Cannabis in Chile? Not So Fast

Cannabis in Chile? Not So Fast

Cannabis in Chile

Chile is the largest consumer of cannabis in South America, according to Wikipedia.

It is? Can cannabis in Chile be safely obtain by a casual user or visitor? Chileans appear to have very low key approach to weed and it made for a surreal experience and also a bit Machiavellian. Recently, I was in Italy as well. Medical cannabis is legal in Italy as well as Chile, but the other legal differences are huge. In effect though, both countries seem more similar than different. I found out there is a scene in both countries and I didn’t have to look for it at all in either Chile or Italy. What I found is the ‘scenes’ are kind of similar. In both countries, cannabis is sort of there, but not there at the same time. Both governments seem to ‘admit’ that their citizens are using cannabis, but they don’t seem to have the desire to force the issue and arrest everyone who consumes cannabis. There’s still some stigma around cannabis consumption, bit it’s more under the table in Italy and Chile than it is here in the U.S.

Sweet Aroma of Cannabis

The purpose of my trip was to visit as many wine regions and wineries and taste as many Chilean wines as I could during my time there, Whenever I travel, I always try to check out the cannabis scene, just to see what’s going on. I don’t try to buy any (however, if some was offered…). I was successful at the wine tasting part. As for cannabis in Chile, it’s there, but it’s really underground except … Except you can smell it everywhere and see cannabis nowhere at the same time. The Chilean laws are, if anything, even stranger than the Italian laws. In Italy, you can buy cannabis as long as it’s “Cannabis Light”, which means less than 1 1/2% of THC (wink wink nod nod) and made from industrial hemp. And you can purchase it in a store that sells cannabis. But consuming cannabis in Italy is against the law. You can look, you can buy, but you cannot smoke, except for medical cannabis. In Chile, it’s legal to consume cannabis at home, but not buy, grow or sell it. In Two countries, two quasi “legal” medical cannabis markets. Between them, there’s a legal market for adult use cannabis. Alone, they’re just strange.

Medical Cannabis

cannabis in chileChile, like Italy, has medical cannabis.  Cannabis in Chile has been legal since 2015, but it wasn’t readily available until pharmacies started selling cannabis products in 2017. There are lots of pharmacies in Chile. Chileans get colds and coughs just like us. In fact, I had to go into one, but I never saw (and didn’t seek out) any medical cannabis. But apparently it’s there and there’s a lot of it. There have also been many protests about medical cannabis in Chile and making it more available. Apparently there is still lots of work to do on the medical cannabis front in Chile. The picture at the right is from one of the many protests that people held in the last few years to make medical cannabis readily available in pharmacies.

Cannabis Paraphernalia

chile head shopIf cannabis is legal to smoke at home, as long as you don’t grow it and as long as you don’t buy it, where were all the rolling papers and other paraphernalia needed to complete consumption? None of us saw any head shops where paraphanalia like papers, bongs, pipes, etc. was available. But as we were walking the streets in a piazza in Valparaiso, there was a card table with some papers and a few pipes. AHA! That’s where Chileans, at least in Valparaiso, got their smoking supplies; card tables on the street in public squares. The unmistakable aromas of cured and burning cannabis were everywhere! The country smelled a bit like a pot shop in many places. But card tables to sell the stuff you need to consume the cannabis flowers you’re not supposed to have in your possession? Head shops are not all over the place.

Strange Pipe

cannabis art pipes in chileThen we were walking on the beach at Viña del Mar, just beyond Valparaiso, I spotted a vendor who was selling pipes. Strangest pipes I’ve ever seen. Very ornate, with swirls and stones embedded in them, but I’m not sure what they’re made from. Since I’m so unsure, I wouldn’t smoke them. Glass…not a problem. Metal, no problem. But the material is a mystery to me. So while I’m fine with the idea of using a pope like this for ceremonial purposes, I’m not so sure about actually using the pipe.

Cannabis in Chile - grow shop

Grow Your Own is OK…Apparently

A lot of the product you need for growing comes from grow shops. There were signs advertising grow shops in different communities. Medical is legal or is it growing that’s legal for medical purposes? I saw at least three of these shops. It’s OK to grow your own, but not be able to find it in a shop.

