A couple weeks back, I was going through my usual email, checking in on what Ganjapreneur, Green Flower Media, and Women Grow had to say about cannabis, when I noticed that Jane West was going to be in Boulder on October 27 for a book signing. I had been considering traveling to Boulder and staying with a good friend of mine for a week while I attempted to network and set up face-to-face meetings, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. The book signing was less than a week away, but why wait? I had been looking for a chance to get Jane's attention for over a month, so I decided to go.
After I decided the trip was a go, I began setting up other meetings and getting in touch with cannabis businesses in the Boulder and Denver area. From Wednesday to Sunday, I worked on getting prepared for the trip, updating + printing resumes and business cards, researching companies, etc. (Apologies to anyone I inadvertently neglected during this time.) I set up a couple of interviews and contacted a handful of dispensaries about the possibility of taking photos in their shops as photography practice, something that kind of terrified me but sounded like a lot of fun. Most of these businesses let me know that it was against their policy, or never replied at all (for some reason, it's a real pet peeve of mine when someone doesn't email me back - even with a simple "no"). Amazingly, though, Denver Relief welcomed me into their shop for a full hour on Wednesday morning - but more on that later.
Day 1 - Monday
I left at 4:00 am Monday morning for Colorado. After just an hour hour, though, the 12 hour drive was overwhelming and seemed impossible, so I stopped and took a nap at my grandma's house in the Kansas City area. At 6:15 am I quietly creeped into her garage, and she greeted me in her pink nightie to make sure I would be comfortable. Gah, Grandma's are good.
I got back on the road around 9:30 am and from there, it was a breeze. I listened to Chariots of Gods on audiobook (review and discussion of highlights to come in the hopefully near future), jammed out to some of my old classics, and ate Panera asiago cheese bread and apples from the farmer's market.
I arrived in Boulder right about 6:00 pm, and from there headed to a dispensary with my host. It had been a stressful drive through Denver, after all. We went to Terrapin, a favorite of both of ours, and the bud tender there graciously recommended to me a strain called "ambulance" for my anxiety (I purchased a concentrate of this strain from the brand Happy Camper). She chatted with us and really took an interest and concern for me and my needs. I think she could tell it'd been a long day. We had a great conversation about high CBD strains (which is what ambulance was) and how the high CBD really helps with anxiety and loosening those pesky knots in your stomach, and has just enough THC to help calm the brain without getting too "high." It sounded like a dream come true, and I later discovered it was.
I also purchased Apothecanna's pain creme here, which is kind of similar to icy hot but goes deeper into the tissue and so is more effective. I have been having a lot of both upper and lower back pain, and after 12 hours in the car it was really acting up so I made the investment. Totally worth it.
After that, my host and I just hung out, caught up, made dinner, watched Broad City (a show I had never seen before!), and of course, dabbed. We went to bed early.
Day 2 - Tuesday
Tuesday, I woke up early to work on some freelance projects I had taken on the road with me. I then had a phone meeting, and shortly after, that book signing with Jane West.
The Cooking with Cannabis book signing event was phenomenal. At The Highland City Club in Boulder, this event was classy and elegant. When you arrived, you filled your plate with a healthfully and beautifully prepared meal then settled into the cozy, gorgeously adorned dining room. You had options for your beverage, including a strawberry fresca water. Waiters offered coffee, tea, and served a delicious fried apple dessert. After a while, the presentation by Robyn Griggs Lawrence over her book, "The Cannabis Kitchen Cookbook," began. She shared her story and described her thinking behind the creation of the book while showing amazing-looking images from the book itself. She then did an actual demonstration on how to make cannabis-infused coconut oil right there in the room. It was awesome. She also spoke of infusing other herbs with the cannabis and oil, such as turmeric or cinnamon, to help enhance the flavors. I found this genius! It goes without saying that I of course bought the book. If I manage to get out to Colorado and have a plant, I hope to post my own experiences with some of these recipes! And, at the end of the event, I got to meet Jane West. It was a great moment.
After the book signing, I had a meeting with a design agency on Pearl St, Funnel Design Group, to learn more about their company. They work on Native Roots, which is arguably one of the biggest dispensary chains as of now. It was fascinating to learn about how a design agency interacts with a cannabis client and how they fit into their grand scheme of all their other clients. (Funnel has many clients, but only one cannabis-related client.)
After hearing about how cool it was from colleagues and then meeting a designer himself, I had to check out a Native Roots, and man did it live up to all the hype. You were met with a check-in waiting room of light wood, which then opened up into the retail space which was also lined with light wood. It was airport-security-line fashioned, with multiple bud tenders at the front, each with their own small space of glass countertop that mouth-wateringly displayed well-designed and arranged products beneath. Behind the bud-tenders was a wall lined with their signature wall-paper, a montage of cannabis-related words in various stylish fonts. This same wallpaper is utilized on their bags.
