Denver, Colorado: The Promised Land

"Welcome to The Promised Land. You ready to have some fun?"

1

My eyes open slowly. Light from the window at my feet starts to bleed into my head. The couch is begging me to come back to dream land. Not a chance. No dream could match the reality I’ve been served up the past few days. Shuffling upright, I see Becky over at her kitchen table. She greets me good morning, and begins offering to make eggs and other breakfast treats. Explaining my munchy fueled pass-out twelve hours prior, I politely decline. A toilet flushes in the background, and I hear Jesse exit the bathroom. How was your adventure?” He asks. Peering out at the beautiful Denver sky I begin to describe the last 36 hours to them. Quite possibly the greatest consecutive 36 hours of my life.

[quote_right]Quite possibly the greatest consecutive 36 hours of my life[/quote_right]

We arrived early Wednesday morning around 1am. I stumbled out of the Hyundai I’d spent practically the last 3 days in, grabbed my bag, my blanket, and my bong, said goodnight to Ry, and then headed up to Becky’s. Making my way up the three-story, motel-esque apartment complex, my hands were shaking with anticipation. The seventh episode of True Detective (editors note: Really, go watch this show if you haven’t already) was still paused on my Iphone just waiting to be enjoyed. Becky had left the door unlocked just as she said. Opening it slowly, I quietly walked in. In the dim light laid a vacant living room and a couch made up like a bed. I slipped off my boots, eased down my bag, put my bong on the coffee table, and plopped my ragged frame down on the sofa. Plugging in the headphones I took one final yawn and fired up my HBOGO. Time to get “The Yellow King”!

Waking up Thursday morning for the first time in Denver, I decided to go for a stroll through Capital Hill. It ended a block away however, as I spotted the neighborhood Whole Foods and heard my stomach holler for a grapefruit. Back at Backy’s I took one last bite and tossed the remains in the garbage. Then I thoroughly cleaned their apartment before meeting Ry downtown. (Tip: When a friend of yours is kind enough to let you stay with her and her mate(s), clean their place for them everyday. It’s the least you can do you lazy, freeloading, stoner!)

We pounded the pavement all afternoon getting a feel for the city. By sundown we were beat. Denver was gorgeous but there was so much to take in. Becky had sent word inviting me to dinner at a friends, so we stopped at Trader Joes on the way back. Ry stocked up on pop chips. I stocked up on cheap wine, duh. I got back to Becky’s around eight with a few bags of chips and bottles of 2 Buck Chuck (classy, I know). I went up the stairs and made my way inside. And then the adventure truly began readers.

[quote_right]”Take whatever you want whenever you want”[/quote_right]

I hadn’t seen Becky in couple years. We used to work together in Philly at a dreadful restaurant that shall remain nameless. After a big hug, she introduced me to her boyfriend Jesse, and the three of us digressed for a while catching up. And by digress, i mean Jesse offered me all of his marijuana to smoke (FOR FREE) while he and Becky shared a beer. Yes. “No questions” he said. No need to ask. “Take whatever you want whenever you want” he said. Pointing to the bookcase on my left i spotted his stash. I spun the jar open, crushed up some of Denver’s finest, packed up Watson and got to it.

Freshly lit for the first time in days since leaving Philly, I pleasantly followed behind them atop my new cloud as we walked a few blocks away to their friends for dinner. Homemade pasta and fresh vegetable stir fry was on the menu. My ‘glutatardyness’ not withstanding, I ate lots of veges, but mostly just housed the Cab Sav I had brought with me. Together, we drank and ate and laughed together all night about everything from redneck accents to horrible job environments. We walked back to Becky’s at around midnight. Then I smoked more free weed and passed out watching an episode of The Following (which let’s be serious should be called People Getting Stabbed).

[quote_center] ‘Man! What a day! Free care package. Free herb. It can’t possibly get better than that.’ I was wrong.[/quote_center]

The Cultivated Travel Care Package
The Cultivated Travel Care Package

Rising early on Friday, I showered up quick, hit the bong, and made my way over to Creme Cafe to meet with Mark Prescott from Cultivated Travel. What a place! The door screamed the cannabis friendly vibe. They even made homemade sodas. How could i not get one? Mark and I chatted for a while about Green Piece and how i got started out doing the web series. Then we got into his new business venture, Cultivated Travel. Wow. What a great idea. You know those moments in life when you think, ‘I wish I’d thought of this’. This was one of those (check out our article on Cultivated travel, and stay tuned for more).