If you want to do cannabis tourism in South America, I’d suggest Uruguay. It’s been totally legal there for several years.  Or you can just stay or visit in the U.S. and go to a legal state. There’s more of them all the time.

Critical Time for Medical Marijuana in Michigan-The Good, the Bad, and the Mostly Ugly

Critical Time for Medical Marijuana in Michigan-The Good, the Bad, and the Mostly Ugly

Update 1/15/19: LARA has done the right thing. If LARA adopts new, proposed rules on Wednesday, January 16th. Read more at michigan.gov. The proposed rules will take us back to last year’s status, with the addition of complete testing. Many of the shuttered dispensaries will reopen. These new rules are only good until March 31st, but it’s a start.

The medical marijuana market in Michigan is in a critical state. There is a shortage of cannabis for medical patients in the few dispensaries still open as of Sunday January 13, 2019.

At the very least, The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) is not doing its job. LARA is probably obstructing the will of the people. The technical word for that is malfeasance. How bad has LARA made things for patients in Michigan? I spoke with several different dispensary managers or owners in Ann Arbor over the past few days. There is almost no medical cannabis in any of the few shops LARA has licensed. There are several reasons for this, all of which could have been avoided with a little forethought and honesty. Instead, what the citizens of Michigan got was doublespeak from a LARA representative. Cannabis in dispensaries all over the state was from the (only) four growers LARA has licensed, so far. The price and selection was the same in each store and in very limited supply. Probably it’s mostly gone by now. One shop had only one lonely variety of flower and a few vape cartridges for sale. Another shop was closing early today (Saturday January 12) because they no product to sell. They would open for business on Sunday, but would be turning customers away. Has any good come out of this? Or is it all bad? And what’s plain ugly? Most importantly, how did we get here?

The Good

LARA has done a few good things. In their defense, LARA is trying to bring order to an unordered market through regulation. This isn’t bad in and of itself but LARA was the agency that was responsible for the chaos in the market previously. LARA has also mandated testing for all manner of things in cannabis growing like pesticides, bugs, molds and other nasty surprises you might not want to know about in your favorite flower. The concept of seed to sale is a great idea. In Michigan it’s called METRC. This seed to sale software is used in several states besides Michigan, like Colorado. One of the things the software is supposed to do is track lab results. I like to know the provenance of what I’m consuming and that there are no pesticides, bugs, fungus, mildew or carcinogens, etc. Tracking is a good thing for us consumers. (Implementation is a different issue.) This is about it for the good. For now.

The Bad

LARA has been malfeasant in its application of the medical marijuana regulations they made up. On January 1st of 2019, the medical marijuana dispensaries who had not been licensed were to shut down. Let’s say you were a dispensary who complied to the letter with the regulations that LARA had set forth last year. LARA then moved the goal posts. Several times. There have been several injunctions against LARA and the bureau just doesn’t seem phased by anything. They set their arbitrary deadline for January 1st and that was it for a majority of applicants who spent a lot of money with the state, had extensive background checks, and jumped through countless hoops. Most of these dispensaries were then told they could not operate their business because of a bureaucratic bungle beyond anything rational and reasonable.

LARA does not care or want anything looking like a normalized or regulated market. Voters approved medical marijuana in Michigan in 2008. LARA was empowered to issue cards and caregiver certificates. LARA made no attempt to regulate dispensaries and through a jumble of regulation licensed ‘caregivers’ who could grow and patients who had to find their own caregiver. Really? That was how medical cannabis operated in Michigan from about 2009 until this year. LARA, in it’s infinite wisdom, decided that rather than ease into a regulated and orderly market, they would just draw a line in the sand. Before January 1st, 2019, whatever license was OK. After January 1, 2019 you had to have the official blessing of LARA, and that was not easy to come by.