As you waited in line, however, there were multiple screens protruding from the wall, about iPad size, where you could scroll through their current menu and click on and zoom in on pictures to explore further. It was definitely a new kind of cannabis experience. I'm not going to lie, though: it was definitely one of the most expensive dispensaries I've been into. I bought one of the cheapest things on the menu; a $35 1.5g caviar joint (bud dipped in resin, then rolled in hash...I think haha). And honestly, I only bought something so that I could get one of their bad-ass bags. Yeah, I'm a design whore. And hoarder.
Immediately following this meeting, I headed to Denver for an "Against the Current" concert with my host who loves the band; she even bought us VIP tickets to meet the band before the show! I hadn't ever heard of them before, so it was kind of funny going up to hug them and get my picture taken. Definitely the most awkward moment of the day. But the concert was a good time, and I had fun hanging out with my now Boulder-dwelling college friend.
Day 3 - Wednesday
Wednesday morning, I got up super early to head to Denver to take photos at the wonderful dispensary, Denver Relief. My gps told me it would only take 40 minutes - but I knew better. I doubled the time and added ten minutes - and I still somehow managed to walk in one minute late. Driving in Colorado is going to take some getting used to.
The photoshoot was amazing - but I'll be having an entire post on that experience in the upcoming weeks. Stay tuned!
After the photoshoot, I met with Women Grow in Denver and began as their new intern right away. I got to meet everyone in the office, including Paige Cecchi, and learn more about what's going on inside Women Grow, a company I've been following for over a year now. It was a blast. They also invited me to go to Las Vegas with them Nov 9-14 for the MJBizCon, and I can't wait! I hear it's epic.
That night, Women Grow invited me to attend a Halloween party being hosted by Boulder's The Farm dispensary in Broomfield. Of course, I couldn't - and did not want to - say no.
The theme of the costumes were strains, something I had never dreamed of seeing. A room full of people dressed as cannabis strains! It was like heaven. Of course, I panicked having very little time and not being able to find a party store near my host's house, and probably had the lamest costume at the party: 707 Headband with a sporty 70s look and magenta headband positioned prominently on my head and tag around my neck made from the previous night's VIP pass displaying a picture of a bud and the strain name on it. Fortunately, high people are very nice and welcomed me anyway.
The party was hosted at a bowling alley and open to families, so there were young children present. You got a couple drink tickets when you arrived along with a t-shirt and raffle ticket to enter into a drawing of about 20 different things. People were playing arcade games, bowling, and playing laser tag. A food truck was parked outside with fancy food for adults, and pizza was available for kids. I loved that a cannabis party was being treated just as an alcohol party would be.
By far the greatest part of the party, however, was the party bus outside. There are still many restrictions on where cannabis can be consumed in public, but one unquestionably legal place is in a parked vehicle, specifically in this case, a party bus parked on the side of the building.
The bus was only available for people 21+, and guards checked wristband sat the door of the bus before anyone got on. On the bus, pre-rolled joints, rigs, torches, and more could be found for people to use. The lighting was blue and subdued, just like you might expect on a thriving party bus, but the energy was different; there were people of all ages (21+) calmly sitting on the bus, all fluidly conversing and having a good time without people drunkenly screaming or stumbling through the small aisle. Everyone was just in a mellow, pleasant state of mind.
At the end of the party, awards were given for the best costumes. The winner was a woman who had elaborately fashioned her hair into a marijuana plant. Also worth mentioning were all the fantastically hilarious golden goats. Check out Jane West's Instagram for photos from the party!
Day 4 - Thursday
Thursday, I woke up and headed to Denver to meet with Women Grow again. There, I got to meet the other intern and get a good run down of our upcoming trip to Las Vegas Nov 9-14 for the MJBizCon - a huge cannabis conference. It was great getting to watch Jane and the other women in action. Before leaving for the day, a few of us hit the dispensary located in the same building as Women Grow. Who would have thought I'd be going with coworkers to a dispensary as opposed to a bar? That's the beauty of Colorado. (I don't care much for drinking.)
After returning to my host's house in Boulder, I did a rapid-fire photoshoot on her back porch as the sun ran away to hide behind the mountains. I'd hoped to get this post up much sooner, but you know, life happens.
Day 5 - Friday
Friday was my catch up day. I hadn't had a lot of time to spend doing Colorado things with my host, so we treated ourselves to an inappropriately huge meal at BJ's and spent time smoking, chatting, and watching Broad City while we worked on our own design projects. I managed to get all my new photos up on Massroots before packing and heading to bed, and woke up just a few hours later to start the drive home. (See image series on the sky below.)
Day 6 - Saturday
I left Colorado at 3:12 am so that I could get back in time for my niece's first trick-or-treating experience on Halloween. Of course, I was driving east directly into the sun - but it turned out to be a powerful and beautiful viewing experience. I tried to clumsily capture some of the moments on my camera (these aren't edited!) but they just don't do it justice. The number of times the sky changed was incredible. My favorite part, though, was when I was completely enrobed in fog so that the sun looked like a fiery moon through the moisture; I had never looked at the sun before. It was breathtaking. And, again, completely unjustified by these images.