THIS MONTH IN THE GANJA GAZETTE

As the Gazette continues to grow and blossom, exciting things are happening here at Dank Media! We are excited to announce that we are rolling out several new mainstays and recurring articles, starting this month. From local pub and coffee house reviews, to the office favorite Ask a Stoner, The Ganja Gazette continues to evolve to bring you everything marijuana, counter culture, and local scene. Have an idea or a story for the Gazette? Email Tim

  • Specials and Coupons — September 2015
    Specials and Coupons — September 2015
    You know, cause you're awesome
Specials and Coupons — September 2015
You know, cause you're awesome

Tooltip TextEvery month, you will have access to awesome deals and coupons through The Ganja Gazette! Make sure you check back regularly for the sweetest deals out there.

September-2015-page-2-for-web September-2015-Page-4-for-web September-2015-page-11-for-web September-2015-page-13-for-web September-2015-Page-24-for-web

  • Two Roads Diverged
    Two Roads Diverged
    Cover Story
Two Roads Diverged
Cover Story

There are likely two trails that the business side of cannabis can follow. Two paths the industry will take moving forward. Like many things in life, these paths are fairly complicated and diverging. There are also countless ways they could diverge. Where these are the likely two paths, things may change.

The Medical Path

The first option is one I would hope for having spent time talking with many people smarter than I am about the potential effects of medical marijuana. Where I am no expert grower, I did have the pleasure of sitting down with Tucker, the head grower at Nature’s Herbs and Wellness. Tucker is a master in what he does, and a part of this mastery involves working with their medical patients. His work transcends the basic ideas of getting high and reaches into the area curing people. These are the true basics of medical; curing people from ailments where relief doesn’t exist or offers a whole slew of side-effects.

The ability to help people is why I love the medical path. There is research already existing, although very little, that cannabis does aid in the prevention of cancer. There are countless examples of medicinal reefer being used to cure ailments such as seizures and neurological issues. The limits to medical testing are many, however, as the U.S. government has made it illegal for anyone to test the plant without approval for studies from an almost draconian board. Simply put, it has been impossible to study pot.

We are missing out. The uses for marijuana as a medicine are lacking. And this could all change.

Path one involves the U.S. Government rescheduling the substance to a lower tier. From there, they would continue to loosen restrictions on research, allowing more parties to get involved. This path would likely follow the continued legalization and decriminalization of both medical and recreation use across diverse states. The end goal is the government regulates weed a little more heavily, but it becomes a lot less taboo.

At this point, the benefit is pharmaceutical involvement. You see, when weed becomes less taboo and more open to the public, a positive outcome is that the drug companies start testing it. Across the country, pharmaceutical companies and research labs are already exploring almost every other type of drug. Scientists are allowed to grow certain limits of different plants or cultivate substances like opiates for their products. Designer drugs frequently appear from the testing of these big companies. It is not as crazy as a group of mad scientist working in the labs to create the next super drug; it is much more controlled. Medical companies and research hospitals are regularly messing around in hopes of finding something new.

If they were able to mess around with marijuana the results would be no different. And here is why, where this would begin with medical side, it would only benefit the recreational user. As the corporations begin testing new ways of using marijuana, they are going to find ways to strengthen strains and potentially new ways to get high. The benefit of big pharma involvement could potentially increase the quality of the plant. We will lose some of the local aspects, or the local aspects will change. Overall, marijuana will evolve.

Medical companies getting involved means that casual users get more benefits and less hassle. The outcomes are great, and the stigma shifts. If medical research gets involved, the outcome is legitimacy. Overall, the industry grows as a whole.

The Recreational Path

The other main option, and the more likely one, is that recreation will take over. On this road, the plant will remain a product of the industry of vice. In these situations, the path we will follow is likely this: Only a few states legalize recreational marijuana, but the federal government continues to push back on any form of recreational legalization or refuses to address the need for rescheduling. Nothing major changes on the federal level with the ability to research marijuana for medical use. The big pharmaceutical companies, unable to research the plant, never touch it. Instead, cannabis is picked up by the people involved in the vice industries. In turn, the recreational side of marijuana explodes. We are looking at a $3 billion industry right now but this is a rough estimate. It be silly to think big companies don’t want a piece of this pie.

It is only a matter of time before corporations decide to step into the industry to take their stake of the claim. They might be a little afraid to do it now, I cannot see Philip Morris claiming a stake in the marijuana field immediately, but once the industry spreads across twenty to thirty states? Once the industry continues to spread, big corporations can no longer ignore it. And who better to sweep in than the tobacco industries and even alcohol. Right now we have chain dispensaries that have six or seven physical locations across one state. Imagine what happens when the existing giants of vice get involved in the market.

