A Tenderfoots’ Trip to Sal-ida

Tenderfoot Health collective Salida

I let my MMJ card lapse this year. Which means that I have fully completed the transition to consumer. This gives me the opportunity to look at the rec shops in the state. Word on the street is that most medical cannabis spots want to become recreational so that they can make larger profits. The State likes it too because they can get all of that tax money. I’m excited to see whether these shops can actually grow good weed or if it is crap like everyone else. Which brings me to Tenderfoot Health Collective in the collegiate peaks region of Colorado.

Tenderfoot Health Collective is in a great location. It is on the corner of Highway 291 and US 50. It is almost the last building in town (or first, depending on your perspective). The Sangre de Cristo range dominate the view to the south. It is quite amazing to behold, especially this time of year, as the mountains get their first dusting of snow that compliments their fiery collars of autumn aspen and evergreen trees.

The interiors Tenderfoot Health Collective is cavernous (like so many of these ganja shops) and has a nice waiting area with couches and chairs that is always empty, at least when I visit. It is warm and welcoming and comfortable. It is clear that Tenderfoot is owned by a woman. It has that vibe. It screams “woman’s touch”. Also, I have never seen a male working there.

The weed is good, there is a wide variety to choose from, and there is always something on sale. Tax is included in the prices already too, so you can have a surprise-free experience at the register. Their full price is not bad either. It brings an ⅛ to under $50, which is reasonable for top-shelf.

But is the herb at Tenderfoot top shelf? The weed I got was Alien Rock, a heavy Indica. It has nice, strong aroma, and is a nice, clean smoke. It is well flushed and a couple of hits are good. The buds are well coated in crystals and hairs. They were also a bit small, but that could be the fault of the trimmers as much as the bud. It’s not leafy. Instead the buds are nice and dense. They are solid to squeeze and do not give under a pinch.

While not quite to my level of excellence, Tenderfoot can grow some damn good buds. They can’t be beat at the price they are charging, however. It is well worth it. Now, back to those mountains!

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14er is a Crystal Ball of the Cannabis Community

If you wanna know where the herb game is going, look no further than the 14er in Boulder. They got it going on for a few reasons. First, their growers grow weed better than everybody else and, second, their marketing team knows the ganja community better than the competition.

Best Weed

The 14er has such good weed that they can’t keep it on the shelf. It is stinky. Inky inky. They decided to restrict their product on the medical side to members-only. They have also added a recreational shop since my last visit, a couple of years ago. Despite the high demand for their product, they still lowered prices since then.

Supply and demand would tell me to raise the prices until the balance between demand and supply gave me the most profit. I am happy in am not in charge! They get all of this increased business, they manage to keep the quality high, and they lowered prices.  Life is good.

The flowers from The 14err have the rare distinction of being really quite stinky. A good bowl, I mean a really good bowl of herb is like a fresh bite of sashimi tuna. Or an amazing whiskey steak that melts in your mouth. Really good herb makes you want to stop and savor the all-around flavor. The farm of The 14er certainly knows how to produce these features..

Tapped in

Another indicator that the 14er is looking at the industry from a unique lens is that their container game is on lock. Product design is obviously important to the success of a company. Some companies, like Apple, see design as a fundamental part of the product. The generic pill bottle design is outdated and impractical. It is practical for pills, but that was what they were made for. Fresh herbs are different than pills. They don’t work in a pill bottle.

The 14er considered this and made fantastic little containers that fit their nugs ergonomically. They are shaped like hockey pucks or (shudder- tobacco reference!) a chewing tobacco container. It doesn’t make much sense to get a fat chew out of a pill bottle does it? Then why would another dry plant be a good idea?

There will be many takes on the concept in the coming years. The access to the herbs for the consumer is as important as a decanter for wine. consumer much easier access to the herbs.  You don’t have to crush them trying to get them out of the container. It is simple and something that indicates the industry is run from the spreadsheet more than from the community. Personally, I hope there comes a day when the customer can bring his/her jar in. That wont happen until Americans are as comfortable with a container of weed on the table as they are with a pack of cigarettes.

There is, unfortunately, one unintended consequence of the design. Inside the lid is a tin pop-top reminiscent of a can of wet cat food. I ripped the top tab off and the mangled metal lid stayed on the tin. They were careful to make it “childproof” and therefore legal and accidentally built in a more dangerous mechanism.

I’m not even sure what the use is of the metal finger-cutter in the first place. The weed was incredibly dry, so it wasn’t there to keep the herbs fresh. In fact, the biggest problem with the new “potent” weed of today is that the flowers are never fresh. For this reason alone, we need the corporate beasts to hurry up and start eating each other so that we can clear the way for a truly dank independent café. I am sure the folks at the helm of The 14er will be close to the epicenter on that day.