And so, as you can probably imagine, the rest of my Friday was spent exploring that box. I vaped for hours on end while enjoying all the tasty goodies inside the Cultivated care package. The parade of caramels felt infinite. Just my second day in Denver, I was already beginning to feel at home. As I woke up mid morning on Saturday, I thought to myself, ‘Man! What a day! Free care package. Free herb. It can’t possibly get better than that.’ I was wrong.

Me with the "Queen of Pot" Jane West
Me with the “Queen of Pot” Jane West

Jane West, or as i prefer to call her, “The Queen of Pot” had invited me to spend the entire day with her participating in a cannabis tour around Denver on behalf of her company Edible Events. Anticipating the possibility of consuming record amounts of THC, i decided to go for a run to try to offset the mountain of calories ahead of me. After that half hour of misery, i showered up, touched Watson a few times and walked over to the downtown Sheraton.

I waited in the Lobby for a few minutes before feeling a light tap on my shoulder. “Sean…? Hi I’m Jane,” she greeted. “Nice to meet you in person finally,” I replied. “Likewise, here come on over I’ll introduce you to everyone.” Walking over to the rest of the crew partaking in the day’s event, she turned to me and said:

[quote_center]”Welcome to The Promised Land. You ready to have some fun?”[/quote_center]

The girls from O.Pen Vape
The girls from O.Pen Vape

I shook hands with the rest of our team for the day. Abby and Karissa were two young professionals working for the new, but already famous O.Pen Vape located right here in Denver. You probably heard something about their cannabis job fair that happened a few weeks ago. They were both super cool and seemed like very chill stoners. I must admit it was refreshing meeting a couple of cute gals that got down with the green on a regular basis (Doesn’t happen often on the east coast readers). Aside from us, there was a camera crew from NBC on hand to cover the whole thing. And that was it.

It was apparent pretty early on that the day was mostly going to be an expose on Jane and her company, and have little to do with the rest of us. I didn’t care though, I was just happy to be invited in the first place. After the introductions ended. We made our way outside to the limo. Yes. I said limo.

In the Limo
In the Limo

Just hearing that word got me excited. Call me vain, but being chauffeured around in a limo all day instantly makes me feel cooler than I am. The driver opened the door and one by one we piled in. A full bar was set up with top shelf liquors and a plethora of ciders to drink (How Jane possibly remembered I was gluten-free is beyond me, we’ll just add it to her awesomeness). The camera crew set up quickly while the four of us drank a round and got more acquainted. After two minutes I could already tell i was in for quite a ride. The driver put up the partition, pulled out of the Sheraton and we were on our way. First stop: 3D.

3D Cannabis Center was packed that Saturday. Tackling both the medical and recreational consumer looks to have been a good business move for them. 3D carried it all. Herb, wax, hash, shard… You name it, they had it. High quality strains ranging in prices as high as 70 an eighth (for the recreational consumer that is) to as low as 40. Their grow operation was located in the adjacent building. But we weren’t allowed access. So after 10 minutes of looking around and not really having cash to burn, I nosed around outside before I had a jealousy meltdown. Walking out I spotted a guard (yes guard) and decided to chat him up.

3D Cannabis Center Billboard
3D Cannabis Center Billboard

Steve had been a guard at 3D a few years he explained. “What’s with the gun?” I asked pointing at the Glock on his hip. “It’s necessary,” he said, “a lot of money in that building. We get a lot of famous clientele here. They like to feel safe.” Just then another security member brushed by with a shotgun. ‘Is this Baghdad or Denver’ I thought.

The two of them moved off to the side entrance. A door opened and a white gentlemen exited with something of an entourage in tow. I didn’t recognize him. Steve and his pal escorted them to their limo and that was that. “Who was that?” I asked. But Steve’s lips were sealed. He was done making friends. And if I had any gripe with 3D that was it. The vibe there was not at all what I was expecting. It felt more like being at the airport than a dispensary. Too many guns for my taste readers.

