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 The generic pill bottle design is outdated and impractical.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.

 

 

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Keeping it Trill in Boulder

2/16/16

Trill

1537 Pearl St
Boulder CO

Platinum Bubba Kush

This little spot is just a block away from the famous Pearl Street Mall. It has a badass name. The name is trill as fuck, to be honest. Once inside, I started to think that trill has  really evolved over time. I certainly don’t remember any trill ass niggaz getting a slanging spot so close to such trendy, yuppie shopping areas. There were no gansta grillz to greet me on the inside either. There was not a do-rag in sight, and I didn’t hear the word “nigga” once while I was there.

The underground hustler era is over (at least for herbs), which is kind of odd, because Trill is located in the basement. That is the only connection to the underground; everything else is bright lights and big bucks. For the mainstream, however, they do things right. They sell two kinds. the owner grows the first kind, which is higher quality and they sell it at a premium price and label it “Select”. The other flavor sits in massive canning jars towards the back of the store at the end of the counter.They labeled it “Top Shelf”. It is lower quality and cheaper. It  came from a distributor.

This two-tiered system is a great way for a small grower to grow a successful small business. The cheaper herb can provide the bulk of the income for the business. Most people shop for value. This allows the grower to continue growing a quality product and not have to depend on his higher costs to run the business and keep the doors open. There is nothing worse than having your customers leave because it was too expensive, unless you already have access to the kind of clientele that is not scared of sticker prices.

The cheaper herb can provide additional income that will buffer the costs of growing the expensive “Select” herbs, reducing their bottom line. It can also be a springboard that will convince customers to spend more on the in-house grown herbs. They see the cheap stuff, compare it to the expensive stuff, and realize that it is a no-brainer and end up spending more for less.

Trill-Murray 1

This two-tiered system is also good for future growth. If this was my shop, I would be nurturing and massaging the high cost clientele so that I could spin this off into two stores- one for work weed- the stuff that is not as good, but everyone buys- and one for higher-quality, more-expensive strains. This business plan supports that route.

As for the flowers, well, I wasn’t too thrilled with their selection initially. The jars were all full of little popcorn nugs (or dingleberries). Eventually, the budtender presented me with a jar that attacked my nose with a wealth of fantastic flavors. At some point I had to physically pull the Golden Goat from my nose. That stuff is aromatherapy for me. I can see why cats act the way they do with catnip. I don’t even need to smoke it; breathing in its aromas will make me want to paw the hell out of those curtains for no good reason too.

Decision time came, and I had to break myself of the seductive smell of the Goat. I went for the budtenders’ first choice; the Platinum Bubba Kush. These buds were small, but they had an oily shimmer about them. They really sparkled. The hairs stood like a miniature brown forest that clung to the dense bud like it was a micro- model of Mt. Evans at my fingertips.

This Platinum Bubba Kush smelled quite spicy and sharp, like black pepper and Tabasco sauce. None of that sharpness came into the smoke, however. The smoke is nice and smooth. It is a prelude to the high that sets in like vines grip an old brick building over time.

This does not mean that the herb will put you in couch-lock. It is a productive herb. You could give a speech, cook a party pizza, handle that phone call you were putting off, or even do your taxes. It is best after work, though, when you have a full belly, the day is done, and (hopefully) you have a chance to enjoy God painting in the setting sun.

Magic Johnson is Trill For Real

2/16/16

Trill

1537 Pearl St

Boulder CO

Magic Johnson

Music is my photo album. Every time i drive by the Chief Hosa exit, I think about the first time I saw Widespread Panic at Red Rocks in 2001 and all of the craziness associated with that weekend. I often have to explain myself because I hear something I really like and will comment on it like it is a flavor of food or some alluring scent. I attach words to beats and use lyrics to figure out riddles. I really, really listen to music. When I saw Magic Johnson on the shelf, I was taken back to the 80’s. I did not have any real attachment to California at that time and really loathed basketball. I could care less about the Showtime Lakers.

In 1989, I was in the 8th grade and at the first secular milestone of my life. High school was coming up and my little group of friends/terrorists was soon to diverge. One day that year, I went over to a friends’ house to do what 13-year-old boys do. I got a bowl cut for the first time. It was a big deal for me because I never let anyone not named “mom” cut my hair before. Trust was a big deal for me. First of all, I was sure that my mom was going to be pissed at me for not asking permission. It is kind of like getting a tattoo of  the word “mom” inside a red heart: it sounded good at the time, but mom definitely did NOT approve. The other big issue was that I didn’t trust people much, and I was sure my friend was going to shave a penis in my head or something stupid like that.

But he didn’t. Instead, he gave me the same haircut as his cool, older brother who was the captain of the high school soccer team. It was also the first time I heard “Mother’s Milk” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. These skate-punk guys who ran around on stage wearing nothing but sausage-warming socks were a vast departure from the glam-rock that gave us more frills than a medieval French court. And their music was electric.

For me, this herb was more a tribute to their song Magic Johnson than the player that the song immortalized. I could barely pay attention to the budtender because Anthony Keidis was screaming in my head so crazy loud and crazy fast. I just wanted to get a mosh pit going. It didn’t matter what she said, I was buying the Magic Johnson.