 

 

The Truth has set Cannabis Free.

Cannabis has just been rescheduled! Or is it descheduled? Whatever it is, it is great news! Epidiolex has been in trials for at least 7 years, and the FDA finally relented and gave their stamp of approval on valid, medical cannabis.

Give thanks that science has finally freed the plant. Humanity is going to benefit greatly, starting with those suffering from Dravet Symdrome

Source:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/victoriaforster/2018/06/25/fda-approves-first-ever-medication-containing-ingredient-directly-purified-from-cannabis/amp/

Busy, busy, busy days. But I’m still making brainwaves. Be back soon with more to say.

Muggle life has been crazy busy for me lately. As I settle into minimum wage and the car payment fixes itself to my income, the daily barrage of futility music of Adele and company has invaded my soul. I don’t have time to chase dreams, let alone make them reality.

My “sovereignty” is now that of the new American- a serf who owes my livelihood to my corporate lord. In this case, it is the grocery industry. Even the housing here is provided by the company, because I sure as shit can’t afford to live here. Neither can the rest of their employees.

in honor of getting my albums back, I’m gonna share a little fela kuti. It’s his floor…

https://youtu.be/HwLYHCCwGT0

Thank You for Buying Danktownes Phinest. Please Have Your Exit Bags Ready Before You Leave the Store.

March 2, 2018

exit bag 4

About 7 years ago, the newly-appointed director of the freshly rebranded San Diego NORML gave me a present as a gesture of gratitude. It was a black, smelly-proof backpack that he acquired from a client of his. I could think of a million times in the 90’s and early oughts that this bag would have been a lifesaver. By 2011, however, cannabis was my cologne. My car always smelled like it, my clothes always smelled like it, and I even developed an alter ego that shortened to Dan K. I was completely “out” as a stoner. And it felt great.

Then 2012 hit, and Colorado legalized recreational cannabis. The new law here in Colorado was full of padding and statements that minimal inappropriate impact in the community would come from these cannabusinesses. The exit bag was one of those statements. I was greatly annoyed when I bought my first bag in 2013 and had to buy an exit bag. It was usually a cheap piece of plastic that had a locking zipper on it. Extraordinary measures were taken to appease the suburban voter who actually counts by putting things like this mild headache in Amendment 64.

I was also aware that our tribe was walking a thin line; by legalizing herbs, Colorado was blatantly and aggressively weakening its drug laws in the face of the federal government. The generations of children who grew up under the clearly flawed rhetoric of the War on Drugs are locked in a battle of the educated elite vs the gun-toting white southerner. This is not something sacred and wholesome like a gun. No, this was a bonafide drug. And it was soon to be sold legally around kids. The KIDS!

exit bagSo I bought my exit bag for $10 or whatever. Everywhere I went, they dropped the hammer about the exit bag. It’s not like I can just go on craigslist and buy an AR-15. In fact, it is very much the opposite. These shops stick to the law like gorilla glue sticks to the linoleum. Some places even added their own little laws and said they could only allow their weed to leave in an exit bag that has their brand name on it. Other places were cool and just gave me one. (I have a ton of exit bags, as you can guess).

These bags also came in couple of styles. There were bags that looked like the Post Office Express Mail envelopes. There were others that looked like canvas wine totes. And then there was me, from the old school, with my empty Totino’s salsa jar that is ready for a refill. Cannabis is a consumer product now. The same people who brought you “meat is murder” are now shoveling petroleum products out the door (but that is a different story).

Things change fast in this new ganja game. They stick to the rules like they are the TSA, but the rules seem to change faster than the honest opinion of our President. I got some herbs yesterday, and my exit bag is now a brown paper bag with a staple in it. Maybe tomorrow I can bring my reusable jars. At least give me the same standards as an AR-15.

A hidden Gem Stashed and Surviving in the ‘Burbs.

Kosher Kush

Colorado Cannabis Connection
4550 S. Kipling St.
Denver, CO 80127

B

It has been a long time since I reviewed any of the Denver shops because it has been a long time since I have shopped in the city. Recently, I went to my local spot in Littleton called The Colorado Cannabis Connection to see what they got. It is close to my house, which is good. It is also in a strip mall, which I think is the ugliest example of American Capitalism and an absolute blight on the land.

But, I do live in the suburbs, and the vanilla of the neighborhood reflects the blandness to support suburban sprawl in the mini mall. Colorado Cannabis Connection cannot be faulted for the location; they have no choice. This is the ‘burbs. It is a planned community where Wal-Mart and King Soopers are the only businesses courted in the development.