Now we get to the licensed growers. The state only approved 4 growers before the end of the year. Four. Four for the whole state of Michigan including the Upper Peninsula. Four growers is not enough to supply the state’s dispensaries. There was not an adequate supply to begin with. It takes from 16-20 weeks to bring a plant to market. If the grower is conscientious, drying and curing can take a month. Then there’s trimming, weighing, packaging, etc., etc., etc. There’s a whole lot of etcs in growing. And still, the state only approved 4 growers. Unless they’re giant growers, four isn’t going to adequately supply the state. Ten times that probably won’t handle the state demand for medical cannabis and adult use cannabis, which is looming around the corner later this year.

Now we find ourselves in the sad situation where patients who had access to their medicine, now have no access because there’s no approved product. Whether a patient’s preference is flower, oil, balm whatever, there is no product. And frequently their favorite dispensaries are closed. The dispensaries that are open have nothing to sell. Gee, where are all these patients going to go?

The (Mostly) Ugly

The original intent was that a medical marijuana patient would get to know a caregiver, a grower, who would provide the plant material to the patient, grow the correct strains, etc. As nice as it sounds, it could never work. It was an unworkable system. LARA created a market without providing much of a structure for the market. Because of the vague regulations, dispensaries started to pop up as LARA changed the rules. Some of the rule changes allowed for dispensaries to operate. The ‘providers’ were allowed to continue to grow cannabis and sell their cannabis to the dispensaries. There was no regulation over pesticides, bugs, molds or any of the other nasty things that can happen to cannabis.  So LARA, rightfully, so, decided to roll out ‘saner’ dispensary and grower licensing and regulations. All this is good, however LARA has not followed its own directives. Now there are somewhere between 70 and 90 fewer dispensaries, until LARA licenses those who were following the regulations for application and dotted their i’s and crossed their t’s. That’s bureaucratic bungling of the worst sort. LARA needs, at the very least to allow those dispensaries to operate and allow the growers to operate as well. But it may be too late. A lot of the legitimate product may have moved to a different market.

METRC

The implementation of METRC has been a disaster for the state and the dispensaries and growers. Like most software systems, there was no time to learn and test the system. It’s as though LARA just told the dispensaries and growers they had to use it. Period. No software has ever been implemented and work like it’s supposed to the first time out of the box. There should have been a gradual implementation of the product from the grower to the dispensary to the consumer, which would have made everyone’s life easier. And the software never should have been implemented at the same time as the new license laws. What was LARA thinking?

Cannabis Jobs Lost

There’s one other thing. If 70 dispensaries closed and they had an average of 10 employees. That’s 700 people out of work. Their salaries are off the market. Their taxes aren’t being paid. There’s also the rent due on those 70 or so dispensaries. And the patients. What about them. Michigan has around 300,000 medical marijuana card holders. If the cannabis has run out of the market where are they going to go? The answer is obvious. DO THE RIGHT THING LARA. Do the right thing.

Top 8 Reasons 2018 is the Cannabis Legalization Watershed Year

Top 8 Reasons 2018 is the Cannabis Legalization Watershed Year

We’ll look back at 2018 as the watershed year, not just in the U.S. but worldwide for cannabis legalization. A watershed year is when so much happens, everything seemed to have hinged on that year moving forward. A tipping point if you will, and that pretty much defines 2018 and all the activity around the re-legalization of cannabis in the U.S. and globally.

Without getting into the weeds (pardon the pun) on the details, here’s a brief overview on why 2018 will go down as the year cannabis re-legalization efforts achieved critical mass. It doesn’t mean cannabis will be legal everywhere all of a sudden. But 2018 will be seen as the tipping point where re-legalization appears inevitable. Here are the 8 reasons cannabis may have hit a watershed in 2018.

1. Investment

Real investment broke through in 2018. John Boehner, Altria, and Constellation Brands just to name one well-known figure and a two companies that made cannabis financial news in 2018. Altria makes Marlboro cigarettes and Constellation Brands owns Corona beer among other alcoholic beverage companies. John Boehner (R) was Speaker of the House and previously an outspoken opponent of legal cannabis…until 2018. These are just three of the names that continue to add mainstream credibility to the cannabis sphere. More and more people are jumping on the cannabis bandwagon. The amount of celebrity and corporate investment in cannabis companies this year is staggering. Now that mainstream Republicans are investing, we won’t have far to go until cannabis is a normalized part of life. When the world begins to see investment in cannabis industries as a positive, this is a sign that things are changing. And things certainly changed in 2018.

