By: Josh Kasoff
Being born and raised in the deeply conservative Lone Star State, cannabis is naturally something that horribly stigmatized due to decades of factually incorrect Reefer Madness-like falsehoods and a “Just Say No” attitude. Even those such as myself who merely write articles about the cannabis industry carry a stigma with themselves only on par with saying In N’ Out Burger is better than Whataburger, a blasphemous statement in Texas.
Yet, with Denver and cannabis culture becoming intertwined with each other in the most interesting of ways, The Mile High City has become innovative for both local cannabis users and the millions of cannabis visitors that the city receives.
Through a simple search on Coloradopotguide.com, many companies across Denver offer cannabis-based activities, with the most notable probably being a cannabis yoga course and a class where you learn in great detail how to cook directly with the flower. There are educational tours about growing cannabis, there’s a number of ancillary services catered directly to cannabis users and more accessible dispensaries than in Snoop Dogg’s version of heaven.
Loopr, a cannabis, or rather canna-bus company, offers luxury transportation across Denver with buses packed with every cannabis consumption-related instrument available. A signature event of theirs, Pizza and Pot, combines two items that even one who doesn't consume cannabis will admit go well together.
Coming from The Lone Star State, it's almost a culture shock walking on a bus usually used for party buses to questionable nightclubs and seeing cannabis being consumed openly through almost all types of methods. Joints, blunts, dabs, vapes and even cannabis-infused olive oil. The hosts of the event, a couple of gentlemen who moved to Denver only years prior, were incredibly friendly, welcoming and knowledgeable both about cannabis and local attractions in The Mile High City. As I munched on a Mediterranean calzone from Sexy Pizza and told the other participants about how sacred Willie Nelson is in Texas, I felt a warm sense of welcoming from not only the Loopr captains but the other guests as well.
In just about every hotel in Texas, you’ll be removed from your room and possible face extra fines if you smoke or vaporize cannabis. For those that either use the flower for medicinal reasons or frequent recreational users, this could inevitably lead to some issues.
Only slightly off Colfax Avenue is The Adagio Bud and Breakfast, a three-floor Victorian bed and breakfast that openly encourages cannabis usage for their guests. While they don’t directly provide cannabis for a number of licensing reasons, they provide a beautiful collection of bongs, pipes and provide both breakfast and an afternoon brunch at precisely 4:20 PM everyday.
Given the homely, oftentimes welcoming nature of both bed and breakfasts and cannabis, my stay at The Adagio resembled more of a sleepover at a friend’s house, albeit a friend that lives in a old-timey inn but cooks delicious food. Similarly to Loopr’s Pot and Pizza, a culture shock occurred once again when no guests were removed due to cannabis usage in their rooms nor were any fines imposed. Just guests from across the country toking up in harmony and a five-star staff there to ensure a memorable time.
While only a minority of Colorado counties, only 25 to be exact, allow recreational cannabis sales, the lessening of the stigmatization of cannabis usage in Colorado compared to Texas is simply undeniable. Even at her Saturday night performance at Denver Day of Rock, bonafide rock star and Rob Schneider’s daughter Elle King lit up a joint with her band and proclaiming that “it is Denver after all”. The only time I’ve ever seen a musician smoke cannabis on stage in Texas was, not too surprisingly, at a Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa concert.
With the legalization of cannabis comes a great lessening of a still deeply held stigma. It’ll slowly but surely become more socially acceptable and quietly whispering or making hints about cannabis usage won’t be necessary anymore. As for Denver, the cannabis community will only continue to strengthen and grow, no plant pun intended. Future businesses that cater exclusively to cannabis users such as Loopr and The Adagio will continue to open and subsequently prosper.