Abby and Karrissa called over for me. It was time to go. “Well thanks for chatting Steve, was nice meeting you” I said extending my hand. “I gotta run that’s my limo.” I continued. “Oh yeah? So, wait, who are you?” He asked. I just smiled and walked away. Reentering the limo I remember wondering if all dispensaries were going to be like this. I hoped otherwise.

Baby plants at Karmaceuticals
Baby plants at Karmaceuticals

Next up on our tour was Karmaceuticals. It was a medical only dispensary run by Jane’s friend, Austin. Riding over we broke out the whiskey and poured ourselves a round. Abby and Karrissa took out their O.Pen Vape pen cases and started taking hits. I grabbed the case for a closer look. These things looked way cool. Each of their wooden cases (not yet available on the market readers, sorry) contained slots for 3 pens. The top slot was marked Sativa, the bottom Indica, and you guessed it – Hybrid in the middle. “Go ahead try it out.” Abby insisted (don’t have to tell me twice). I grabbed the hybrid and went to work.

Amazing, amazing, amazing. I’ve hit a lot of portal vapes in my day, and this one beat them all. It was so thick but so smooth. The taste was delicious. The loading and unloading of oil cartridges was so simple a 5-year-old could do it (I said could, not should). It charges with USB hook up and you can even use the bottom to navigate a touch screen. Really just a great little product. I highly recommend picking one up if you have the means. I know I’m going to.

The four of us passed the pens around and sipped our whiskeys the rest of the way to Karmaceuticals. I was having a blast. Abby and Karrissa were warming up to my bad jokes and Jane was teaching me all about the best places in the city. The party had officially started.

[quote_right]I could immediately tell this was going to be more fun.[/quote_right]

We entered Karma with a nice buzz on and Jane introduced us to Austin. He was wearing a company trucker hat i fell in love-at-first-site with, and without filter (yeah i was definitely buzzed) uttered, “Dude your hats are sick!” “Yeah you like ’em?” Austin asked. “Hey!” He shouted to an employee, “Lets get some new hats for everyone.” (Umm… Awesome) I looked around the lobby. There were jars full of free candies all over the place. A patient was waiting to be seen sitting on a couch reading a High Times article. I could immediately tell this was going to be more fun.

Touring though Karmaceuticals (or Karma as it is referred) was one of the greatest times of my life. Austin gave us full access of the facility including the grow house located in back. I’d never seen a grow house in person before let alone been allowed to explore it. As we walked through Austin described the whole process to us from seed to sale. The whole experience was overwhelming. It was like i found the golden ticket to Wonka’s weed factory. I took so many pictures I thought my Iphone was going to implode.

process_sAfter getting my fill of snapshots, i made my way over to the seed room and talked with one of their head growers, Eric. The guy was a mad scientist. We chatted for a while as he took me through his process. The vocabulary was way out of my league, but it was educational regardless. He showed me all the current strains he was developing and discussed the importance of having the best quality seeds possible. Then he gave me a peek at their ENORMOUS tupperware bin full of pure kief, which almost made me pass out, and I finally left him alone.

Out front the crew was breaking up a patients pound of Lohan for him and placing it in his personal jars, as he pursued the edibles aisle. They do that for you there. It seemed like a nice touch. As its name suggests, Karma truly is a zen environment. The front desk even directed two redcardless walk-ins from out-of-state to a good recreational place to visit down the street. It was clear customer service was paramount here, as it should be. We thanked Austin for the hospitality and got ready to leave. I may or may not have grabbed a handful of mini heshey’s cups from a jar or two before exiting. Shhh.

The growrom at Karmaceuticals
The growroom at Karmaceuticals

[quote_right]So fun it turns out, the story was national news within days.[/quote_right]

Luckily my munchies would not last. Next up on our adventure was Hapa Sushi. Located downtown, Hapa had recently become famous due to a strain pairing menu they did after the state went legal back in January. Apparently, management thought it would be a fun gimmick to match some of their sushi with certain marijuana strains they felt fit together nicely, like pairing wine and cheese. It was a fun idea. So fun it turns out, the story was national news within days.

sushi_sWe were led upstairs to their VIP section by the hostess, and sat down. The owner Mark (who looks so much like Mark Marron I thought it was him by the way) came out and introduced himself. Hapa was more than just good sushi he told us while going over the menu he’d selected for our evening. We were about to be sampling some of the best Japanese cuisine in the city he continued. I love Japanese food so much my mouth was watering with every word. He left us to our party and politely exited. We thanked him, raised our glasses and toasted to the day.

