If you, as an unemployed person, logged in to check career listings and found one for hosting and throwing parties at a spot called The Marijuana Mansion, I’m willing to bet you’d stop everything and apply.
That was true for April Emma, event director at the Marijuana Mansion in Denver, Colorado.
“It’s still so crazy to me to think that I was on Indeed and I saw ‘event director at the Marijuana Mansion,’” she tells us. “I was like, holy crap, these are two things that I love.”
Emma had produced events for about 10 years, starting in college. She worked for Jack Daniels for a while and then got into the cannabis realm. Her first job was for Leafly, which she appreciated because it provided a much-needed educational aspect.
“Education is such a big part of the industry, and I did that for some time,” she says. “Then the pandemic hit, and I was completely stumped and looking for work and eventually stumbled upon the Indeed listing.”
Nestled in the historic Capitol Hill neighborhood in Denver, the Marijuana Mansion is a glimpse into the history of the city. Today, it is a mere block away from dubstep and EDM venue The Black Box and a hip, urban neighborhood full of coffee shops, record and book stores, and boutiques. It’s just up the hill from the Denver Art Museum, with its modern, jutting architecture, and the ever-growing cluster of high-rise offices that make up the Denver skyline.
But back in the day, it was one of the affluent homes on Millionaire’s Row, a cluster of (for their time) mansions on a hill above the city. While many historic buildings in Denver have been lost to various booms and busts throughout the years, the Marijuana Mansion still maintains a lot of its original architecture. It’s the famous location where recreational cannabis legislation was signed in the Mile High City. And while much of the house retains its historic flair, some of the rooms have been tastefully updated to be more like modern-day art installations with murals, black lights, and other fun embellishments.
When it comes to the work she does, Emma spends her days planning for a variety of events, from fancy galas to kink parties and smoke sesh extravaganzas, and her nights overseeing things and making sure they go well. The mansion can be rented out for either consumption or non-consumption events, and every room has ashtrays and is smoker friendly. They are also open regularly for tours during the day, at which times smoking is not permitted.
“It’s the little bits and pieces and elements that make the job fun, like talking to clients about what their vision is and how I can help bring that about and working with different companies, bringing in different people that we think are going to add value not only to the event itself, but to the space as well,” she explains. “It’s really cool to be able to showcase small businesses that people aren’t necessarily familiar with. But it’s hard work too because at any given time I’m juggling, like, 15 clients, but that’s what has to be done to make an event successful and compliant. For our special events, you have to be 21 and up and register 24 hours in advance, so there’s a lot to keep track of. But I’ve learned something with every event, and so it keeps getting easier and more streamlined the more I do it.”
She also does a lot to let folks know that the Mansion exists and that it is a vibrant part of the culture, whether folks are looking to rent it out for an event or bring visiting family and friends there for a tour.
“I feel like since I’ve started, we’ve really gotten the word out,” Emma says. “It’s crazy — most locals don’t know about the Marijuana Mansion. They pass it while driving downtown, but they’re not really familiar with the history behind it. I’ve really enjoyed connecting with local businesses and people and letting them know about the Mansion, and then they come and experience it for themselves. I think everyone needs to kind of escape from the day to day and come experience something different, and I get to help make that happen.”
For more on the Marijuana Mansion and to plan a tour or book an event, visit mjmansion.com.