We’ve all had it happen – friends and family come to town and they want the best cannabis experience possible. They want to do what the Coloradans do and go where they go – and smoke the finest herb available. Sure, you smoke and you’ve been to dispensaries around town, but when push comes to shove, you don’t know the best way to maximize a limited amount of time, the best possible spots to hit for tourists without being too touristy or the ins and outs of all the laws that apply to out-of-towners.
Well, have no fear. We have put together the ultimate cannabis guide for you so you can show friends and families visiting for Memorial Day or the summer ahead how to have a good time. We even talked to some experts to get the inside scoop on how to do it up legal-weed style. You might just pick up some sweet tips for yourself, too!
1. Some Can’t-Miss Spots for Cannabis Enthusiasts
This trip should not only show your visitors the experience of buying legal cannabis, it should also give them the full experience, so they can cram as much canna-awesomeness into their stay, no matter how short.
“I would suggest checking out a sampling of dispensaries you are interested in and grab a sample at a handful of them. What are you looking for? Certain dispensaries have strains they are known for,” offers Shawna McGregor, senior vice president at the Rosen Group, a PR firm that focuses on cannabis advocacy. “Then go on a hike in Boulder or Golden, or a picnic in Washington Park or Cheesman Park.” Don’t stick to just one spot – take them to multiple dispensaries where they can eyeball and sniff the products, and then take them for a good time afterwords. McGregor suggests several options – Good Chemistry in Aurora if they want to stop off right from the airport and they like sleek and modern, 3D Dispensary to see where the first recreational sale took place and Colorado Alternative Medicine on Antique Row if they are looking to get the hip city experience and some really strong buds. There are even some cannabis clubs where they can smoke if they are so inclined. Find out what they want to do and make sure to keep all options open.
2. How to Choose Your Dispensary
All locals who smoke have their favorite dispensary, but often that is because it has the best prices, or the friendliest budtenders or is the closest to home. Those are all great for everyday convenience, but your guest is going to want something more. They want to go to the places that look the most interesting and offer up the best experience, coupled with great products and service. And not every visitor is going to want the same thing.
“The best of the best varies by desire,” states KC Stark, founder of Studio A64, a cannabis club in in Colorado Springs. “The recreational stores offer more than cannabis; they offer an experience of ‘legal’ purchasing that includes selections and aromas that would make a winery envious. The best bet is to find a retail marijuana center that is near you and has a wide variety of flavors and effect. Much like a brewery, today’s marijuana shops in Colorado come in all shapes, sizes and experiences. Some are upscale and classy. Others can be rustic and surrounded by Aspens, snow-peaked mountain and hikers.” Find out where your visitors want to go and what they are seeking. Do they want the strongest stuff possible? Are they mainly interested in trying edibles? Does the atmosphere make all the difference because they aren’t really smokers but still want to dabble while in a legal state? Take these things into consideration and do research on Weed Maps and other sites before making your decision.
3. Things to do Besides Shop for Buds
The most exciting thing about being in a legal state for sure is getting to buy legal pot, but there is more to do than just that and other opportunities should definitely be explored. You can check out Studio A64 in the Springs or one of the cannabis clubs in Denver if your guest is dying to go somewhere to smoke. If not, grab some edibles and head for the mountains, the amazing botanical gardens or simply walk around the city and take in the sites and sounds. Whatever you do, don’t let them lock in at your place and smoke away the whole trip within four walls. It’s Colorado – get them to go out and do!
4. Must-Know Laws for Non-Residents
Nothing will spoil an otherwise awesome vacation time faster than legal trouble, so although it can be a bit of a buzz kill, you want to be sure that your guests know all the rules. Smoking in public is still illegal in Colorado, so warn them and don’t encourage them to try it because you’ve been able to get away with it in the past. Also make sure that they know they are only supposed to have a quarter ounce of cannabis at a time in their possession. When they leave, be sure they aren’t trying to bring any cannabis in their car or on the plane – that’s felony-level illegal and certainly a holiday spoiler.
5. Leave the City for Some Variety
The city is great for cannabis shopping and having fun, but this is Colorado. If your guests don’t get to see the natural sites – especially with the aid of the herbal enhancement they’ve been looking forward to – you will be doing them a disservice. “Colorado is called beautiful for a reason,” states Stark. “There is more to do than you can find almost anywhere else. One can visit mountain resorts, white water rafting escapes, go hiking, camping, biking, or simply watch the sun rise and set on the ‘purple mountain majesties,’ which can be enough to brighten any day. The Red Rocks Amphitheater offers unparalleled natural beauty for music, art, theater and the freedom of open air.” There are some other great and easy to access destinations as well, such as Lookout Mountain right by the city, and Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Bringing a day trip or a few hours outside the busy throng of Denver into the mix can greatly enhance the experience of their visit.
6. Plan Their Perfect Day
If your guest only has one day to be in town, make it the best day possible for a cannabis enthusiast. Stark laid that out step by step for us:
- Step 1: Breakfast first. This is mile high country and it’s going to be a long day.
- Step 2: Locate the nearest retail marijuana center near you and break out green backs for some of the finest cannabis the world has ever seen.
- Step 3: Find solitude in the mountain or amongst friends at any state (not federal) park and have lunch surrounded by America’s fourteeners.
- Step 4: Head out for a shopping or bike tour and see why they call us mile high.
- Step 5: Shower, dress, eat and head out to America’s Original Cannabis Club, StudioA64.com. Enjoy music, art and consume cannabis with your fellow patriots and vagabonds.
7. Plan the Eats for Stoned People
Your guests, especially if they don’t smoke all the time, might just get the munchies and want to eat more than usual. Be ready for this, and make sure to have plenty of awesome eating planned out. Denver is just as good for food as it is for weed, and there should be something from everyone, from the sweet tooth to the vegan health nut. If you get really stoney and want to indulge, Voodoo Donuts is open 24/7 and serves some of the most delicious and insanely decadent donuts, like their staple creation, the bacon maple.
8. Don’t Miss out on the Sites
There are certain things every visitor should see in Colorado. I can’t stress it enough – don’t let them leave without catching the view from Lookout Mountain of both the city and the fourteeners in the distance. Show them the state capitol so they can check out where Amendment 64 was signed and try to get down to the Springs to see some of the rock formations or out to Boulder for more mountain views and to indulge in the unique atmosphere there. Be sure to have the full Colorado experience while they are in town.
9. Know Their (and Your) Limits
In addition to legal trouble, nothing ruins a vacation like a bad trip. Bear in mind that your guests might not be use to recreating with marijuana and proceed with caution, especially when it comes to edibles. Start low and go slow,” McGregor cautions when it comes to eating your weed. “It takes a while for an edible to hit you, and it’s a different type of a high than most are used to, so give it a while to kick in and be careful to not get caught in the echo chamber of yummy edibles-munchies.” Conversely, don’t overdo it yourself because you are trying to impress your guests or getting too caught up in the moment. A tour guide too stoned to leave their house won’t be much fun at all.
10. Give Them a Trip to Remember!
Whatever you do, be sure to make their trip as memorable and fun as possible. The combination of getting to see loved ones or close friends, the legal cannabis and the awesome nature and attractions should be more than enough to keep them occupied. Have fun!
Cover Image Courtesy of Colorado Alternative Medicine