2. States Legalization

Both Vermont and Michigan have legalized adult-use cannabis. Vermont legalized cannabis legislatively and is the first state to have done so. Several other states (New Jersey and New York) are considering legislative legalization. This is an amazing change in the legislative tenor of the states in the U.S.

Michigan voters legalized adult-use cannabis with a ballot initiative, by a large margin. Several other states opened dispensaries in 2018 after legalizing several years ago. Even Oklahoma has legalized medical marijuana. 33 states of our 50 United States now have legalized medical marijuana. A majority by any measure. More are scheduled to come on stream in 2019. In 2018, many states saw the positive results from legalization and now want to jump on the cannabis bandwagon, and not all of the reasons altruistic. But whatever the reasons are, legalization is a good thing. The aggregate population in states that are legalized, or have begun legalization, is about 65% of the overall population in the U.S. Coming into 2018 about 35% of the population in the U.S. had legalized cannabis in some form or another. Heading into 2019, it’s a majority of the U.S. population with legal cannabis. This seems like the tipping point into Federally legalized cannabis.

3. Expungement Programs

Colorado, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Oregon have expungement programs. California is just passed an expungement program. Several other states are either passing laws that would expunge non-violent crimes like small quantity marijuana dealing, where people should never have been thrown in jail in the first place. We need to release people who are in prison for non-violent, cannabis-related crimes.

Expungement (vacating) of convictions of ill-conceived cannabis laws will allow many good people to leave the prison system. Perhaps this will end the prison cartel in the U.S., where many prisons are run by for-profit, private companies. Private companies make more money when there are more prisoners. They are not in favor of expunging non-violent crime from their prisons. The U.S. has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world. The Federal, 2018 far-reaching criminal justice reform law, along with the legalization of cannabis, will help reduce our prison population. We’re beginning to see the prison population fall. All because of laws and expungement that occurred in 2018.

4. Local Municipalities Coming Around

Most of the cannabis legalization laws that have passed in the last decade or so have allowed individual municipalities to deny licenses for cannabis sales in their borders. In California, a majority of cities do not have cannabis shops in their towns and cities. That wall is beginning to crumble as well. It won’t change completely. There are still cities and counties all over the country that are alcohol ‘dry’. If the citizens in a dry county or municipality want alcohol, they go to a community that has alcohol to purchase. Why would cannabis be any different? If your community doesn’t have any pot shops, you’ll go where the shops are to purchase your weed. Then your town will be out the taxation revenue of weed legalization. The towns that are remaining cannabis ‘dry’ are, in the main, going against the will of their populations. We do understand there’s still a stigma associated with cannabis, but it’s quickly becoming an excuse. Each and every argument against legalizing and selling cannabis has been refuted. When the anti-legalization crowd gets into the picture, all they can do is quote outdated and disproved ‘studies’ and stories about the evils of marijuana. Fresno and many other communities in California and Nevada originally outlawed cannabis stores in their city limits. That wall is starting to crumble and 2018 is the year that began. Most towns that wanted to remain ‘cannabis-dry’ are beginning to take another look. 2019 should see many more towns begin to allow cannabis inside their borders.

5. Medical Cannabis Was Legalized in More States for Good Reasons

Texas, of all places, now has medical marijuana. Although there has been medical cannabis in Texas for several years, it was limited to one and only one disease; intractable epilepsy. Utah voted to legalize medical marijuana in 2018, but the legislature wants to do its own thing. Oklahoma too! And that was voted in as a referendum. Almost all the states who don’t have medical cannabis at the very least, are looking at some way to legalize medical cannabis, if not adult use. Even Indiana is considering it. There will be a few states (Indiana?) that will try to remain draconian in their regulation. If you study history, you’ll find the holdout states to alcohol prohibition, like Mississippi and Oklahoma, had liquor available everywhere. Organized crime was the monetary winner then.

