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Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Colorado Cannabis Scene



by Citizen Jay Daily


As always, the cannabis scene in Denver is anything but ordinary.  The cannabis community is a-buzz with the NORML day-to-day workings of recreational and medical bud sales (pun intended).  I’m sitting at my computer sipping a bit of “Denver Absinthe,” a drink I concocted consisting of a shot of blanco tequila over ice with a dropper full of ethanol based cannabis indica tincture.  Each dropper contains about 30mg of activated THC. The ethanol evaporates out of the tequila with an impressive show of swirls and bubbles.  This leaves the cocktail a light milky greenish color, not unlike that of absinthe—hence the name.  It’s a powerful elixir.  Certainly not for the weak of heart, it’s hard-core and you’d better like the taste of both tequila and weed, ‘cause it’s real strong.  
I like it a lot.   


This month, one of the largest commercial cannabis organizations in Denver advertised a job opening for a full-time Cannabis Quality Control Specialist.  The folks at O.pen Vape put the word out that they were accepting resumes immediately for the position.  Applications were due March 1, 2014.  They’re looking for someone with extensive knowledge and experience, who can sample, evaluate and document details about their cannabis products.  According to the job positing, “The ideal candidate knows the ins and outs of all forms of cannabis flowers, concentrates, edibles and topicals. They need to be serious about strains and have a well-founded knowledge of medical and recreational marijuana here in Colorado.” They want someone who can positively articulate their experiences while evaluating their various cannabis products.  Interestingly, they asked candidates to submit a short 3-minute video along with their resumes and cover letters demonstrating their cannabis knowledge and enthusiasm.  The job posting went on to state, “Make sure to tell or show us that you are O.pen! Demonstrate why we should hire you and at the end say your name and “I am O.pen!” I’m told they’ve received hundreds of applications from around the country.  The top 20 applicants selected will be invited to Denver for a special interview.  Candidates must be 21+ to apply.  Talk about a dream job… 
In February, the first round of sales taxes collected from the recreational sales of cannabis in Colorado was turned over to the state’s Department of Revenue.  While no actual sales figures have been released, the state collected enough to estimate a nearly 100-million dollar windfall in yearly taxes from the Green Rush.  With only estimated earnings available for the year, our notorious governor has already decided what to do with all that money—and the local cannabis community is none too happy about his emphasis.  The first 40-million dollars is already allocated for public school construction and improvements.  That amount will be garnered from the special excise tax included in the original Amendment 64 language.  Aside from this, the governor wants to put the majority of collected funds from the voter approved tax initiative known as Proposition AA towards “youth-use prevention” and “substance-abuse treatment.”  These priorities don’t seem to apply in the governor’s mind to alcohol or tobacco sales taxes collected in the state of Colorado.  We wonder why that is?  There are certainly a lot more socially conscious things we could do with all that money, like feed our hungry school children or improve our roads without having to outsource their management and maintenance to a foreign power over the next 50 years without voter approval (yes this is really happening in Colorado). 
Over the past several years, our friend AJ Hashman has been putting on and hosting a monthly Medical Marijuana Patient’s Meet and Greet in Denver.  The event has moved around a bit over the last few years but is always popular with patients and dispensaries.  AJ gets several dispensaries to donate buds that he then gives away to registered card-carrying medical marijuana patients.  They show up to enjoy a chill atmosphere and to sample good cannabis with friends for a $10 cover.  There’s usually music, vendors, and food.  It’s a great time and there has never been an incident needing law enforcement to intervene.   
Enter January 1st and the Brave New World…  It has been a couple of months since the last mmj meet and greet, due to the busy holiday season and the ramp up to January and the advent of recreational cannabis sales in Denver.  February was going to be a fantastic event and the entire mmj community was anticipating a marvelous evening.  Unfortunately, the City Department of Excise and Licenses had other ideas.  They sent a letter to AJ telling him that any effort to put on such an event would be met with a police response.  The city has decided that mmj patients can no longer assemble in large groups to consume cannabis on private property.  The meet and greets have somehow been deemed, “public use.”  On the night of the planned event, which had been publicly cancelled, the police used AJ’s Facebook profile to follow him around the city as he went to several different private parties—at each disrupting the flow with their mere presence.  This is unprecedented police harassment using personal social media to literally stalk someone.  AJ, though hounded several times throughout the course of the evening was never arrested.  
The first annual Marijuana Madness festival is coming to Denver on March 21st and 22nd!  The Hemp Connoisseur Magazine and Incredibles, the makers of high-quality handcrafted infused edibles, are hosting an amateur home growers and edible maker’s competition.  The event offers vendors, music, and food.  In addition, the purchase of a ticket automatically enters one into a raffle for a chance to judge the competition.  The bracket-style event (a la basketball’s March Madness) will pit amateur growers and chefs against each other for a chance to win cash prizes and a shot at a contract with a professionally licensed cannabis company.  That’s right- a J-O-B.  The competition requires a $200.00 entry fee and 2-ounces of buds on the grower’s side, 25 pieces of entry on the edibles side—each with at least 50 mg of medicine.  Interested entries should contact events@thcmag.com. You can also check out The Hemp Connoisseur’s Facebook page for updates and details.

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