michael-2371Maria Levitov

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

One young man struggling with alcoholism and a variety of mental pains believes that the plant is key to overcoming his demons and health issues, yet his family hasn’t been as embracing. As Michael Cavin continues to coax loved ones into accepting the cannabis use he feels is essential to a good quality of life, he’s also realizing how much more of his story is left to be written.

budtenderCourtesy of Scott Yoss

Legal cannabis has produced dozens of unique jobs, yet the face of the industry has always been the budtender. For those consumers who already know what they want, the budtender may simply be a middleman — but for the inexperienced, budtenders are modern sherpas, here to guide us through a new world of strains, vaporizers and other cutting-edge ways to enjoy cannabis.

Not every budtender is so willing to educate customers, but don’t tell that to Scott Yoss. A nine-year veteran of Colorado’s cannabis industry, Yoss uses his vast cultivation and dispensary experience to consult with customers at the Clinic on Colfax. Casual but bluntly honest (his advice on Durban Poison and certain OG cuts has changed my own consumption habits), Yoss chatted with Westword about his favorite strains, annoying customer questions and more.

weed-jar-mountains-collinsJacqueline Collins

Although Colorado’s legal cannabis industry has maintained a steady of pace of increasing revenues over the years, a new market report from one of pot’s leading economic-research teams says it could be time to prepare for a plateau.

In BDS Analytics and Arcview’s sixth annual State of Legal Marijuana Markets report, the two cannabis firms dive into each state with medical or recreational cannabis programs. Arcview, known for its investment and market research, notes that it’s never had so many states to cover in its report — and all that new competition will likely draw tourist buyers into new regions as they come online, including Nevada, California, Massachusetts, Canada and possibly Maine.

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In May, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration issued a damning preliminary report about the late-2017 death of forty-year-old Loveland Ski Area employee Adam Lee, who suffered crushing chest injuries while working on the Magic Carpet, a motorized beltway used to teach kids how to ski.

The document essentially characterizes Adam as an innocent victim. But his widow, Erika Lee, says Pinnacol, the company that administers workers’ compensation payments in Colorado, is trying to withhold half of the money she should be receiving to support her three kids because Adam’s autopsy revealed high levels of THC in his blood.

delta 8 thciStock/Nisangha

Watching the fast rise of cannabidiol (CBD) and the ensuing interest in other cannabinoids, such as cannabinol (CBN) and cannabigerol (CBG), has been fascinating, but are we overlooking the value and diversity of what drew us to cannabis in the first place?

Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the most abundant cannabinoid found in the plant; it’s notorious for the high it gives upon consumption. However, THC has also exhibited that it can play a vital role in helping with nausea, pain, sleeping disorders and other ailments. Cannabis extractors have even discovered varying forms of THC, with minor disparities in where chemical bonds occur.

claudia-1246Maria Levitov

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

Denver has seen no shortage of transplants, but not all of them feel at home right away. Freelance artist Claudia Campero moved here from Juárez, Mexico, and is still finding her groove in the Mile High as she searches for connections to her culture and heritage. To help her feel comfortable while exploring, Campero uses cannabis.

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CBD products are touted for their healing properties. But even they would have a hard time mending the rift that’s torn apart a Colorado CBD company, which has dissolved amid dueling lawsuits, with one alleging a scheme to funnel more than $1 million to an animal sanctuary in Costa Rica and the other focusing on $300,000 in missing meds and a series of accused co-conspirators, one of whom is named Natalia Swindler.

At the center of this drama is John Merritt, the man behind Full Spectrum Nutrition Inc., a Colorado Springs operation that’s currently in limbo.

grapefruit strainHerbert Fuego

Tokes in the morning don’t work for everyone, but there’s nothing like a good wake-and-bake session for those of us who really enjoy it. If you can sidestep the risks of getting too high or an uncomfortable mixture of THC and coffee, starting the morning off with an adults-only bowl can make breakfast and Sunday chores that much better. Try scrubbing the bathroom floor after a bowl of Sour Diesel and you’ll know what I’m talking about.

I recently decided to begin one weekend morning with Grapefruit, a sativa named after those big false-oranges that old people eat with a spoon. Most childish tastebuds aren’t mature enough to appreciate the tart, bitter and acidic flavors of grapefruits. My tastebuds were no exception: Grapefruits and grapefruit juice were much too potent for me until I started drinking tequila and appreciating the fruit’s bitterness. Although similarly stiff on the senses, the Grapefruit strain is much easier for the uninitiated to appreciate.

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