S-T-U-D-Y  H-I-S-T-O-R-Y. Let’s not make the same mistakes again. If the laws are too draconian, the black market will continue to thrive. With reasonable laws, regulations, and taxes, states have a better than fighting chance to eliminate much of the cannabis black market.

6. The Pace of Research

There are many real ailments that can be effectively treated with cannabis. There’s the beginning of a body of cannabis research. I don’t normally plug websites, but Prof of Pot is one of the publications that’s reporting on the science of cannabis. Just one example; There are studies now that demonstrate that one of the many forms of THC can help the symptoms of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). Alzheimer’s is also affected positively by certain compounds in cannabis. There is just so much we need to know about the endocannabinoid system in our brains, how it works, and how cannabis works with it.

The Federal Government is beginning to recognize the needs for research and starting to fund some research. Since cannabis is still Schedule 1, even the government has a hard time creating research funding. But private industry is stepping up to the research plate, and that might or might not be medical. Some private research foundations are giving money for cannabis research. It’s beginning, but only a beginning. Researchers need to get deep into the (pardon my expression) weeds and details about cannabis. There was a major uptick in research in 2018 and the outlook is (so far) better in 2019.

7. Studies Show Children and Teens Use Less Cannabis Where it’s Legal

There have been several new studies designed to understand how teens are using cannabis with the results coming out in 2018. Guess what? All the studies, every single one, show underage use of cannabis is lower. Colorado has lower use rate for teens. Washington State had previously reported lower underage cannabis use. It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s actually not. If you’ve studied history of alcohol prohibition and its repeal by the 21st Amendment. While the prohibition of alcohol was in force in the 1920s in the U.S., youth under the age of 21 were normally consuming alcohol, even if it was illegal. After prohibition, teen alcohol use actually went down. Why should cannabis be any different? The realization that underage consumption might decline began in 2018 with several studies published that demonstrated the decline of teen cannabis use in places where it’s legal. There will always be underage cannabis-use just as there’s underage alcohol-use, but it won’t be a free-for-all that the naysayers predict.

8. Levity

Yes, laughter. Even Republicans these days are laughing about cannabis. Is it because they’re high? Could be. Might be. Who knows. Who cares. The main point is, as cannabis becomes normalized in our society, it’s makes us laugh. Cannabis can to do all sorts of positive things for our society, at least in our view. Laugh away Republicans. Laugh away. Now you’ll be laughing with everyone else. We view that as a good thing. Democrats need to laugh too. Our society has become too serious. 2018 saw some humor woven into the conversation about cannabis by both political parties, and that surely is a sign that the times they are a-changing. Let’s hope it continues.

Conclusion

Even though 2018 was the watershed year in the re-legalization of cannabis, there are still many hurdles our society needs to get past. A watershed is the dividing point, the tipping point where everything that came before is changed moving forward. The next most important thing that can happen is the removal of cannabis from Schedule 1. When cocaine is classed lower than cannabis on this so-called schedule of ‘illegal’ drugs, it’s a problem. Only Schedule 2 (where cocaine is) and below can be used as medicine and have research dollars applied to them. Congress needs to reschedule cannabis before any really great research can happen.

There are still too many people and governments who believe the propaganda and lies that were spread about cannabis starting in the early 1900s.

Vessel Vape Pen Review

Vessel Vape Pen Review

Vessel Vape Pen, review by Canniseur team, Steve and Annie. This vape pen has captured our attention. If you’re looking for the perfect gift, this vape pen will be cherished by your favorite cannabis consumer.

The Vessel Vape Pen is Super Stylish

Designed to be sleek, stylish, and elegant, the Vessel pen speaks quality. It’s a vape pen that you’ll be proud of when you pull it out of your pocket or purse. It speaks ‘class’. It’s the perfect gift for your best weed smoking friend. The Vessel vape pen makes a great birthday or holiday gift for those with discerning taste.

The Vessel Vape Pen’s Best Features

How the Vape Pen Felt in Our Hands

We have two of the styles and both pens operated identically. They both had a great weight balance. Handling of either Vessel pens compares to holding a well-balanced tool. The weight of a well-crafted tool feels perfect. The two handsome pens looked very different from each other.

