If you’re planning a trip to Colorado to check out the bud scene and shop at Denver pot shops, or perhaps even thinking about moving to Denver, you’re probably pretty familiar with the actual act of smoking cannabis. Perhaps you’ve even baked a batch of infused brownies a few times and passed them around at parties.
These days, Denver pot shops and their goodies are the stuff of legend throughout the United States and beyond. But as is the case with most urban legends, there are a number of not-so-true myths circling about as well.
How much of what you’ve heard about Denver pot shops and the scene surrounding them is true? To investigate, we’ve stopped at recreational dispensaries and chatted with budtenders. We’ve talked to thousands of weed tour guests. Now we’re ready to set the record straight and address the rumors we hear most frequently.
Myth: Some Denver pot shops allow you to smoke weed and sample.
Truth: Not quite. Tasting rooms may be coming soon, hopefully. For now, though, despite what you may have heard, this is one of the biggest myths about Denver pot shops. Public consumption is against the law. Unless there are loopholes, such as the venue being rented for a private event, for example. A few years back, I took part in a concert at a local music venue in which the place had been rented out by a private company for the evening. The guest list was entirely curated and no public general admission was permitted.
The place looked like a scene from the Rainbow Festival. But generally, there is no public consumption of marijuana allowed.
This may be changing, however. The city of Denver recently awarded the first social marijuana license to an establishment called The Coffee Joint. More are expected to follow in the near future – stay tuned!
Myth: You can buy weed anywhere in Colorado – Denver pot shops, online, and delivery.
Truth: Only licensed Denver pot shops, known as dispensaries, are allowed to sling cannabis. There’s no buying it at 711 and nobody handing out joints outside the terminal at Denver International Airport. But dispensaries are in good supply.
There are about twice as many pot dispensaries in Denver as there are Starbucks. Yep, it’s cannabis over coffee here in Colorado.
The first thing to know for your weed trip is where to find the nearest dispensary. Dispensaries in Colorado are usually marked by a green cross, and some are only for medical marijuana sales. If you’re from out of state or don’t have a medical card, find one with both a recreational and a medical side.
Myth: All Denver pot shops are more or less the same.
Truth: Dispensaries vary drastically in size, quality, and style. You’ll find the whole spectrum in Denver. That said, we can make some generalizations. All will offer both Sativa and Indica strains, often multiple varieties of each as well as hybrids. Certain stores specialize in certain products such as edibles or tinctures.
If you’ve got a friend in Colorado, ask them for advice, because some are better than others. I highly encourage first-timers to take it slow, especially if it’s your first time dabbing – you’re going to be high like it’s week one in college. Here’s what you need to get started:
The sheer quantity of Denver pot shops is perhaps the biggest source of pride among the state’s Cannabis community. Colorado was the first state to legalize recreational use of marijuana. We edged out Washington state, which passed it in the same 2012 vote but was six months later in enacting. Our market is the most mature, so we have all the variety that comes along with it.
Myth: Legalization hasn’t done much good for the state of Colorado.
Truth: Here’s a tidbit worth lighting a joint to: Cannabis legalization has been an incredible boost to the economy. One of the most common myths I hear about Denver pot shops and the industry, in general, is that legalization isn’t doing much for public good. This couldn’t be more inaccurate. First off, the industry has created thousands of weed jobs.
Additionally, in an article about Colorado’s marijuana tax revenue, CNN reported that the state has ‘harvested half a billion dollars in taxes and fees since it legalized recreational weed’. Not bad, eh?
Here’s the best part: Cannabis is taxed and the money is boosting the economy in good ways. On a $30 1/8 ounce bag of weed, there are over $6 in taxes added to the total cost, with money going to public schools and infrastructure projects throughout the state.
As for Denver being the weed Mecca, I can’t think of a place that deserves the title more, as there were people from across the nation lined up in the streets eagerly awaiting the opening of shops the day recreational sales began on January 1, 2014. The 37 shops that reported income from the first week recreational dispensary sales were allowed boasted over $5 million in sales. Clearly, this wasn’t just some fad set to fade out quickly. Since then, the state has brought in over $600 million in taxes and fees, and that’s just through 2017.
Myth: Out-of-Staters need special ID to buy cannabis at Denver pot shops.
Truth: Around town, I’m hit up almost on a daily basis about Denver pot shops and how they work. When I travel, the same questions persist. The truth is that much of what people are told are myths – and like legend has it about Guinness and its proximity to Dublin, the further you get from Denver, the worse these myths get.
Case in point: you can’t just walk into a store and buy weed without the proper identification.
- A government issued ID stating that you’re over the age of 21. NOTE: the MED doesn’t recognize vertical IDs. If you’re from a state that issues the vertical format, bring a passport as well. Passports trump all other forms of ID.
- Cash. Dispensaries are cash-only due to exclusion from federal-level banking services. Most will have an ATM on site (be sure to get your cash before you get in the checkout line!) and some even have registers that act as ATMs, so it’s *almost* like paying with a debit card.
- Your medical cannabis card (for those planning to shop at medical marijuana dispensaries)
Check out the Colorado government’s page for residents and visitors to make sure you’re following all the rules!
The last hit
Now that we’ve dispelled certain myths surrounding Denver pot shops, let’s cut to the good stuff. Get out here and see what you’ve been missing! My420 Tours is here to help you find what you’re looking for. I highly encourage you to read up on strains and effects so that you know what to buy for your trip. Plus, you’ll learn some cannabis-themed conversation starters and weed etiquette to use when chatting up the locals.