A Guide for Pot Plant Transplants Like Me
by Garrett Grams
I moved to Denver for the marijuana. There, I admitted it. Can we move on now? But seriously, I did, and even though it was to work on a hemp farm, it still counts. I feel no shame in admitting this and neither should my fellow THC transplants. I know you’re out there.
But this isn’t an SA meeting (Stoners Anonymous), and I’m here to tell you that moving to Denver is a good deal for more reasons than legal bud. It has legal bud AND a doomed infrastructure that was not ready for the influx of out-of-towners.
Denver is a great city and that is part of the reason some of the newbies like myself get an occasion sneer when I tell people how long I’ve been here. You may get the same, even from non-natives. Do not fret young Denverite. Consider this a defense mechanism to weed out the weak-willed and ill-tempered. Denver is a special place and is worth protecting. You may find yourself doing the same when you finally decide on moving to Denver.
Moving To Denver Tip #1: Patience Young Lease Signer.
I wished I had patience when moving to Denver. I jumped on the first place I could find and ended up paying far too much for far too little. I’m still in a cool area, but after talking to some neighbors, I definitely could have saved a couple bones for what I got. Take my mistake as your lesson. Have patience and find the right location in your specific budget.
Here are the popular neighborhoods in order from closest to the city center to closer to suburbia: (I don’t know the burbs well, so this will be more of a city guide).
- Lower Downtown (LoDo)
- River North (RiNo)
- Lower Highlands (LoHi)
- Capitol Hill (Cap Hill)
- South Broadway/Baker (Don’t call it SoBro)
- Washington Park (Wash Park)
- Old South Pearl Street
Go live there! With the advent of AirBnb, HomeAway, and VRBO, you can actually live in the spot you’re curious about, often at a fraction of the price you’d spend on a hotel in Denver.
You’ll know within a day or two if you vibe with the area or not. If you have a car, can you park?! I can’t stress that one enough. If you don’t have a car, how do you plan on getting groceries to your place? Do you plan on using a bicycle in the city? Do you see bike paths? What about the green stuff? Is there a cool dispensary nearby? Or if you’re more of a boozer, a cool neighborhood hang-out?
I don’t know your life. But the one way to know if you’ll like an area is to go try it out. I personally recommend Cap Hill to start out because it’s where everyone starts out. It’s like the Ellis Island of Denver transplants. It’s close to everything and cheaper than most areas because it’s old as dirt, but it’s a solid starting point for the honeymoon phase of your exploration.
Moving to Denver Tip #2: Do It All, Colorado-Style
Denver has it all. Besides a beach, that is — but then the prices would be so high that no one could live here. But look at those mountains! I still haven’t gotten over turning a corner and seeing those snow-capped beauties every day. A view like that could be another criterion to look for in your hunt for a place to stay. They are so close to the city that it is impossible to not have something to do. And if you find yourself bored when moving to Denver, guess what, it’s not Denver that’s boring…
Those mountains hold world-class ski resorts, ranging from the close and accessible Keystone to the further and more exclusive Vail and Beaver Creek. Try to go on a weekday unless you want to brave three hours of traffic both ways. If you come during the summer months the mountains continue to deliver. White-water rafting, hiking, trails runs, getting deep into nature while an edible seeps in. Those mountains will blow your mind.
The accessibility to mountains isn’t the only thing Denver has to offer. If you’re into sports, there’s a professional team for every sport (Broncos, Rockies, Avalanche, Nuggets, Rapids), which means every weekend holds a game to cheer on. If that doesn’t get the juices flowing, then perhaps a little music will. With venues like Red Rocks (seasonal), the Fillmore, the Ogden, BlackBox, High-Dive, and Ophelia’s, there’s an option for every taste. For those into the Grateful Dead/Phish/jam band scene, try Sanchez’s Broken Arrow and Psychedelic Ripple.
What I’m trying to show is that Denver is as eclectic as the transients it attracts. There’s something for the adventurer, sports fanatic, disco rager, chilled out hipster, or anyone really—unless you are a beach bum who can’t breathe at high altitudes.
Moving to Denver Tip #3: Get Out of the House
I’ve proposed a theory that the reason people are so friendly here has something to do with the legal weed. Like somehow the second-hand smoke has formed a thick invisible cloud that people can’t help but inhale. Others claim it’s the old mid-western values that are as contagious as talking about Denver’s crazy weather. Still more have said it’s because the city is filled with more outsiders than natives, and because of that, people are more open to new people and new ideas. Whatever it is, moving to Denver feels like walking into a big warm hug.
It won’t take much to meet new people and make new friends. Often it is a simple as doing what you already love to do. Like to gym? There’s every form of exercise in the city. MMA, gymnastics, pilates, hot yoga, high yoga and so on. Join something that is group exercise so you can all sweat together.
