are in the works to bring his so-called “Puff Bus” — a hop-on, hop-off transportation service that doubles as a mobile cannabis lounge — to Boston.
“It’s a really nice way to get around the city while being able to consume in an ultra comfortable and social environment,” says Spatz, who launched the Denver version on April 20 of last year.
In Denver, the company operates a 45-foot coach bus that seats 40-plus people and features 8-foot ceilings and a ventilation system — as well as a two-part barrier system to keep the driver free from smoke. It’s also outfitted with three large TV screens, a sound system, and an array of paraphernalia, including bongs, vaporizers, and rolling papers.
The only thing patrons need to bring is the weed.
“We provide the party; you bring the cannabis,” Spatz said.
Ideally, he said, the Boston bus would operate much like the one in Denver, which makes nine stops along an approximately 90-minute loop through the city. It runs from 4 p.m. to midnight on Thursday and Friday and 2 p.m. to midnight on Saturday and Sunday — hours, Spatz said, that would probably be similar in Boston. (Alcohol is not currently permitted.)
“You smoke for three stops, you hop off, go get some drinks or a meal or movie, and then the bus will be back in about 90 minutes and you can hop back on,” says Spatz, who was drawn to Boston by the large tourism industry as well as the potential to draw clients from nearby states where marijuana remains outlawed.
Just how receptive city officials will be to such a service, however, remains to be seen.
The company, which also hopes to bring the Puff Bus to Nevada and California, is still in the early stages of researching local laws. The biggest hurdle in expansion thus far has been navigating the various state, city, and transportation department regulations, Spatz acknowledged.
A city spokeswoman Friday referred questions to the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission.In an emailed statement, commission chair Steven Hoffman said his group is in the process of evaluating marijuana-related businesses for regulation and licensure.
“We are committed to drafting regulations that effectively address potential impacts to public safety and diversion to minors,” he said.
Based on the early findings, though, Spatz remains hopeful. The company is set to begin talks with attorneys and lobbyists this week, he said, with the goal of getting a bus or two on Boston’s streets by mid-2018.
“You never want to get too confident or complacent with the political system,” Spatz said. “But the early responses are strong; there’s an early receptiveness that there are going to be people we can work with.
“My impression at this moment is we’re quite optimistic.”Dugan Arnett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @duganarnett.