From whether your landlord can ban cannabis cultivation to where to find weed bars, here are all your burning questions for DGO’s resident potheads
Hi there! It’s time for another Q&A with our good buddies Blaze and Puf. These two potheads are here to answer all of your burning questions about cannabis, legalization, and other weed-related inquiries. That’s basically all they’re good for — that and smoking weed — so you might as well take advantage of their useless knowledge as you see fit.
For this first month of 2023, we have all sorts of random questions to answer for you. From where to find marijuana lounges to replacing opioids with weed, here are your questions about pot for our in-house potheads.
Have questions to ask these two fools? Send them to [email protected] dgomag.com and we’ll do our best to answer them. And, feel free to send them allll over — your wild, wacky, and just plain weird questions about weed. Nothing shocks us at this point. And we do mean nothing.
I really want to visit a weed bar, but I can’t find any in Colorado. Are there any weed clubs or bars in this state, and if not, why?
Blaze Ridcully: Well, I have some good news and some bad news for ya. The good news is that if you’re looking for a weed bar in Colorado, you are in luck. There are a few weed bars that are open in Colorado — which was not the case a few years ago.
The bad news is that you will find most of them in the Front Range area due to the more lax laws and the larger population. On-site consumption is a very new concept for Colorado, and let’s just say that most areas haven’t really been amenable to the idea.
The one thing you should know about most of these weed bars is that you can’t purchase cannabis to consume on-site. You have to bring your own weed or edibles or whatever your literal drug of choice is. In fact, this was the case for all weed bars up until JAD’s Mile High Smoke opened in Denver in late April of this year.
JAD’s Mile High Smoke is the first place in the state where you can buy cannabis and consume it on-site. You can walk up to the bar and order a gram of whatever bud suits you, or you can purchase a THC-infused beverage without leaving the building to enjoy it.
Per state law, there are also limits when you visit. During one trip, consumers can purchase up to two grams of flower, a half-gram of concentrate, or 20 milligrams of edibles (served up to 10 milligrams at a time).
DGO Pufnstuf: Listen. If you’re looking for weed bars in little ol’ Durango, you’re out of luck. While there have been numerous pushes to try and get marijuana lounges, aka “weed bars,” legalized in the area, none have been successful thus far — so you can’t just pop on over to the weed version of The Ranch and get stoned. Bummer, right?
But, as good old Blaze said above, you do have options for weed bars across the wider state of Colorado if you want ’em. Cities like Denver have allowed for marijuana lounges to open in recent years, because, well, these businesses are legal in the state of Colorado after the passage House Bill 19-1230. However, it’s up to the individual counties and cities to decide whether to allow these types of businesses to be issued licenses in their areas.
Durango hasn’t bought into the idea of marijuana hospitality yet. But for businesses in the cities and counties that have, the state of Colorado can issue two different types of licenses. One type of license allows customers to consume on site — but the business can’t sell recre-ational marijuana to them. It’s strictly BYOC (bring your own cannabis, duh). The other allows the business to serve and sell cannabis — but interestingly, you cannot bring your own weed to those businesses.
The main difference between the licenses is that the businesses sell-
ing cannabis and allowing for on-site consumption can’t be mobile, so you’re not allowed to run a cannabis tour bus AND sell weed to your customers. But if you own a marijuana lounge that isn’t on wheels, as all marijuana lounges presumably should not be, then you can get issued a license for on-site sales and consumption if you’re conducting business in an area that allows it.
I know that is way more than you asked, but I say all that to say this: Yes, there are weed bars in Colorado, but what they offer varies vastly from one to the next — and chances are you will only find them in the Front Range.
But the ones that are available would be super cool to visit! I haven’t actually been to any of them, but there are places that are almost certainly worth a stop — like The Coffee Joint, which was Denver’s first licensed marijuana lounge. The Coffee Joint allow you to vape flower and concentrates or eat edibles as long as you bring them with you. Or, there are private clubs like Tetra 9 Private Lounge and Garden, which is a members-only pot club that you can buy day passes to. You can BYOC and consume on site, and the venue offers a solid line-up of live music, gatherings, and weed-friendly classes you can attend.
I’m a chronic pain patient, but I don’t like taking opioids. Is it possible to swap out my pain meds with weed?
DGO Pufnstuf: Please insert the obligatory “I am not a doctor, just a pothead” disclaimer here. OK, now that we got that out of the way, the answer to your question is yes, maybe. Magic 8-ball says outlook is good.
While cannabis affects each person differently, both research and anecdotal evidence have pointed to the idea that you can swap out opioids for cannabis in many cases. In fact, chronic pain is one of the qualifying medical conditions in most states with medical marijuana programs — and that includes Colorado. So that alone should tell you something. (And so should the numerous scientific studies that show the effectiveness of THC on the reduction of pain and inflammation in our bodies.)