Expedition Black

Vessel Vape Pen - Expedition BlackThe Expedition style is mechanical looking with knurled knobs around the pen for holding it. It has a nice heft and felt good in the hand even with metal all around. The red charging tip lends an especially nice design touch to this vape pen version. The industrial design of this vape pen lends itself well for the more mechanically-minded individual. It’s a nice butch-looking vape pen. (We’re speaking in generalities, and not saying fems or gender-fluid can’t be mechanical.)

Wood Core – Slate/Walnut

Walnut Black Slate Vessel Vape PenThe second style we tested was the Wood Core – Slate/Walnut version. It had a beautiful piece of real walnut for the barrel which gave it an extra flare. This is a vape pen one might use in a c-suite or boardroom. The Wood Core pen barrel feels great to the touch and has the same weight and heft of the Expedition.

They both feel incredibly natural in your hand. Both are a pleasure to look at. Very nicely designed indeed.

Vessel has 4 other styles and they looked equally as sophisticated.

How Well Does the Vessel Vape Pen Work?

The draw is what really separates the Vessel vape pens from others in the marketplace. Simply put, it’s fantastic. Smooth, powerful, and clean, you get a lot of vapor, with a very easy inhalation. We’re used to having to really pull in the vapor, but not with Vessel pens. And the vapor is…well, it’s just velvety smooth. This pen had the best draw of any vape pen we’ve ever used, and we’ve (collectively) used a number of them. The Vessel, stands heads & shoulders above the other pens we’ve tried.

While we don’t typically set products on a scale, the superior draw of the Vessel puts it at the top of any chart.

The Mechanics of the Vessel Vape Pen

magnetic charging for Vessel

Vessel Charging System

The charging system turns everything on its head. Instead of screwing in a small, fussy, and tiny nub on the pen, a magnetic attachment on the bottom of the pen takes care of your charging needs. What really rocks is that you don’t need to disassemble the vape pen to charge it up. How long does it take to charge? We don’t know as the Vessel Vape Pen comes ready to use and it has held the charge for the two weeks we’ve had them. So, safe to say the Vessel Vape Pen holds a charge very nicely.

The Cartridge Fit

Screwing in the cartridge is a breeze and like most other pens. However, we really like that the cartridge is mostly hidden by the vape pen’s barrel. This creates the pen’s impressive looks. There’s just enough visual to guide you as to when you’re getting low on oil.

Room for Improvement

We’re all about ease of use. The controls for both turning the Vessel on and setting the temperature are fussy. It takes 5 clicks to turn it on and 3 clicks to go through the temperatures. That’s a lot of motion and counting, and remembering… And trying to coordinate the clicks while you’re under the influence can be a bit of a challenge. Then again, if you’re unable to turn it on, perhaps you should put it down.

Vessel Vape Pen – On/Off Demo

One of us is sometimes slow on the take and has forever been partial to bongs. She likes the tactile and aromatic experience of a good bong. However, the discreet nature of vape pens is slowly winning her over. Being a bit less experienced with vape pens, she was not sure how to work the pen, and didn’t know how to check if it was pre-charged (comes at about 60%). Going to the vesselbrand.com website to look for a how to use video, turned up nothing. We would love to see a bit more instruction included in the box for the slower of us.:-) After a short while, she got the hang of it.

Some vape pens have the click system, others don’t seem to. The PAX Era for cartridges and several others have iPhone/Android apps, and far easier access to set the temperature. We recommend The Vessel add more embedded software for it’s control system.

The Final Recommendation for the Vessel Vape Pen Is…

Overall, this is a fine instrument. The draw is fine, smooth, and excellent. The aeration is superior. We heartily recommend purchasing this vape pen above all others.

♦ Buy the Vessel Pen Now

Special Note

Some of the links in the above article may be ‘affiliate links’. This means if you click on the link and buy the product, Canniseur will make a commission. This is one way we earn our revenues. Read more about Canniseur here. Canniseur will only recommend products after we’ve tested them ourselves. Our reviews will always be honest and forthright. This disclosure is in accordance with FTC 16 CFR.

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.

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