Why Do I Feel Like a Criminal When I Purchase Cannabis in Colorado?

Why Do I Feel Like a Criminal When I Purchase Cannabis in Colorado?

Adult use of cannabis is legal in Colorado. So why do some dispensaries make me feel like it’s criminal act to purchase weed?

On a recent trip to Colorado, I visited four “dispensaries”. Previous to my Colorado trip, I had spent a considerable amount of time in Michigan dispensaries. I’ve never felt like a criminal in Michigan. In Colorado, just like in both Michigan and Washington, you have to show identification proving you’re of age. Then you can walk into the store and purchase your cannabis.

In Michigan, where medical sales are legal, salesperson relationships seem the same as buying clothes or food or anything else. However, I walked away from three of the four Colorado “dispensaries” I visited with an unshakable feeling that I was doing something that was still illegal. It started the moment I walked in the door at one of the dispensaries. Two of the other three were ‘easier’, but they weren’t exactly consumer friendly. Perhaps it’s Colorado’s laws that dictate the method of allowing customers in the door. It’s also the fault of those three unfriendly shops I went into. The fourth was more like Michigan.

My Denver Colorado Cannabis Shopping Experiences

The first dispensary I walked into was Native Roots in downtown Denver. Before I could even walk into the shop I had to slip my drivers license through a little bank teller window slot. The person in the small booth checked out my license…thoroughly. It felt kind of creepy. There were six of us crowded into a small anteroom. We had to pass this ‘scrutiny’ before we could walk into the shop. After about a minute of checking the computer, then waving a little ultraviolet lamp and doing other sundry things, the ID “checker” allowed me into the showroom. The other 5 people were still behind me.

When I got in the store, it was pleasantly nice and well decorated, yet the store gave me a kind of itchy feeling. The salesperson conjured up old images of dealing with a slick, used car salesperson. Not exactly warm and welcoming, and I had a feeling I was being both watched and duped at the same time.

It also seemed like the salesperson wanted me to buy something and get out as quickly as they could make me decide. HIs entire body language and verbiage said as much. He just wanted to sell me the product and hustle me out the door. Why? So, the police wouldn’t find out I was in there buying legitimate goods? Did I smell bad? I guess I’ll never know.

The combination of the entry and the sales approach would have me never walking into one of their shops again. Native Roots has many locations in Colorado. Don’t walk into any of them if you want to feel like a criminal. None the other dispensaries were quite as bad as Native Roots. Native Roots made me feel like a criminal.

Aspen Dispensaries

In Aspen, I shopped at a dispensary named Silverpeak Apothecary. Silverpeak is a vertically integrated company, which makes them different from most operations. Seed to weed is what I call it. They were growers and retailers.

After the perfunctory checking of the ID, the first person I met was so overbearing with his ‘knowledge’ that I almost walked out. I may have become a little tart toward him, but he did the one thing a salesperson should never do: Tell me what I already know without first ascertaining what I might know. Not fun and not nice. And I know why – he was never trained in sales.

The driver’s license approach was much less invasive feeling as our IDs were only checked before we walked in. Other than the overbearing sales pitch, it was a better experience but still one where I felt a bit like I was doing something not quite legal. Silverpeak also wanted me in and out as quickly as they could sell me something. The worst part was the ‘magic’. I placed an order and it came out from the ‘back room’ on a silver tray, where it was put in containers. Mysterious. Was I getting what I ordered? I’ll never know.

Telluride Dispensaries

Telluride was a different scene. More laid back and far more open than Aspen. The first shop I went into was a chain store; Green Dragon. Quite nice to talk to, but the manager had to give the ‘canned’ talk to newbie visitors to the shop. He had to outline about the dangers of marijuana and the legal aspects of having it on their person. It was a draconian speech and one he was required to give in the chain I was in. This made my experience feel quasi-legal.  It was tedious to listen to, even if I knew he had to give it.

Then there was a little stand-alone shop; The Green Room. Not a chain, not vertically integrated. Just a store and manager that could not have been any nicer. Asked to see my ID and after he saw I was over 21, we had a lovely chat and I wound up buying something from him.

Why couldn’t all the Colorado stores be like The Green Room?

The Green Room is an independent shop. The manager DOES NOT like the chains. After seeing how the chain’s operate and treat their customers, I can understand why. If the chains continue to treat customers the way I experienced it, the small independent shops don’t have a lot to worry about.