Where the results are going to seem similar to what would happen with medical, the differences would be profound. First, quality is going to go either up but it could potentially go down. Bigger vice sellers who mass produce their products can cut quality in exchange for gouging prices. Think the Walmart or Bud Light of marijuana. It will be similar to what big breweries are already doing with beer. Anheuser-Busch will buy out smaller breweries like Shock Top and reap the profit off their brands. Big vice industries will buy strains or copy them to reap the benefits. The end results will be some smaller dispensaries will go out of business.

To adapt, our current operations will have to change. One huge thing I harp on will always be customer service in the industry. Currently, it sucks. Many shops are not businesses; they are dealers with physical locations. The problem is the experience isn’t customer friendly for the casual users.

Big business will change this. Stores will look nicer. The buying process will be more standardized. The people serving you will be all about customer service. It will be more friendly to the average consumer, the cannabis tourist, the people who haven’t got stoned for years. In turn, local dispensaries will suffer or adapt.

The example I offer is this. Currently, many dispensaries are operating like a hole in the wall restaurants. The niche appeal is there but with cash only operations, shady lighting and terrible customer service, the appeal is minimal. We use them because we have to. If big recreational businesses take over, the market becomes McDonald’s versus a hole in the wall. Many will still use the hole in the wall restaurants because they have loyalty, and the product is better, but the average consumer does not know this information. They will choose the chain.

How do we answer this? Well we move towards a more In-n-Out style. In-n-Out is the bridge. They are a chain with high-quality products and services. They mass produce burgers but do so with quality ingredients and stellar customer service. Customer service is where dispensaries need to go. Strong businesses are what they need to become. When big recreational takes over, our local places survive by offering a better flower and a better smile. The end results is an enduring brand the average consumer values.

A Combination of Both/

The likely outcome, in time, is a combination of both. Recreational will rule first and medical second. Fair estimates in store, it is more likely that the recreational take over will happen in the next few years. More states will legalize in 2016, but the federal government will do nothing. In 2018, the federal government may reschedule but still likely no cigar. More states will legalize rec and from here, corporations will get involved. State legalization will begin the recreational takeover. Once the government moves forward, then the rest will happen, the medical companies will begin research.

Overall, marijuana will keep growing. The benefits are many, and the cons are there as well. It will be interesting to watch what happens in the next few years.

  • Looking Towards the Future
    Looking Towards the Future
    Letter From the Editor
Looking Towards the Future
Letter From the Editor

Working in the world of marketing, and having spent quite a bit of time studying the subject, it is always hilarious for me to watch the advertisements of days past. Many of my favorite ads occurred at the advent of technologies where cinema combined with the emergence of audio. Televisions and movies took years to be fully adopted by the public. From their beginning, advertisers recognized these instruments monumental potential for reaching audiences. To this day, these mediums have continued to influence advertising whether from annoying product placement to direct TV and online advertisements.

When looking back at the world of advertisements, my favorites always stem from the ones of the 1950’s and 60’s. I am talking the slow turning of the reel as it starts. The voice over of the chipper sounding fellow overlaid on top of video clips. Countless time, these ads start off by talking about “The product of the future.” Many times they were showcasing pieces of technology we now take for granted but yes, there was a time in life when no one had microwaves. The future was exciting.

The future still is exciting, and especially in the industry of cannabis. As the industry around the plant continues to evolve, so will its users, how cannabis grows, how it is consumed and everything in between. What is interesting is where the culture around pot has existed for quite some time in America – extending past the stoner counter culture embodied by hippies- across the history of pot one of the biggest hallmarks of the substance has been a lack of information.

It is surprising, you can talk to people who have been smoking for years, decades even. Where they can roll you a great joint or pack a nice bowl, they sometimes have no clue the difference between terms like indicia or sativa. The cannabis industry is new in that finally it is a business industry where before it was a rudimentary thing. Yes, there were advances and yes, many of the parties involved knew their stuff. Prior to widespread legalization, and with the U.S. ban still existing about researching marijuana, we had little information. People knew about pot, but it wasn’t always a lot.

Over the last year, and the past few years before it, marijuana has constantly evolved. It has reached a turning point of growth and bloom. We understand more now than ever before. And this information isn’t just in the hands of the few. It is entering into the hands of the many. But with this spread of information comes change.

