pot loungeJacqueline Collins

In September 2017, a group of friends announced their intention to apply for Denver’s first social cannabis consumption license, with the goal of opening a pot-friendly gaming lounge. Although it took a little longer than expected, the group behind Denver Vape and Play finally turned in their application for a Cannabis Consumption Establishment license on Thursday, June 7.

If that application is approved, Vape and Play co-founder Taylor Rosean says the business will be located in an old auto-repair shop at 1753 South Broadway, right in the heart of the street’s “green mile” of pot shops, next to Back to the Garden dispensary. According to Rosean, his group obtained a letter of support from the Overland Park Neighborhood Association to open the shop, and he feels good about their chances of getting the city’s blessing.

Maria Levitov

Trail Blazers is a series of portraits by photographer Maria Levitov, spotlighting cannabis consumers from all walks of life.

Ade Raphael was diagnosed with cancer shortly after moving to Denver, but the transgender female didn’t let intense chemotherapy and radiotherapy sessions hamper her creativity. Using cannabis to help treat the fatigue, nausea and pain brought on by chemotherapy, Raphael has overcome long odds to survive a disease that attacks one’s ability to breathe, speak and hear.

Denver mayorBrandon Marshall

Mayor Michael Hancock wasn’t a fan of legal marijuana before Colorado voters approved it in 2012, but he’s since become a public defender of the plant — or at least, the actions taken by the City of Denver to comply with Amendment 64. On Sunday, June 10, Hancock’s office announced that he’s spearheading a coalition of mayors from around the country in an effort to push Congress to protect states with legal pot.

Although he originally opposed legalization efforts, Hancock was the mayor of the first major city to legalize marijuana, and since the first recreational sales on January 1, 2014, Denver has become into one of the nation’s capitals of legal weed, with over 200 dispensaries and 1,100 licensed pot businesses now operating in the city, according to the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses. Now, he and mayors of at least eight other cities are asking Congress to listen to them about their experiences so that legalization “can be done smoothly, safely and effectively.”

reefers.cup.marijuana.edible.largeWestword file photo

Amid questions about whether marijuana ads make kids more likely to use pot, the National Association of Cannabis Businesses has created proposed labeling and marketing guidelines. The deadline for feedback on this “National Advertising Standard,” on view below, is today, June 8. But an expert from Colorado, where sponsoring highways is among the only promotional platforms open to marijuana businesses, worries that some of the limits it puts in place are overly severe.

“There’s a very fine line to walk,” says Taylor West, senior communications director at COHNNABIS, a cannabis marketing agency. “You want to demonstrate that you are very committed to responsible practices, but you also need to be careful not to be almost punitive to the industry in an attempt to demonstrate that responsibility.”

sour tangieHerbert Fuego

Too much of a good thing can quickly become a bad thing. Nitro coffee and milk, for example: It’s a delicious concoction that will leave me strung out like Sheila from Friday after more than a few drinks. Certain sativas often act like nitro coffee in a weed jar, which is why Sour Tangie — a combination of sativa powerhouses Sour Diesel and Tangie — was one of the more intimidating strains I’ve encountered of late.

mason_jar_spring_collins20180426_051Jacqueline Collins

A bill that passed the Colorado General Assembly that would’ve allowed marijuana dispensaries to open their own tasting rooms was vetoed by Governor John Hickenlooper today, June 4. HB 1258 received plenty of attention as it made its way through the state legislature and wasn’t without its detractors, but it had enough support to pass its third House and Senate readings — 39-24 and 22-12, respectively.

“Since Colorado approved Amendment 64 in 2012, this Administration implemented a robust regulatory system to carry out the intent of this voter-initiated measure,” said Governor John Hickenlooper in the veto letter. “Amendment 64 is clear: marijuana consumption may not be conducted ‘openly’ or ‘publicly’ on ‘in a manner that endangers others.’ We find that HB 18-1258 directly conflicts with this constitutional requirement.”

noco_hemp_expo_collins20180408_023Jacqueline Collins

The industrial-hemp industry may have gotten a nod of approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration in late May, when the agency clarified that not all compounds of cannabis fall under the Controlled Substances Act. Referencing a 2004 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that excluded non-psychoactive cannabinoids from the federal government’s definition of marijuana, the announcement came after the DEA says it had received numerous inquiries on the matter.

green.dragon.breckenridgeFacebook

Plenty of underage tourists who come to Colorado seem to think a bogus identification card will work just as well at a pot shop as it will at a bar. But according to Haley Littleton, spokesperson for the Town of Breckenridge, which has catalogued at least 428 fake ID cases since February 2015 with no end in sight, they’re wrong.

“Our main theory is that people come into town and think, ‘This is great. I can take advantage of this,'” Littleton says. “But it’s not like at a bar, where you can go in, try to order and then give them an ID, and if they just glance at it quickly, you might get a drink or you might not. Marijuana dispensaries are really stringent on fake IDs — and so are we.”

Kenzie Bruce

Members of Congress joined legal cannabis-industry representatives in front of the United States Capitol today, May 23, calling for an end to federal pot prohibition. Among the lawmakers appearing in solidarity with the National Cannabis Industry Association were Colorado representatives Diana DeGette and Jared Polis.

“There are 34,000 Coloradans who are licensed to work in this industry, so you can imagine how dismayed everyone in Colorado was when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he was going to rescind the Cole Memo,” DeGette told the gathering. “I can say, I have never seen our delegation work so quickly to fix something in a bipartisan way.”

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