Colorado was an interesting, fascinating experience. Personally, I’ll shop with the independent stores, especially if they have relationships with sustainable and reputable growers. It’s fascinating to see how different stores have reacted to legal cannabis and how differently they operate their shops.

Tutti Frutti Strain Review

Tutti Frutti Strain Review

Tutti Frutti Total Score: 94

Tutti Frutti is one of the seemingly infinite number of strains in the legal cannabis market. Most strains have either an upper or downer effect. Typically the effects are not that different from strain to stain. There usually isn’t a necessary connection. This is not the case with Tutti Frutti. These specific buds were obtained from an Ann Arbor, MI medical dispensary, Liv Cafe N Wellness.

Tutti Frutti Strain Review

Tutti Frutti Strain Review

Tutti Frutti – Appearance

The buds were small and highly compact with lots of little orange stigma all over them. It’s a cute bud, in a way. There were visible frosty trichomes all over the flower and there wasn’t much leaf left. Mostly there were just potential seed sacs and their attached hairy stigmas. Small is sometimes beautiful and in this case it is. I deducted points for the size of the buds because I knew them to be from the bottom of the plant. The only other down side was the buds being a little dry. A day or two with a humidifier packet to 62% should solve that issue.

Appearance Score: 18/20

Tutti Frutti – Aroma

WOW! After grinding, the flower the scents were amazingly clear and strong. Highly scented with aromas of plum, cherry, and even orange. Not a lot of lemon (limonene) in the aroma, but super fruity and complex.

Aroma Score: 19/20

Tutti Frutti – Taste

The fruit aromas were strongly reflected in the taste. This isn’t typically the case with other strains, but the taste in my pipe before lighting up was kind of surprisingly close to the aroma. It tasted so good, I didn’t want to light it up. It was just that good.

Taste Score: 19/20

Tutti Frutti – Effect

This is a case of – ‘wait for it’ – as the high took a little bit to come on. And then bam, you’re very high. At first I waited a few minutes and nothing happened. I decided to take another puff. Then at about the 15 minute mark, it came in a heady rush that went to a certain level, and hung on for the first hour. And that was only two puffs, about 15 minutes apart. It was potent cannabis. I never looked at the THC content percent because I don’t believe it’s relevant. but going back to the Liv site, I noted it was listed as a hybrid, but there was no THC content on the page.

After about 2 hours, came the surprise; For the first 1 1/2 to 2 hours of the effect was very sativa like. I got a lot of work done, like cleaning the kitchen. After about 2 hours, I got very sleepy. This must have been the ‘indica’ part of the ride. I was already in the sack and planning on consuming a little indica to sleep. But, I didn’t need it. Tutti frutti put me in a very somnolent state and I slept like a baby all night. Sweet. The sativa buzz wasn’t my favorite…I only come across that about once a year, but it was really nice and creative and the latter part of the buzz was really nice and sleepy. Because of the sativa/indica effects, this was a 2 for 1 deal.

Effect Score: 18/20

Tutti Frutti Summary

Tutti Frutti is a strain well worth seeking out if you want something that can propel you through an evening into the sleepy zone of relaxation and rest. I don’t believe I’ve ever had any bud before that had this many strong effects. I liked it a lot. A whole lot. Given this strain’s immense complexities and strong effects, this flower is easily worth a pretty high score.

Tutti Frutti Total Score: 94

Marijuana Use Doesn’t Affect Outcome Of Kidney Transplants, Study Finds

Marijuana Use Doesn’t Affect Outcome Of Kidney Transplants, Study Finds

[Ed. Note; There’s a very simple reason for kidney transplant donors and recipients being denied access to the wait list – Schedule 1. Medicare pays for kidney transplants and Medicare is a federal program. Meanwhile, good people are being denied based on an old paradigm.]

Across the U.S., prospective organ donors are frequently turned away if they test positive for or admit to using marijuana. That’s also true for patients who need new organs but consume cannabis. For example, Garry Godfrey, an event planner in Maine who suffers from a hereditary disease that causes renal failure, made headlines last year after being denied a kidney transplant and taken off the wait list due to his medical marijuana use.

Yet up until this point, there’s never been research that specifically investigated the effects of marijuana on kidney donations to shed light on whether these bans could be justified.