How the American public views cannabis is changing. How we use it is changing. How we grow it is changing. How we purchase it is especially changing. Finally as a free market good, we are free to experiment with the plant more so than ever before. Think of cannabis like electricity. In the past, few understood it, and when it was first discovered it was limited to the technological inventors who channeled it. At first, the average person was skeptical and afraid of new things like light bulbs. Over time, people became accustomed to electricity and over time, as more people experimented with it, they accomplished great things.

The same is true of pot. Where ganja has existed for years, it was illegal, meaning where we toked in creative and inventive ways, we couldn’t patent it. We couldn’t establish a true free market around it. The lack of freedom limited the ideas around pot. A little over a year ago, that changed economically within a few states. The lay user was able to buy and mess around. More serious business people started getting involved. The end results are now we are finally hitting critical mass.

Regulations are still behind on the innovative concepts many in our industry are trying to adopt. We are going to suffer growing pains. But we are growing. And the future is bright like a spliff lit in the night. All the great things coming are ahead of us.

Over the past month, I’ve spent time talking with some of the innovative people in the cannabis industry. We’ve explored new ideas and concepts. We’ve looked at how cannabis is evolving. We explored the opportunities opening up compared to what is stopping them. Let me tell you, there are countless things going on. The business side is booming and where some businesses jumped in with reefer madness, for the most part, the ones that still exist are the ones who deserve to exist. The good news is we are catching up to other industries. The bad news is we need to catch up much further.

The future of cannabis is coming. The only question is what direction it will take.

Best,
Tim

Have a story you want to share? Feel free to reach me at tim@dankmediagroup.com

  • Crema Coffee House
    Crema Coffee House
    The Bean
Crema Coffee House
The Bean

It’s probably one of my favorite coffee shops in town, and that is saying something. From the moment I stepped foot in Denver a little over a year ago, I found myself drawn to the place because of the location and the aesthetic. It was one of the first coffee shops that popped up when I searched and so far, of all the places I have visited, it has been the most memorable. I am talking about Crema Coffee Shop, located at 29th and Larimer.

A little black box of a structure noted with the golden embossed graffiti on the outside this place is the perfect spot for a casual cup of coffee or to grab some morning breakfast.

My favorite item at Crema is the breakfast burrito. I will get it every time until they run out because, believe me, they do run out of these quite frequently. Whether you go with or without meat, this warm, homemade combination is everything you could want. It pairs perfectly with their salsa and is the best way to start any morning, whether you have the munchies or just want something good to eat.

The food is one thing. From pastries to breakfast burritos to sandwiches, you can’t go wrong no matter the time of day. But what would a coffee shop be without the actual coffee? And when it comes to coffee, let’s just say that Crema has their main job done to perfection.

My recommendation next time you are looking for some breakfast and a java brew to satisfy your hunger and tickle those THC-infused taste buds. Take a visit up to Crema, get a breakfast burrito and enjoy the vibes.

No matter what you order on their menu of java-based drinks, you find yourself with something expertly brewed and perfectly made. The cups of coffee and espresso rotate from origin and bean depending on what they have in stock, making it worthwhile to visit now and then to see the new flavors in the store. Personally, I also go with one of the different espressos they are serving, getting it as a straight shot or adding a little frothy flavor. No matter what, the espresso is well worth the price.

Like many coffee shops here in Denver, the place serves your caffeinated drink needs well. What stands out to me however more than anything else is the atmosphere of this shop. Located on the northern side of the RINO district, it is within walking distance of plenty of breweries and restaurants and even pretty close to The Big Wonderful or Denver Flea. Even better, it is a quick bike ride from downtown, making it convenient to a number of locations. The shop, from its minimalistic outside, dashed with a hint of gold color up to its interior decorations fit a theme.

The place is great for dates, a casual lunch or even a business meeting. Personally, I love venturing that way when a little high on one of my more favorite creative inducing weeds and spending a few hours writing, lost in the overall ambiance of the place. For me, Crema is a Denver staple in the coffee scene. For some, it might be a little out of walking distance, but it is always well worth the trip.

Crema Coffee House
2862 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
(720) 284-9648
cremacoffeehouse.net

  • Colorado Cannabis Co
    Colorado Cannabis Co
    Product Review
Colorado Cannabis Co
Product Review

Before I dive into the review, I’d like to note that the J.L.L. CO2 oil is made from the extracts of Nature’s Herbs and Wellness Juanita LaLagrimosa strain, which tends to boast CBD to THC ratios in the neighborhood of 25:1. J.L.L. blows other CBD strains out of the water when it boils down to the CBD to THC content – the competition is offering ratios in the neighborhood of 5:2, 8:1, etc.

