A new kind of party bus hit the streets of Denver, Colorado earlier this week. And locals may be able to smell it coming.
The High There! Hopper is a mobile cannabis lounge — a 20-person limousine carrying recreational and medicinal marijuana users from one local hot spot to the next, free of charge. It allows people to travel safely while under the influence, meeting other like-minded tokers along the way.
To gain access, users have to download the company’s social networking app, HighThere!, which launched in Apple and Google’s app stores earlier this year.
Starting Thursday, you can track the bus’s location on the app as it cruises through downtown Denver.
This weird hybrid of ride-sharing and social networking makes the High There! Hopper like the ultra-friendly UberPool of pot tech.
While I’ve never fallen in love with or even befriended a fellow bus passenger, High There cofounder Darren Roberts says it’s not impossible. “We’ve seen a lot of relationships [among cannabis users] being established online,” Roberts says. “We thought it’d be great to bring some of these people together in real life, as well.”
The High There! Hopper solves a few problems for people looking to light up.
Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014. While acquiring bud may be as easy as flashing your state ID at a dispensary check-out, it’s not so easy finding a location to smoke outside the home. It’s illegal to consume cannabis in public, according to Colorado law. That includes sidewalks, restaurants, and bars.
It’s fine, however, to consume in the rear passenger area of a taxi or limousine if the operator allows it.
Enter the Hopper.
The bus travels nights and weekends through shopping and dining districts, and makes frequent stops at dispensaries, the ballpark, and the Red Rocks Amphitheatre. It will eventually make trips to local ski resorts.
While the Hopper is free to ride, the company plans to earn revenue by licensing the app technology to other organizations. It already has plans to transport spectators around the X Games, an annual extreme sports event sponsored by ESPN.
In 2016, the company hopes to roll out Hopper buses in other states where recreational pot is legal.
For Roberts, the biggest joy is uniting like-minded people who want to consume safely and socially — though it seems like a bit of a stretch to think that most people will want to climb into a clouded limo filled with strangers.
“The cannabis consumer is not Spicoli from ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’ character anymore,” Roberts says, adding that students, doctors, lawyers, and other professionals use the company’s social networking app, HighThere!
“We’ve taken the fun experiences people have had on our app — of connecting and creating friendships around the common interest of marijuana — and brought that to life with the Hopper,” he adds.