As we boarded the plane to Denver I could hear the late singer John Denver singing in my head “Rocky Mountain High Colorado” and it just seems so fitting. The beauty of the snow-capped vistas took my breath as we started the approach into Denver and I could barely contain my excitement about my first visit to the wild, wild west Cannabis frontier that is Colorado.
If you haven’t heard yet, pot shops line the streets like Starbucks or Subways, only there are a lot more dispensaries than places to eat in some locations. Speaking of food, Denver has some great places to dine at, with a wide range of flavors and an overall party atmosphere. The people are very nice! I think it’s the sunny weather, but everyone being medicated may add to that general feeling. MzJill and myself simply loved the city and it’s people.
We checked into the hotel and unpacked our medical cannabis that we legally fly with – simply by writing our medical card info on it and checking it with our luggage. The first thing I saw was a copy of a magazine from Denver called 5280 with an article titled “Reefer Madness”, about two prominent attorneys, Rob and Jessica Corry, who are spearheading the marijuana movement in Colorado, and how this man and wife team are a very different face of legal cannabis. I took the time to get a shot of the story with Denver in the background knowing it would make a great start or inspiration for a story. Welcome to Colorado it seemed to say to me.
Our good friends who used to live in our home state Oregon and now live near Denver came to show us around and take us to one of the dispensaries in the area called 420 Wellness. The place was not what I expected and although everyone who came in to get medicine had proper paperwork, the over all feel of the place was more like a dorm-room than a legal cannabis clinic. I’m not trying to make anyone mad, the owner was a super-nice guy that obviously cared about his patients and prices were cheap, but it felt much more like a liquor store than a medical dispensary. Its also possible since the owner “Rich” believes in giving such good deals he hasn’t been able to invest in upgrades to his spot yet. His 1/8ths were $35 when some other clubs are charging as much as $80. He had people medicating on site and later, when we visited a nicer club, I learned this is strictly prohibited. He showed me some amazing-looking melt product, but when I smoked some it crackled like it was full of impurities like butane, so I didn’t actually medicate at the first place. Before you ask: yes, I am legal in Colorado – I’m actually legal in like eight states now. Check out this amazing map of all the dispensaries in Denver alone.
The second place we went to was really nice and much more what I expected to see; a quality shop: discreet and classy with art decorations and steel doors leading to the different areas. You show your paperwork and then you’re buzzed in to a waiting area. Then there is another secure door before you can make a purchase. I was impressed to see TGA genetics for sale in both seed and clone form. This shop had CO2 Critically Extracted med Wax that blew me away, but you will hear more on that later. The owner Scott was really nice to us, showing us around and letting us take a few shots behind the green door, as it were.
The third place we went to was even nicer. Denver Relief was located two doors down from a Cop Shop, and after speaking with the owner he told me that he is friendly with the police and actually worked out a deal with his landlord so they could stay in their office. His Bio- Diesel was the 2009 Harvest Cup winner. The shop was nicely decorated and spotlessly clean and I noticed several close-circuit cameras. Out of all those we visited, this would be my shop of choice if I lived in the area.
Sunday evening we attended an event, which was actually the reason we flew down in the first place. The famous Cheese Cake Lady was hosting a Hash Bash and I had been asked to speak and sign books at the event. We arrived early to get our passes and then made a trip around the displays. There was a ton of killer looking hash and bud and every type of medicating utensil you could imagine. We met some cool people and even a former Professional Hockey player that suffered a severe injury and was now a medical cannabis user. Everyone was super-friendly and glad to meet us; it was a nice change from the drama that can be the Internet, to be honest.
One grower came up to me with a grin and said, “I have a complaint Subcool, I planted 100 seeds and only 99 grew.” Then his smile got bigger and he gave me a big hug. Another grower had just germinated 150 TGA seeds with only three duds. The third person I spoke with handed me a bud of Chernobyl he drove 400 miles to show to me. I gave him the proper respect I hope, rolling a joint for everyone else from my stash and rolling me and this cat PCG a joint of his amazing Chenobyl, and we shared the whole spliff together. I told him it was as good as our mother buds and he smiled. “Coming from you Sub that’s about the best compliment I have ever received.” It’s awesome to make people feel so good with just a few kind words.
This is the stuff that impressed me the most of any thing I saw there or even in the eight years I went to Amsterdam. While they would not reveal their method and charged $100 per gram for this stuff it must have been amazing as it’s the first cannabis I have paid for in some 7 years now. From what I could piece together they’re using Super Critical c0@ extraction with Dry Ice. I found a few links if you want to read more here and here.
I think they are using some type of extraction tube and liquid CO2 along with the dry ice to keep the CO2 in a liquid form as it passes through the extractor. I have also not given up on getting the inventors to tell me more, but at $100 a gram, I do understand why they want to keep the method to themselves. If they tell me they know I will tell the world. I have never smoked anything so pure and even made with a strain called Blue Dream it was phenomenal. I can only imagine when they start producing it with Space Bomb. When any heat is applied, it forms a golden pool and then its gone. They smoke it over coals and pull it through upside down bowls, but I like the screen method. The only problem is when it cools it clogs the pipe and then forms a pool of pure wax in the bottom of the pipe, which I actually heated up and got more hits. This stuff was just the coolest and I quickly smoked up $100 worth in just two days.
At 8pm they asked me to head upstairs and give my talk and answer some questions. There were many people present and I was actually a bit nervous at first, but I simply spoke with passion about soil and breeding and organics, and when I finally took a breath and asked for questions I was over whelmed by the interest in what I had to say.
When I was speaking I couldn’t tell if they were learning or thought I was an idiot, but the number of books we signed, and the fact that I was swarmed for almost an hour afterwards, really made me feel like what I had to say was worth hearing. I met so many cool people that were growing my gear and using my soil. One really clean-cut guy told me my recipe changed his life, then showed me seven strains he had grown in my soil. When I asked if he ever used liquid fertilizer he replied, “I just add water, Sub, like ya told me.”
The Hash Bash was a huge success and sold 450 tickets with all the money donated to charity. The Cheese Cake Lady is an awesome person with a huge heart, and all the cash from a $2 water table that was set up was given to people who needed medicine but couldn’t afford it.
The next morning, I was asked to go out to a remote location at 10,000 feet to see a TGA garden. Canyon Road was so cool, as the road cuts deep through the rocks next to a stream that I assume dug through the canyon millions of years ago. The lights were off and we fumbled in the dark a while, but I was able to capture these pictures to show you guys that what’s going on all over the state. They’re Growing Dank and helping treat people naturally and with love.
It’s obvious to me that some regulation needs to take place, but everyone reading this needs to remember this: The people of Colorado voted by a margin of 2/3rds to change their constitution and its not going to change back. These life-loving people have made the decision as responsible adults to medicate with cannabis and to not imprison people for wanting a natural cure to many of life’s problems and ailments. People who don’t support our movement might as well get used to us, just like I put up with drinkers and cigarette smokers when I go out in public. We should have the same rights they do, as our drug of choice is much less harmful than theirs.
I can’t wait to go back to Denver.
But the Colorado rocky mountain high
I’ve seen it rainin’ fire in the sky
The shadow from the starlight is softer than a lullabye
Rocky mountain high.
– John Denver
Subcool is an expert grower and breeder, and author of Dank: The Quest for the Very Best Marijuana, published by Ed Rosenthal’s Quick Trading Company. He and is a regular contributor to Cannabis Culture and other marijuana magazines. Read Subcool’s Blog.