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Fantasizing About States Reopening: A Look At Colorado's Cannabis Scene - And What's Hot

Fantasizing About States Reopening: A Look At Colorado's Cannabis Scene - And What's Hot

By GoldLeaf's Alfonso Colasuonno, provided exclusively to Benzinga Cannabis.

In 2012, Colorado became one of the first states to legalize recreational cannabis. Though officially authorized in 2012, the first cannabis shops in Colorado didn’t open their doors until 2014 after former Governor John Hickenlooper signed an executive order to create a task force dedicated to ironing out various policy concerns surrounding the sale and consumption of cannabis. January 2019 marked the fifth anniversary of legal cannabis sale in the state. 

As with alcohol, the minimum age to use cannabis starts at twenty-one and it’s best not to drive under the influence. DUI laws in Colorado are rather strict and local police are allowed to measure the amount of THC in your blood if they have probable cause that you’re driving under the influence. It’s also illegal to consume cannabis in public, in a parked car, or in certain hotels and restaurants. If you’re looking for cannabis-friendly accommodations, check out Airbnb and ask the host what their guest policies are before making reservations.

Colorado vs. The Others

On a global scale, very few countries, provinces, territories, and states allow for the legal consumption and sale of cannabis. Whether it’s for medicinal or recreational purposes, cannabis is still heavily stigmatized outside of Western Europe and North America.

Historically, Amsterdam became one of the first internationally-famous canna-tourism destinations due to its decades-long policy allowing for legal sale under the watchful eye and strict regulation of the local government. While purchase and consumption remain legal, growing and procuring cannabis remains a back-door operation; a problem the provincial government is hoping to tackle as they observe the policy and commercial innovations of the budding industry in North America.

As of mid-2019, thirty-three states in the U.S. have legalized medicinal cannabis and The District of Columbia and eleven states have incredibly lenient laws relating to recreational use. Colorado, as one of the pioneering states, has the most developed cannabis market in North America. Colorado smokers are particularly fond of a cultivar—or strain— known as Citrus Sap because of its “heavy resin production and stark orange flavor.” From flowers to edibles to high-end concentrates, the Denver area knows how to light up your day.

Specialties of the Centennial State

Colorado’s shops have hundreds of selections. Where does one even begin?

Well, as one of the first states to warm up to recreational use, Colorado set the stage with its own unique cannabis culture. While individual states and cities had merely tolerated and refused to enforce existing laws, Colorado made things official by removing fear from law-abiding citizens, increasing tax revenue, and setting a standard for other states to pick up on and follow. While flowers themselves are widely available, several shops and locals prefer the overall cleanliness of oils and edibles. This may have to do with the practical implications of residing at a higher altitude or it might simply boil down to local preference. Either way, be sure to delight your culinary senses with freshly prepared edibles when you get there. This will not only make you feel like a local, but edibles can bypass certain restrictions since they don’t emit any smells. If you’d like a professionally guided tour, that's also an option.

Top Three Spots

With a smorgasbord of cultivars available in almost every major city and tourist destination, a list narrowed down by region might prove helpful for the weary traveler. We’ll start with Denver, then work our way to more off-the-beaten-path locales.

  1. The Joint - 4735 W. 38th Ave, Denver, CO

With over 1,500 positive online reviews and an overall rating of 4.8 stars on Leafly, this joint won’t disappoint.

  1. Highland Health Trinidad - 1505 Santa Fe Trail, Trinidad, CO

If you’re traveling around the state and find yourself nowhere near the Denver metropolitan area, fear not. Highland Health Trinidad in Southern Colorado has your back. Friendly, knowledgeable staff and a high customer satisfaction rating make this dispensary one of our must-visit destinations in the region.

  1. LivWell Enlightened Health - 900 N College Ave, Fort Collins, CO

If you’re traveling through Northern Colorado, check out LivWell. With tons of concentrates and edibles, this shop caters to the more health-conscious folks among us.

Anything Else I Should Know?

As of 2019, Colorado’s cannabis industry is worth $1.5 billion and loosening regulations could mean good news for larger investors and savvy entrepreneurs looking to get into newly-sanctioned home delivery services. Whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, Colorado’s robust outdoor environment coupled with the locals’ laid-back nature make the state an excellent choice. 


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