Like the Bubba Kush, it was a smooth-hitting smoke. It was also complimentary to the Bubba Kush in many ways. The buds were nice and big and intact. It was a sativa to the Bubba Kush’s indica. The Magic Johnson tasted sweet and flowery. There was a noticeable alertness that I felt with this herb. This Magic Johnson was both stoney and speedy. All-in-all, it is a great way to enjoy a day.

A Little Pinball, A Little Pot, Lyons Has it all. Even a Lazy River if You Get Too Hot.

10/1/15

The Bud Depot

138 E Main St
Lyons, Co 80540

Clementine Kush

Grade: A+

The Universe summoned me to Lyons after work one day. It is just down the road from Boulder and they have a Pinball museum there. The birds were chirping, the Autumn Sun grew ever more distant and the air was crisp. It just had to happen. It seemed that everybody else in the world came to Lyons too, because there was a ton of traffic. Fortunately for me, the turn into the Bud Depot parking lot was right at the beginning of the carjam, so I took it.

I parked next to a Caddy from Texas and headed in. There was a world map on the wall of the lobby that was full of pushpins. The U.S. was the densest part. I asked the receptionist where most of the guests came from. I was surprised to hear him say Texas. Now, I am seeing Texans everywhere. heck, a feller from Dallas talked me into writing this blog.

As for the herbs, well, all these Texans must be onto something, because this is some grade A herb. The buds are nice, light green and wrapped in red hairs and drizzled in crystals. Its aroma is just like the pine-forested mountains that this town is nestled in.

It is smooth on the throat and cool to smoke. There is a nice aftertaste to it that sticks around. The aftertaste gives way to the stoney feeling that this herb can provide. Bottom line: the herb is nice and stoney and can endure. The only thing missing was an inner tube for that little river that goes through town. Next time, Lyons, next time.

 

Boulder’s Phinest Reprazent

2/21/15

Boulder Botanics

1730 30thST #7
Boulder, CO 80301

303 Kush

A+++++

A grower from Danktown recently moved to Colorado. Last week, we went on a mini collective tour. The goal was to get all the way to Nederland, but the Rocky Mountain white-out made us turn around. So we made Boulder our new destination (a good choice in itself). I wanted to check out Boulder buds for a good long time, and Boulder Botanics looked like just the place to go! Well, more like our second or third place to go. My buddy didn’t have his doctor’s note yet, and our first a couple of stops were at medical-only places first.

I knew I was out of my element when I walked in and looked at the menu. It was a concentrate spot. There were four times as many concentrates as flowers on the menu. Shatter galore.

I am not a shatter kind of guy. I never really liked hash, and never bought it. I was lucky to grow up in the Kind Bud era, and hash was just not what I wanted. Ever. When someone did give me hash, I would just give it away. I think concentrates are bad for two reasons.

First, they allow the growers to grow sub-standard pot because they can get a lot more money for a gram of blasted poor-quality herb (up to $50 med or rec) than a gram of healthy top-shelf dank ($20 + tax rec). The market always calls the shots, and as long as the market determines shatter to be more popular than flower, the standard is lowered to concentrate-quality rather than flower-quality.

Second, this is how the big companies are going to succeed in making cannabis deadly. When I was young and fighting for legalization, there were many within the community who wanted to keep it illegal. They wanted this because they didn’t want to A) compete with a big company with big bucks and B) let Monsanto make Genetically Modified pot.

It is either quality over quantity or the other way around; it can’t be both. Philip Morris is going to go for quantity. They would also love to cross promote their product with another much more deadly product they market, tobacco. Once cannabis is rescheduled, those big companies are going to sweep in and buy the biggest, most corporate grows they can find and take over. It is just a matter of time before Philip Morris et. al. cater to the European and Middle Eastern tourists and residents and realize that they can cross-promote two of their products here.

Of course, Americans are going to want to get onto that bandwagon too. Americans love to get fucked up, and they will be there with their parents’ allowance to buy it all. It was just hash before Americans got into the game. Now it is live resin. I am not excited to see how far the fucked-up train can go.

So I stay away from the concentrates. I am going to ride that small-market high quality flower into the sunset. To be fair, I have heard about some growers who make amazing flower and turn it into high-quality shatter. I even know a guy who only smokes the live resin that he grows. He absolutely smokes the cleanest stuff in town. He does not smoke cigarettes either, so the cat is still in the bag.

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The small flower selection at Boulder Botanics showed me that the growers really knew what they were doing. But they only had indica. Their selection consisted of 6 varieties of Kush. Geez. No sativa, no hybrids, and almost no flower. Strike and strike and steeeeeeeerike. I never got on the Kush bandwagon, but I have met many Kush loyalists. Some people just really love their Kush, and who am I to tell them what is good. In fact, this focus on one strain probably means they know what they are doing with it. So I got the 303 Kush.

This bud is some serious couch-lock stuff. Normally, I am a night owl. I dunno why, but I get a second wind after the sun goes down. But this stuff was not messing around. It put my ass down by 10 PM.

The aromas for this bud are complex and strong. Stincky, incky, incky.

They were nice sized buds- thick, meaty, and dense. It has a nice, close trim job that didn’t destroy the buds. The crystals looked fresh and sappy.

The growers did a great job on the flush. It is an amazingly clean smoke. It is not nearly as harsh as many of the buds that I have smoked out here. It is incredibly smooth.