As I stated in my June review of the Nature’s Kitchen Salve, I’m most certainly a CannaNoob and largely unfamiliar with the world of drugs outside of Breaking Bad and Intervention reruns. With that in mind, imagine my horror when I sat down to sample and review the J.L.L. CO2 Oil via the DNA X-Tract Node dab rig. The process of laying out a dab in the glass tray and heating a nail to breathe in brought forth visions and uncertainties of meth and heroin addicts prepping their dope for consumption. I also heard my mother’s voice in the back of my head telling me to reconsider writing this review, as I’m probably doing something I shouldn’t. Nevertheless, I push these distractions from my thoughts as the nail turns a bright red. I touch it to the dab squeezed out into the tray (NOTE: Dab size is important here. Being a noob, I elected for one of the smaller variety i.e. the size of a Dippin’ Dot….mmmmm….Dippin’ Dots) and I inhale.

Immediately, a pungent, earthy flavor envelops my tongue. The vapor is surprisingly smooth – I was fully expecting to choke to death on the inhale. On the exhale, a sweet tea odor fills the room. The high hits a few seconds later, I feel a lightness in my head, directly behind my eyes. Tension subsides and my muscles begin to relax. In the initial stages of the high, I noticed a faint headache, but this started to depart after about 15 minutes. I think my brain was trying to process the potency of the concentrate and what it was doing to my body.

One absolutely astounding effect to note about the J.L.L. dab is that I’m absolutely clear-headed. I’m actually writing this review in record time, and processing thoughts and ideas for next month’s issue. This, combined with relaxing and calming properties of CBD, make this a very functional and productive “high” – if that’s what you would call it, since there are minimal psychoactive effects. I definitely recommend the addition of some tunage in your earbuds, as the beats are reverberating in my soul at the moment.

The only effect I was unprepared for: shortly after consumption I was MAULED by a case of the munchies. This is definitely not a bad thing, it just caught me way off guard. Fortunately for me, I had stashed away a frozen pizza here in the Dank Media fridge, and I was only 5 minutes away from some yummy, cheesy goodness and relief.

Folks, moving past the initial shock of the “dabbing method”, this “high” is pretty incredible. I don’t feel stoned, just a relaxing lightness and focus. I’m able to function, think and write. While I was trepidatious at first, I’ve quickly become a big fan of dabbing and CBD-heavy strains and concentrates. I see a few more red nails in my very near future.

Catch ya on the flipside.

The CannaNoob

  • Donnie Trumpet  – Surf
    Donnie Trumpet – Surf
    Music Review
Donnie Trumpet – Surf
Music Review

Primal Necessity

Have you ever sat down to listen to an album and just thought to yourself, “God, I want to get high right now.” The album Surf by Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiments is that album. Following the trend from a few months ago, this is not necessarily a brand new album but instead, one that you might have missed. This album features the compilations of a group who considers themselves Bohemians and across the spread, it never happens to miss a beat.

The first time I heard the album was at a conference in Arizona. I was traveling for work, and although the conference was in the early months of the summer, it was hotter than anyone would have liked. I sought out refuge inside and was browsing over some music. I saw that Chance the Rapper, a favorite by far, had contributed heavily to this album of self-produced artists called The Social Experiment, and I was curious. From the moment I pressed play, I was transfixed.

Most albums lose my attention after a song or two. Many times, I stop listening because I’ve lost interest by track three, or track four slips in a way that doesn’t engage my ear. However, this time, I was plugged in the entire way through. Sitting in the middle of a conference in the blistering Arizona heat, I had one thought to myself: “Man, I want to get high and listen to this album”.

___

When I smoke, a primal necessity within requires audiophonic vibes. I was never good enough to be a musician but love the way music can complement any mood, enhancing even the most basic of times. Weed and music go perfectly for me. Many a night, I love to get high, turn on my sound system, and cook a nice meal, enjoying the simplicity of the moment mixed with high.

Surf is the perfect complement to these things. The tracks reverberate throughout the system, repeating again and again as the playback for my pleasure. I love the album more than almost anything I have listened to this year, and the love comes from exactly what it offers.