Anecdotally, I can tell you that I know many, many people who have successfully made the switch from opioids to cannabis for pain relief. One such case? My dad. He’s getting older and, well, he’s not getting any skinnier. Why does that matter? Well, he broke his leg in several places earlier this year, which resulted in a couple of surgeries, some metal leg parts, and him subsequently being stuck in a chair, immobile, for weeks on end. His pain levels during that time were extremely high, and my mom being the pragmatic person that she is was concerned about the dangers of the Vicodin presribed to him.
So what did she do? Well, she called her trusty pothead child and asked if weed could possibly help.
Long story short, it did. Dude managed to swap out the pharmaceuticals for a high-THC strain from ye local dispensary and it knocked the pain (and my dad) right the heck out.
He’s fine these days, but you know what he didn’t do? He didn’t put down the weed. He’s old and things hurt, so he makes his own tinctures at home and passes them around to his old people friends. It’s cute and weird and I’m here for it.
I’m sure Blaze has some more practical stats and information outlined below, but that’s my rant. If it helped my dad, I’d say it’s worth a shot for you. But as with any other medical question, maybe ask your doctor before making the switch.
Blaze Ridcully: Yes, you can replace your opiates with weed for pain relief — at least in a lot of cases, anyway. This is a growing trend that will almost certainly continue to increase as marijuana becomes legal in more states.
But, as always, you should consult a doctor before doing it. If you’ve been on opiates for an extended period of time, it can be dangerous to hop off your pain medicine without tapering down. And, best case it could cause you to go into withdrawals that you definitely will not enjoy.
That said, the hassle may be worth the temporary annoyances, cause it appears that making the switch to weed from traditional pharmaceuticals works. In Colorado, more than 93% of the 87,000 plus people with medical marijuana cards report dealing with pain. And, almost two-thirds of recreational users say they use cannabis to help manage their pain.
When used correctly, users tend to find that cannabis helps manage their pain without the extreme — and extremely dangerous — side effects that opioids can come with. You won’t run the risk of getting physically addicted or become dependent on cannabis like you would a drug like Oxycodone or Vicodin, and that’s worth all the weight in the weed world, if you ask me. That stuff ain’t nothin’ to eff with (if you can avoid it).
It’s worth noting, though, that some doctors remain hesitant to jump on board with using cannabis for pain relief. However, chances are that you can find some that are willing if you ask around.
I’m a renter in Colorado, and I like to grow my own flower, but my landlord has said in the past he has a problem with it. I don’t want to get evicted, but I really want to grow my own bud in my own rental. Can my landlord stop me?
Blaze Ridcully: Unfortunately, yes. Your landlord can prohibit or limit the possession, use, and growth on their rental property. If a landlord or property manager wishes to prohibit marijuana use in their rental properties, they have to include a drug-free lease clause in their lease agreement. Under current Colorado law, a landlord may evict a tenant for failing to follow the drug policy in a signed lease agreement. Still, many judges are hesitant to enforce evictions or force residents out due to marijuana use.
DGO Pufnstuf: So Blaze is unfortunately right. While Colorado law allows for adults to grow their own flower within the limits of the law (look them up yourselves, lazies!), your landlord has the final say in what goes on in terms of possession, use, or cultivation of cannabis on the properties they own. It’s one of the downsides of renting. If your landlord is against the devil’s lettuce, well, they have a right to be.
That can include having a clause in the lease against growing or using cannabis in your own rented home — and if you violate your lease, you could be on the receiving end of an eviction. It’s totally legal for them to do. Even in a state where weed is legal. (I know, I know. But don’t shoot the messenger!)
If your landlord is adamant about not allowing you to grow cannabis, and it sounds like they are, the only real option you have is to skip growing it and purchase it instead — or to move to a more 420-friendly rental. While I’m all for giving the finger to The Man, the reality is that violating the terms of your lease won’t lead anywhere good, and it’s probably not worth the risk at a time when rental costs are high as hell (and really limited depending on where you live in this state).
I’m going to visit Denver later this year, and I’m staying in a hotel. I can’t smoke there, so what’s the worst thing that happens if I light up a joint on the street and I’m caught?
DGO Pufnstuf: Well, you ever heard of drawing and quartering? Yeah…not fun.
OK, OK. I’m kidding. You won’t get sentenced to being torn apart by horses as a punishment for lighting up a joint on the streets of Denver — not by the law, anyway. But it’s not really legal to do it, as both public consumption and public display of cannabis are illegal in the state of Colorado, and the penalties can be annoying if you’re caught.
In our fair state, public use of pot is considered a petty offense, but you can receive a small fine and/or a couple of weeks in jail if you’re caught using cannabis on the streets of Denver (or any other non-sanctioned public space).
And it’s important to remember that there’s a ton of federal land around Den-ver, and cannabis is very federally illegal still — so you need to watch yo’ ass. If you are caught for possessing marijuana on federal land, the punishment is determined under federal law, and can include a fine up to $5,000 and up to six months in jail.
Screw. That. Just buy some edibles and toss one back in your hotel room instead. It’s way less risky.
Blaze Ridcully: Getting caught lighting up a joint in public in Denver isn’t the end of the world, but it can come with a few penalties.
As Puf said, the state views this as a petty offense, and if you’re caught, there’s generally a $100 fine to pay.