Big Box stores and little box stores pock the landscape and their parking lots hold the long-antiquated petrol transport vehicles in their stalls. Those lines demarcate order in this chaotic world and are indicative of the vilest rule in corporate culture: Stay in your lane, worker.

Because of this, I have avoided the Colorado Cannabis Connection. I figured it was just another Starbucks of weed and that they had 1,000 (figurative, not literal) stores in the state. This is the only one, however, which makes it acceptable. When I went inside, the intake receptionist was answering questions that a customer had about some specifics of the plant.

He seemed to know what he was talking about, and I was even more reassured of the Colorado Cannabis Connection. They had a good assortment to choose from across the flower spectrum. They grew dense buds that were trimmed tight.  There was a nice, healthy odor to them, but it wasn’t too strong.

I got the Kosher Kush. It hit smooth, and the budtender was right; they do know how to cure their herbs. It is mild. It does not overpower and create couch-lock, but it does stick around just under the surface. Quality.

 

 

Glenwood’s Phinest Reprazent

Martins

216 16th St.
Glenwood Springs, Co 81601

303 Kush
Grade: A-
Rec only

Some areas of Colorado simply don’t allow you to be too choosy about where to buy cannabis. They are rec only- if they have anything at all. Glenwood Springs is one of those places. It is squarely in the middle of Glenwood canyon along the majestic Colorado river. It is crammed with six lanes of interstate and as much civilization as humanity can fit in 400 sq ft. of available canyon floor. Just off of one of the crazy, clustered roads, right in the heart of the clusterfuck is Martin’s.

Martin’s is a rec only spot that almost feels like a smoker’s club. The vibe was relaxed and welcoming, fitting of the name choice. It is like you are actually going into visit with your buddy Martin. When I walked in, the younger budtender was educating the older hippie budtender on conscious hip-hop (most hip-hop is not bitches and hoes), something the hippie had never heard of. They had a few varieties of shrubs. They all looked great. Although they were rec only, their prices were competitive enough to keep me there.

I ended up walking out with some 303 kush. It looked ridankulous and smelled just as great. The herbs are mountain grown and come from all over. Martins is a third-party shop that does not grow their own herbs. Instead, they have an intrepid entrepreneur who buys from growers and sells them to you. The classic All-American middle man. And based on the selection at Martin’s, he has some good connections too. The 303 kush did not disappoint. It was flavorful and smooth. The prices were competitive with medical shops, which made me feel even better about my purchase.

The best thing about Glenwood Springs to me is not the two-block-long hot-spring pool or the escape room, but the nature of the world all around these springs. Out there, a mile can be a 1000 ft incline that is dominated by crystal clear rushing waters turned blue in their agitation. Trails are in the middle of streams out here. Massive misplaced boulders stand, waiting for Mother Nature to unleash her wrath on them and send them to their next resting place somewhere downstream.

These lands are still wild yet incredibly confined. Everything looks pristine and untouched from afar, but mailboxes and gates are as common as packed trails and lots of cars. People come here to experience the wild, untamed world. The world is quite tame, though. There are few rocks unturned here, and our presence is etching into the canyon more and more every day.

martins 2017-07-09 at 10.21.02 AM

Bombtasty Blackhawk Buds!

Rocky Mountain Organics
5312 CO-119, Black Hawk, CO 80422

Mammoth

Grade: B+

Gilpin County is one of my favorite places to go in Colorado. Its history dates back to the earliest days of Denver and the land reflects its boom-and-bust past in its steep cliffs, ghost towns, and mountain canyons scarred from the pick axe. They found gold in these Ute hills in 1859, and settlers flocked here hopeful for a taste of that sweet, sweet gold dust.[i] Before the Georgia prospector John H. Gregory got his taste, this was just some inhospitable land that was in the Northwestern Kansas Territory. This town quickly grew to nearly 2000 people as news spread.[ii] It was only a taste, however. The gold dried up as fast as it was discovered, and so did the population.

If you have ever seen the TV show Deadwood, then you can certainly get the vibe that Blackhawk gives off. It is where brutality carved out the wilderness before law and order rode in on his white steed and “civilized” the land. Not long after Mr. Gregory struck gold, Gilpin County was established in 1861. By the time the ‘80’s got here, Blackhawk was reduced to a row of trailer homes along a dirt road. Today, 64 historic homes have been renovated and sit on 90% of the available residential land.[iii] And one dispensary occupies a stretch of road just outside of town, Rocky Mountain Organics.

Keeping true to the wild west tone, Rocky Mountain Organics is in a mountain-type strip mall in a little mountain alcove off of an amazing Rocky Mountain road. Rocky Mountain Organics shares a lobby with its liquor store neighbor and had a Rocky Mountain dude running the spot. He had thick, fire chops burning his cheeks and he wore a Crocodile Dundee hat.  I normally stay away from recreational-use only places because they are so expensive. But, after we chatted for a while,  he gave me a really good price, so I went for some Mammoth.