The album offers something different. A mix of jazz and hip-hop, it blends rap, R&B, and everything soul. Tracks echo back and forth, playing off one another but each projects a unique beat and mix. The great thing about the album is t
he collaboration aspect, headlined by Donnie Trumpet, Chance the Rapper is a stand out on any of the trackers he performs. The rest of the crew also manages to add to the interesting style to the album.

The great thing about this social experiment is it is free. You can download the album from the collectives site or find it in a variety of places for listening such as Spotify or iTunes. The album is unique because of its diversity. At points throughout the entire album, it moves into entirely different sounds, progressing at a pace that keeps the steady, upbeat tempo will providing some interesting mixes. One track hits you with a R&B feel and a more lyrical sing-song of melodies. The next track hits you with clever lyrics that work well in the arena of rap. Combining the different talents of the various musicians attached to the end product lends itself to strong results from start to finish.

Overall, Surf meets any high with pleasure. It is upbeat enough to keep your mood going but provides enough instrumental riffs and bass to rock your body with sound. Whether listened to when sinking into the couch with an indica or letting yourself get heady with a sativa, the music plays well to tingle against your ear drums. Believe me, if you are looking for anything that encompasses any entire arena of soulful music while simultaneously echoing across different vibes, hit this one up.

The first time I plugged into Surf, I let the snares, piano keys and methodical voices flowing across my sound system beat into my chest. I was flying with a strong sativa, and the high was of the heady variety. From the first track to the sixteenth, I sat transfixed on the couch. My hands were unable to move the pen and paper, lost in the music around me. I’ll have you know, this album is my current contender for favorite of 2015.

I am confident anyone listening could feel the same.

Artist: Donnie Trumpet & The Social Experiment
Album: Surf
Recommended Songs: Miracle, Go, Sunday Candy
Recommended Activities: Energetic highs to mellow listening. Perfect for any high.

sept-donnie-trumpet-2-for-web

  • Trending in Pot
    Trending in Pot
    Cover Story
Trending in Pot
Cover Story

CANNABIS COMMODITIES EXCHANGE INTERVIEW

Over the past year, and moving forward, the marijuana industry is going to continue growing as a booming industry. It is only natural that with more parties getting involved, more consumers buying, and more stores opening, that it continues to diversify and vary. The evolution of the cannabis industry is in full swing. Look at the number of dispensaries in the state and you can easily see this. For now, the field is pretty much grass roots. Pun fully intended.

One company that is trying to work around the current limitations of the pot industry and make the most out of the sales process for businesses is Cannabis Commodities Exchange. They are a revolutionary company in their own right. CCX exists as one of the first commodity traders within the industry. For those unfamiliar with what this is, that is okay. They do not operate with regular users but instead they address the business to business side of the market.

What CCX does is facilitate transactions between ganja licensed businesses who are approved for the growing and sale of weed. They help move product between these licenses. Where this is helpful is with grower operations and dispensaries. Let’s say your favorite shop has too much of one strain or not enough of one. Cannabis Commodities Exchange allows these businesses to do is find out who might be selling the same product and purchase their excess or sell what they have left over. It benefits the consumer by ensuring the market is saturated by ensuring dispensaries don’t run out of product and growers can spread their bud to new places.

The end result benefits everyone. Businesses stay open and thrive. Growers can sell their best. Dispensaries can bring you better marijuana. For the consumers, the immediate impact of this might not be visible, but overall, it is a great service in the industry because it makes the most out of a product in a way people need.

I sat down with Solum Shah, one of the founders and current CEO of Cannabis Commodities Exchange. We talked about his experience starting the company, the work he is doing and some predictions for the future. Overall, it was an insightful peek into a blooming industry in cannabis and technology.

How did CCX start?

The idea came from a conversation I had with a medical dispensary owner in Boulder after Amendment 64 was passed and signed into law but prior to implementation. We got an idea during the end of medical only and launched our actual platform in a year. The conversation happened June of 2013 and over the next 10 months we mapped out the concept, found a developer, wrote the requirements and launched first version at Cannabis Cup 2014.

What was the reception when you first launched?

It was mixed, and it still is. Reception is our main hump during the sales process. The concept of moving wholesale transactions that were traditionally done over the phone and in person and making it more of a web application, an electronic process. Kind of a barrier to adoption. When we first launched, some people saw were ahead of the curve and how this might revolutionize the cannabis industry and make standard operating procedures in the wholesale and retail setting much easier. There were also people uneasy about the idea of listing a hundred pounds of flower on a website.

How do you overcome those objections, how do you build trust?