You can also get up to 15 days in jail for lighting up in public, so it’s generally not worth the risk — especially if you are on vacation.
Nobody wants to catch a charge, even if it’s a petty charge, while trying to relax. Hard pass on that one.
I bought way too much flower at the Cannabis Crawl, and now I’m unsure how to store it. What’s the best way to do that?
Blaze Ridcully: The best way to store flower is either in glass mason jars, air-tight sealing plastic bags, titanium jars, or a humidor. You also want to ensure you store these containers in a cool, dark, and dry place.
Flower should be stored in a space that is 74 degrees or under — but ideally should be stored at 65 degrees. Just make sure it doesn’t get colder than 55 degrees.
You should also make sure there is minimal light and air exposure in the area where you’re storing your weed — and that the relative humidity is somewhere between 54%-63%. Storing flower in too much humidity can lead to mold and mildew, while too little humidity will dry your flower out.
If you’re not sure how to handle the fluctuations in humidity, you can purchase humidity packs to put inside your containers to make sure you are within the suggested range.
DGO Pufnstuf: I feel like Blaze pretty much covered all the bases up there, but yeah. If you bought too much weed, it’s not really the end of the world. There are a bunch of handy gadgets you can purchase to keep your weed as fresh as possible — and the big thing is to keep it out of direct sunlight or extremely high or low temps. Kinda hard to do in sunny Southwest Colorado, I know, but I have faith in you.
Letting your weed sit in direct sunlight is a surefire way to destroy all the good stuff in your bud because sunlight de-grades cannabis — and it can do so very quickly. Research has shown that each hour that your weed is exposed to UV rays results in a 0.5% decline in potency. That is a decline of 0.5% potency for each HOUR it’s in the sun. If you don’t like THC then I guess letting your bud sit in the sun is a good plan, but maybe just don’t buy weed if that’s the case?
Maybe just buy an airtight container to keep your weed fresh instead. There are borderline a billion options to choose from in any price point, including some that will cost you just a few bucks or so. You can stick that container somewhere in the house where the temps are consistent and call it a day. Easy peasy.
I’m from the Midwest, and I’ve never been to a legal state before. What are the best weed-related places to visit on a trip to Colorado?
DGO Pufnstuf: There are so many weed activities in Colorado! SO MANY!
Now, I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “best” — but there are some rad places you may want to stop by while you’re here. For starters, the International Church of Cannabis is worth a stop if you have any interest in seeing a church that bases its worship around the almighty plant. It’s housed in a beautiful stain-glassed building in Denver, and it’s open to the public most of the time. You can find a ton of information on their website (and no, they’re not sponsoring this column).
I’d also stop by the weed mall in Trini-dad, which I’m sure Blaze is going to mention as well. It’s like a clearinghouse of weed, with cannabis shops and products as far as the eye can see. [Please insert that Toy Story Woody gif in your brain here.]
There are tons of other places you should stop by, too. If you’ve never been to a dispensary, don’t just stop at one. Go to numerous. Each one has its own vibe — and the products tend to vary from one to the next, too. They’re fascinating! Especially to newbies.
There are a ton of pot tourism businesses, especially in Denver and the Front Range, that you may want to check out, too. DGO’s staff has done some paint and smoke classes, sushi-rolling classes, and other random “get stoned and do stuff” classes in the past — and we had a fricking blast at all of them. You can’t go wrong.
Anyway, I don’t know. You have tons and tons of options to choose from, so pick a few and dive in. Colorado is the land of milk and weed honey, so whatever you do, just be sure to revel in it before you have to head back to your home state.
Blaze Ridcully: Colorado has some truly amazing cannabis-friendly spots, many of which offer amazing weed and/or amazing views — and there is something for every kind of stoner.
For starters, the weed mall in Trinidad is worth a stop, and it’s exactly what it sounds like. It houses five dispensaries in the same location, all of which offer up all the different weed and weed-related things you could ever want. And, a little healthy competition tends to help keep the prices low, which is awesome.
Or, maybe take a tour. Denver Marijuana Tours have been around for a while, but most people would say they just keep improving. There are a few different options to choose from with those tours. And City Sessions offers private and public tours that promote cannabis education and offer an in-depth look at the cannabis industry. These tours can last from two hours to multiple days.
Or maybe take a trip out of town to get stoned and take in the scenery. The city of Glenwood Springs is a great little mountain town in the Rockies to visit. There are three dispensaries, great views, three different hot springs, and even an amusement park with an Alpine coaster. All three of the hot springs are popular, but Vapor Caves is the coolest since you feel immersed in the cave, and it is generally not as crowded as the others.
Estes Park is another great cannabis-related destination. Estes Park has dispensaries, cannabis-friendly lodging, and some genuinely fantastic hiking and biking. What can be a better break from your daily grind than getting out in nature after smoking some local flower and watching the wildlife wander around?
Plus, if you’re a movie buff, you can stop by the Stanley Hotel in Estes, which was featured in the Hollywood classic movie “The Shining.” And the hotel is even open for business if you feel like spending the night in a famous — and famously haunted — location.