Here are a few groups to join, with something for all kinds of people moving to Denver
- If you’re an MMA fanatic, you might find a home a Bang Martial Arts (Home of UFC Champion TJ Dillashaw) or Train. Fight. Win.
- There is a recent movement towards gymnastic training. Awaken on Sante Fe is the face of Gymnastic Bodies and will get you limber and lean better than anywhere else.
- Like it hot? The Tula Hot Yoga Denver studio will deliver the heat and rid you of those weekend toxins.
- Like it smoky? Here in Denver you can get the best of both worlds. The stretch high and the THC high combined at a cannabis yoga class
- Have a craft? Sites like Meetup, Facebook groups, or taking classes that bring together like creative minds will locate those who share your passion.
- For writers, Lighthouse Writers Workshop offers a diverse array of classes and writing groups. You’ll find like-minded people with a passion for the written word. A great place to start a writing group of your own.
- Do you dabble in doodling? And like to get high while you do it? Denver combines almost everything with weed, so why not painting? Try a lit painting class for a next-level painting experience.
- I read recently that expectations are like pottery. If you grab onto them too hard, they crack. But not if you’re high while you create the pottery. Puff, Pass, and Paint offers a pottery class as well as a painting class along with a little of the green stuff on the side to open those creative outlets.
- If you’re a cook that has been searching for that missing ingredient your whole life, look no further. Denver has a Cannabis Cooking Class that will show you the way.
- Get behind the scenes with a Growhouse and Dispensary Tour. You’ll get to see the magical plant from seedling to bud and beyond.
- Want a quick dab while you’re out on the town? Download the Loopr app to reserve a spot on their mobile rig. It’s a giant bus, you can’t miss it.
- If you have a crush, do something about it. Take that 420 dating app belle or beaux on a date night Denver-style and see the romantic side of the Mile High City.
- Drinker? Denver has an exploding brewery scene. Most of them reside in the RiNo (River North) area, but there are plenty others spread out through the city. Chances are there’s a cool place right in the neighborhood you’re testing out. Go drink, be chatty, ask questions, make drinking friends. A great resource to get started is the Denver Beer Map.
That’s what it really comes down to. Go do what you already like doing and chances are you’ll find others there who share your interests. If you like staying home and staring at a TV screen, then you could always make imaginary friends who know just when to shut-up during your stories.
Moving to Denver Tip #4: Get Lost In The Weed
Yes, it’s all legal here. It’s not quite Amsterdam style, with mushroom truffle shops and open smoking cafes (though that may change in the future: There are, however, a thousand new ways to smoke and experience cannabis.
There is a dispensary on every block. All you have to find is that glowing green plus sign and you’ve arrived. As a transient stoner, you probably don’t have a medical card, so make sure you find a dispensary that serves both recreational and medical mary-j. You may be able to get a medical card after you’re a resident, which will bring the prices down dramatically. Some dispensaries will even sponsor you for a medical card in return for your loyal patronage. A dispensary tour can get you started and give you an in-depth look at how the magical plant is grown.
When you walk into that dispensary for the first time, prepare to be a bit overwhelmed. There are so many new ways to get high that you won’t know what to do first. There’s the obvious herb choice, but even then there are many different strains that produce different effects. Ask the budtender for a recommendation as there is a strain for everything. Feeling a weird pain in your shoulder? There’s a strain for that. Anxious? There’s a strain for that. What to sleep better? There’s a strain for that.
Beyond the bud, there is a heap of concentrates, waxes, oils, infusions, edibles, and distillates that will take you to higher levels. Again, your budtender will help guide you to the correct strains and advice on where to begin. A note of caution for those getting in the edible scene. You may be able to rip a whole bowl in one bong hit, but the cannaboid receptors you hit with smoke are different from the cannaboid receptors you hit with an edible. It can be like smoking for your first time all over again. The best piece of advice I’ve heard is to start low and go slow. They take longer to set in and can really fuck you up with an unexpectedly strong and long high if you take too much.
Dabbing—not the pretend sneeze into your inner elbow (please stop doing this)—is a new way of life for a lot of stoners. This is where the concentrates come in. You may hear it called wax, oil, shatter, rosin, budder, and cheese. Each of these are produced in a different way, but all can be smoked with a dab rig. If this your first time dabbing, be aware that these concentrates are just that. Where the highest THC strain in flower is 37%, these concentrates can be anywhere from 40%-80%, and even higher in some cases. Dabbing even has its own time to smoke just like 4:20. At 7:10 (OIL upside down) is when all the dab rigs light up around the city.
There’s plenty to consider when moving to Denver. Will you fit in? Will you be able to handle a dab? Will you get honked at for driving like a twat in snow? Yes to all of the above. Plus, you will love it here. Regardless if it’s a new start, new job, or you just want to smoke a little ganja, there’s a place for each and every one of us.