The Mammoth is an indica. The nugz are dense and rich with color. It almost smelled soapy to me. There is a hint of capsaicin in the background. There is not much flavor to it. The smoke is smooth, however, and its effects are sublime. It is also a good start to exploring the oldest “civilized” part of Colorado’s mountains. There is so much to do out here.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_353Gambling has been legal in Black Hawk since 1991.The narrow stretch of land in the steep canyon is dominated by flashy casinos. You can continue west to Central City (they have an amazing 4th of July fireworks show) for more casinos, or you can head south to play a round of disc golf in a ghost town. Head east, toward Denver, and you can find what was once the only resort west of the Mississippi that marketed to black people. It was called Lincoln Hills Country club, and it was in operation from 1925-1965. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.[iv]

The towns out here are unique in so many ways. I crossed paths with a jeep carrying a pirate flag on one of these dirt roads. Just to the north is Nederland an all the nuttiness that comes with that place. Or you could go fishing in one of the many lakes and creeks around here. Then there are the hiking trails and rock climbers that dominate some of these sheer cliff walls… Long story short, these mountains (and indeed this world) are to be explored. What are you waiting for?

[i] http://www.cityofblackhawk.org/files/7014/1343/9588/Walking_Tour_Master_2012.pdf

[ii] https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=81&v=9DY4s3qBbLg

[iii] http://www.blackhawkcolorado.com/history.php

[iv] https://www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/13001035.htm

Simple is always the best

Simply Pure
2000 W. 32nd Ave
Denver, CO 82011

2/25/17

Simply Pure has been on my list for a few years now. I always catch a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye when I have to get somewhere so I never stop. I take a mental note, move on, and forget about it- until I pass it again as I rush past it on my way somewhere else. The name and logo are both simple and inviting, like grandma’s bakery. I am expecting a cinnamon roll and a pinch on the cheek too.

Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. But I did get some herbs, so there is that silver lining. Louis XIII and Lucky Charms to be exact. These were just the kind of sweets I wanted. These are the kinds of buds that grandma would grow too. They are nice, solid, and dense balls of dankiness. The crystals coat the buds like they were the sugary top of a sugar cookie.

The buds looked good, they smelled good, and they tasted good as well! The aroma of the Louix XIII is complex, to say the least. It is a bit peppery and kind of musty. There is some citrus in there too. The Louis XIII broke apart in chunks and burned smooth. Oddly enough, it tasted a bit like meatloaf. Like some cured venison, It was dry, but it was not harsh.

While talking with the budtender, I was pleased to learn that Simply Pure is a Black-owned business. I am thrilled that the owners, Wanda James and her husband Scott Durrah, have been such strong fighters for the long cannabis war on alternative truth. Not only are they military veterans, but they have been drug warriors for decades. It is such a treat to see a black woman at the helm of this business. It was in February, so I got a discount for Black History Month! Fantastic!

Now I see what I like about Simply Pure. It is that “soul food” flavor that is embedded in the tastes of the owners. There is also an established history of focusing on quality. Simply Pure was an edible company from 2010-2013. They were the first in Colorado to use actual chefs to design and prepare their menus. As edibles became more mainstream and the prices dropped, Ms. James and Mr . Durrah decided to close up shop instead of reducing the quality of their product in order to stay competitive.

They decided to reopen again as a dispensary in December of 2015, and are rolling along now. I was not aware of the owners’ culinary creativity because I like to go into these places with a blank slate. I glazed over the edibles because they are always the same thing: cheeba chews, Dixie this or that, or Mary’s More of the Sames.

I want the homegrown, small-batch flavor, and so much of the same keeps me from even looking at edibles. I want to see a slice of pie with the chocolate glaze shimmering in the artificial light. I want the lobby full of guests excited with their new purchase as they make plans with their new friend over a cup of coffee. I think Simply Pure does too.

The new microdosing market is a great way to introduce edibles to people who don’t want the heavy sedative levels that edibles can get to. Why make a cookie so potent? then you can’t have another. I love my chocolate chip cookies. you can ruin a dish with too much cinnamon or nutmeg. Why not with too much cannabis oil? It can really dominate the flavor.

Edibles in the future will be more subtle and complex. Gummies have been around for a good long time. There is a great opportunity to make a pack of ten gummies be the same dose as one gummy is today.  The increased competition in micordosing edibles will inevitably create a different market that could include savory dishes as well. Simply Pure will undoubtedly be at the forefront of businesses that can legally (finally!) blend the café with ganja. I look forward to that day that I can get some of that apple pie, an ounce of Louis XIII, and a pinch on the cheek.