Maybe it was the amount of weed I’d been consuming, but every bite tasted better than the last. We all ordered separately, but ate the meal family style. I couldn’t name you any of the items i was devouring. The THC had taken over. I was pure senses. I remember personally ordering the spicy tuna rolls, but that’s about it. Everything was fantastic.

sushi2_sAt the end of the meal Mark brought out two of the more popular dishes from the pairing menu i mentioned earlier. I was so stuffed I didn’t think I’d be able to fit anything else in. After my first bite i changed my mind. These i made sure to remember. First up was the Pakalolo Shrimp they had paired up with Pakastani Kush. The spices were perfect. And the shrimp succulent. Second was the Honey Miso Salmon paired with Sour OG. This was my personal favorite readers. It might be the best Japanese I’ve ever tasted. I would have eaten every piece but kept getting yelled at for not sharing. Call me biased, but the pairing menu items were the best of the night.

The image that went viral
The image that went viral

We thanked Mark again, and headed back down to the limo for our final stop. After leaving Hapa we drove around for a while, vaping some more while fielding some questions from the NBC crew. I was super stoned by then and can’t imagine I sounded very coherent. Buck fuck it, this was a weed tour! You’re not supposed to be coherent, right? I was laughing so much and having so much fun I never wanted to get out. Dying in that limo was optional at that point…

Our final stop on the tour was at Puff Pass and Paint back in Capital Hill. We said farewell to the limo for good (I may have cried a little), then walked inside. It was 7:30 at this point but felt way later. Smoking weed all day can do that. Puff Pass and Paint was such a great atmosphere though. I would have stayed till midnight and beyond if they’d of let me. Let me explain:

We walked into a room full of freshly baked edibles. Cookies, brownies, and other pastries were available. There was even a THC infused salad prepared for glutards like myself. How bout that! Jane, Abby and Karissa went straight for the brownies. I can’t blame them. They looked like mud they were so moist. It’s the closest I’ve ever come to throwing in the gluten-free towel. If it hadn’t been for the salad I would have. After dabbling in the edibles arrangement for a bit, it was time to start painting.

We sat down at our perspective stations and our instructor, Heidi began. She instructed us that rule number one was to have fun. “Don’t be afraid to do your own thing,” she encouraged (Advice, looking over at my painting today, I should have taken). The whole thing was great. Heidi, was like a real life Bob Ross. We started by mixing our paints together for the colors we’d need to follow along. Before I knew it, it was ‘happy tree’ and ‘fluffy cloud’ time. We followed Heidi along as she made a beautiful picture of the city of Denver, complete with a Rocky Mountain background. Of course mine looked like a splotch of grey paint surrounded by a blue and white halo, but who cares. My painting may have been a dud but my experience there was a Rembrandt of pleasure.

[quote_right]Even Harold and Kumar would have been envious.[/quote_right]

When everyone was finished painting it was finally time to say our goodbyes. I thanked Jane immensely for everything. I gave the three of them big hugs and promised to stay in touch. “Do you need a ride back, Sean?” Jane asked. “No no I’m fine, I’m just a few blocks away, it’s a great night for a walk,” I answered. It was the best walk home I’ve ever taken. I couldn’t believe the day. I felt like I’d just been in a weed fairy tale. Even Harold and Kumar would have been envious.

I got back to Becky’s at around 10. Her and Jesse were just on their way out. “Hey man, how was it!?” He asked. “Amazing!” I said. “I’m so baked i can’t even put it into words.” I continued. “You coming out to that bar?” Becky asked. “No thanks… just gonna hang here.” I said. My body was almost at its partying limit. The two of them scampered off together, and closed the door behind.

I slid the window open, grabbed the last of the bag of Kush Mark had given me the day before and packed up Watson. Hey, I said ‘almost’ remember. I sparked up and faded away. My adventure was over, but i was reliving every moment in my mind. Denver was blowing me away. I felt like DiCaprio did after discovering The Beach. It’s like I’m part of the big secret now too. But UNLIKE The Beach it’s totally okay! “Welcome to The Promised Land.” Jane said earlier at The Sheraton. Promised Land indeed, neighbors!