But now, a new study finds that cannabis consumption by kidney donors or recipients doesn’t have any effect on the outcomes of transplants.

A team of researchers took up the task, reviewing living kidney transplants that were performed at a single academic institution from 2000 to 2016. Both kidney donors and recipients were divided based on whether they’d used cannabis, and their outcomes were compared using a “variety of tests.”

The review involved medical records of 294 living donors, including 31 who used cannabis, and 230 living kidney recipient records, including 27 recipients who used cannabis.

Contrary to concerns that the use of marijuana would have a negative impact on transplant outcomes, there weren’t any noticeable differences between the groups that could be attributed to cannabis. Long-term kidney function was virtually the same and there were no discernible differences in pre- or post-operation characteristics, either.

The study, published Thursday in the Clinical Kidney Journal, concluded that it could help “increase the donor pool” if institutions start to consider allowing kidney transplants from cannabis consuming donors.

“A significant shortage in available potential kidney donors exists,” Duane Baldwin, the study’s lead author, said in a press release. “Our goal with this study was to start a conversation on this topic and to encourage other centers to study this important question.”

“It is our hope that considering marijuana using donors could ultimately save lives,” he said.


Why Big Marijuana May Spell Trouble for the Artisanal Weed Industry

Why Big Marijuana May Spell Trouble for the Artisanal Weed Industry

[Ed. Note: We feel cannabis is like the wine and beer industry, where there is plenty of room for both big and artisan brands. But ultimately this is up to consumers to decide who they’re going to support – big or local businesses.]

You’ve heard of Big Pharma and Big Tobacco. How about Big Marijuana? The drug’s growing legalization is raising concerns among small-scale marijuana farmers and retailers that the corporatization of weed may be right around the corner. For example, earlier this year NASDAQ became the first major US stock exchange to list shares of a marijuana production company. And in August, Corona-maker Constellation Brands shocked Wall Street by making a $3.8 billion investment in a Canadian marijuana producer, sparking a bull market in marijuana stocks industry-wide. Even Coca-Cola is exploring opportunities to get involved.

Corporate and Wall Street interest in weed is only going to increase now that three more states have legalized recreational or medicinal marijuana use — bringing the total to 33 — while Canada recently became the second country to allow recreational uses of the drug. I have studied the marijuana agriculture industry for the past several years, tracing its evolution from black market drug to legal intoxicant. It’s a story I tell in my bookCraft Weed: Family Farming and the Future of the Marijuana Industry. With all this money pouring in, it’s fair to wonder how legalization will change the marijuana industry itself — and whether it can stay true to its hippie roots.

Small Origins

One of the unintended consequences of the federal prohibition on marijuana in the United States is that legal pot-related businesses have remained rather small. The American marijuana farming scene, for example, has been dominated by small outdoor farmers and modest indoor warehouse growers. The alternative — large, market-share-dominating companies — would attract the attention of federal authorities. State governments have recognized a public benefit to keeping farms small and local as well. In California, for example, most marijuana farming licenses are granted to farms limited to no more than one acre of marijuana. The federal prohibition also prevents farmers, distributors, and retailers from engaging in interstate commerce, meaning that states that legalize marijuana use must create their own local markets for homegrown small businesses to operate in.

cannabis farms
California cannabis farms can not be larger than an acre.

Moneyed Interests

But as the legal marijuana industry booms, well-heeled companies and investors are trying to corner the market. According to one estimate, consumer spending on legal marijuana products in the US reached $8.5 billion in 2017, up 31 percent from the previous year. Spending is projected to reach $23.4 billion by 2022. For comparison, beer sales are actually declining. Although total sales were a robust $111 billion in 2017, that was down one percent from the previous year. Such rapid growth in the marijuana market may not be surprising, given that two-thirds of the US population can now use marijuana medicinally or recreationally up from none just over two decades ago, based on my own analysis. As a result, retail stores are becoming bigger and bolder, with chains competing to establish themselves as the Starbucks of the marijuana industry.

One of these is Seattle-based Diego Pellicer, one of the first marijuana companies to market itself as a premium brand retail chain. For now, the company’s model rests on acquiring real estate and securing deals with marijuana retailers willing to operate their business under the Diego Pellicer name. That way, if the federal prohibition is ever lifted, Diego Pellicer will be in prime position to dominate the retail market. The immense growth potential is also attracting private equity and other investors, some of whom are partnering with celebrities whose names are linked to pot smoking. In 2016, for example, a private equity firm partnered with the Bob Marley estate to launch the Marley Natural line of marijuana products.

Patents are seen as another way a few giant companies may come to capture the pot industry. Increasingly well-funded laboratories are developing new strains of marijuana at a rapid pace, with varying degrees of strength and hardiness as well as unique psychoactive and flavor profiles. As the US Patent and Trade Office begins to issue patentsthere are reports of companies attempting to gobble them up.

Finally, many in the agricultural sector of the marijuana industry are predicting and bracing for an agribusiness takeover — though this has yet to happen.

marijuana strains
A staggering number of marijuana strains have been developed.

How Craft Weed Can Thrive

Are marijuana veterans right to be concerned that their industry is moving too rapidly from the black market to the stock market? Yes and no. My own research suggests that a local, sustainable, and artisanal model of marijuana production can co-exist with Big Marijuana — much as craft beer has thrived in recent years alongside the traditional macro breweries. One reason is that whereas the illicit drug trade forced consumers to buy ambiguously sourced marijuana from street dealers, the legal market allows consumers to buy a wide variety of marijuana products from legitimate retail businesses. And more and more consumers are turning to edibles and extracts produced by highly specialized manufacturers.

The staggering number of marijuana strains being developed is creating a connoisseur culture that favors small-scale, artisanal farms that can nimbly adapt to shifts in market demand. Because such farms can market themselves as small, sustainable, and local, they can better reflect 21st-century food movement ideals. Besides efforts at the state level to limit the size of farms, another regulatory approach is the use of appellations to encourage an artisanal pot culture. I have argued that the marijuana industry is well-suited to adopt an appellation system, like you find with wine and cheeses. Just like a Bordeaux wine comes exclusively from that region of France or Parmigiano-Reggiano is named after the areas of Italy where it originates, Humboldt marijuana may become a prestigious and legally protected designation of origin for marijuana products grown or produced in Humboldt County, California.

It is probably inevitable that Big Marijuana will take hold in some form, but that doesn’t mean the market can’t support the small businesses that have enabled marijuana to become a uniquely local and artisanal industry.

This article was originally published on The Conversation by Ryan Stoa.


Source: Why Big Marijuana May Spell Trouble for the Artisanal Weed Industry | Inverse

Medical Marijuana Shop Licensing Deadline Put on Hold by Judge

Medical Marijuana Shop Licensing Deadline Put on Hold by Judge

Ed. Note: Lansing, MI needed the intervention of a judge to stop the dispensaries from closing on the LARA mandated licensing deadline. Lansing’s City Clerk has been hindered by on-going litigation. How do we stop this sort of governmental malfeasance? Vote the ones in power out?

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) — Halloween was supposed to be the deadline for medical marijuana businesses to get their state licenses or risk being closed down by the state.

But once again, a Michigan judge has pushed back that licensing deadline.

On Tuesday, Michigan Court of Claims Judge Stephen Borrello granted a temporary stay on an Oct. 31 licensing deadline, meaning dispensaries can keep their doors open without a state license.

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs is reviewing the order, spokesman David Harns said.

According to the state, 215 marijuana businesses have been operating under temporary emergency rules that were set to expire Wednesday.

Before the ruling, those businesses were set to receive cease and desist letters and would have to close if they want to have a shot at getting a license from the state in the future.

The case will be back before Borello on Nov. 9 at 1 p.m.

Early Tuesday, the city of Lansing filed suit against the state seeking an injunction on the Oct. 31 licensing deadline. Lansing City Ordinance allows for a total of twenty first-phase and five second-phase licensed marijuana provisioning centers in city limits. The Lansing City Clerk is working to complete the process to issue the first twenty licenses. But due to the city’s on-going litigation regarding its license application system, the city has not awarded any licenses.

“The December 15th deadline was set previously, and we can hit that target,” Lansing Mayor Andy Schor said in a statement. “However, the state keeps moving the target and that will have a negative effect on the ability of Lansing residents to get this Michigan legal medicine that they need.”

“The city of Lansing will continue to pursue the complaint to obtain both permanent injunctive and declaratory relief,” Schor said. The city will continue to process applications in the meantime.

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