Well our first model was subscription based, we were going to charge between $200 to $500 a month. We were still working on a final number but during the first few month of sales we ran numbers on how many licenses were in CO and how many we could capture, we found out a subscription fee didn’t provide a long-term sustainable and scalable revenue stream. We decided to take more of the social media and social network approach. We removed the fee and the only barrier to using the site were being able to pass the license verification procedure and then it is free to use. When the subscription fee became a barrier, we focused on discovering other ways to generate revenue or find funding. We wanted to focus really on building a network that benefited our wholesale buyers and sellers.

We announced these changes at CannaCon up in Tacoma last year. It was funny, once we announced our new free model, we heard quite a few of our other competitors moved towards our model. It was validating, it felt good to be the ones driving what is the standard format for a wholesale web application in this space.

How many clients do you currently work with?

First few months it was hard. We had an early adopters fee to guarantee a lower rate for life but then we removed fees so it didn’t matter. We probably only had about 20 licensed businesses in the first four or five months. A little more than a year out and we have about 90 licensed businesses in CO registered on the site, but many of them own more than one license. It is split even between medical and rec and split to a place where about half are retail stores.

Where do you see yourself growing in the next few years?

Our hope is to continue to help businesses with their wholesale needs. We want to hone in on the process and specific parts. Focus on making it more electronic and efficient. Provide substantial value to the supply chain. The more we learn about the process and purchase decisions, we can proliferate. Right now we are conveying the importance of the web application to our potential clients. We are also getting advice from an experienced commodities trader who focuses on trading on futures, hoping to bring him on more involved to continue to expand in the next five months or so.

Walk me through the process, what does it look like?

Well, there are different ways you might arrive at the site: you find us, it’s word of mouth, we show up to the dispensary. The first step is signing up, anyone over the age of 21 can sign up. You create a login, but you get very restricted access to protect the customers. We then prompt you to add an account or license. You put in your information like name, address, and state number so we can verify you. We have to make sure and verify with the cities to ensure you are actually in good standing. From there we simply activate the account, and you then have full use to select buyers and sellers who match your profile. We even have a few places in Washington that can only buy where they are, they can’t even see Colorado.

For now, in the buying process, it is mostly connecting people over the phone. Showing them what products are available and getting them in touch. They can also buy it now on the site. We cannot process payments, but we can generate an invoice on the agreement to buy, lock in price, and arrange delivery through a courier. More often than not we use the technology to bridge the interpersonal. It is still a fairly disruptive concept in the industry. We are still trying to fit into the industry but also innovate and improve it. It takes time.

Walk me through the process, what does it look like?

Well, there are different ways you might arrive at the site: you find us, it’s word of mouth, we show up to the dispensary. The first step is signing up, anyone over the age of 21 can sign up. You create a login, but you get very restricted access to protect the customers. We then prompt you to add an account or license. You put in your information like name, address, and state number so we can verify you. We have to make sure and verify with the cities to ensure you are actually in good standing From there we simply activate the account, and you then have full use to select buyers and sellers who match your profile. We even have a few places in Washington that can only buy where they are, they can’t even see Colorado.

For now, in the buying process, it is mostly connecting people over the phone. Showing them what products are available and getting them in touch. They can also buy it now on the site. We cannot process payments, but we can generate an invoice on the agreement to buy, lock in price, and arrange delivery through a courier. More often than not we use the technology to bridge the interpersonal. It is still a fairly disruptive concept in the industry. We are still trying to fit into the industry but also innovate and improve it. It takes time.

How are you different from your competitors?

There are three paths of wholesale in the market. First and oldest is relationship driven. People buy from people they know. It’s all about people. Sometimes there are brokers in between but many times it is independent.

Second is tech and web application. This is what we are doing. Bringing the industry to modern technology. A platform-based model. Which is funny because all of these types of companies are run by Millennials. We are young.

Third, you are seeing former Wall Street guys getting into it. They are bringing advanced technology from other verticals and trying to put it on top of the cannabis space. In my opinion, they have been the least successful because it’s not built for the industry. They have unique insight because of work experience but miss the marijuana market.

What are some of the big challenges you face?

First is generating revenue. The regulator framework makes it tricky to do this. The MED has an interpretation of the rules that means we can’t share in the profit of the exchange. We cannot take a direct fee. Think about eBay or Amazon, they are making sometimes 17% on transactions, we cannot.

Then, it’s how do we fund ourselves – one of the biggest challenges. The other challenge is translating a traditionally manual process to a more electronic and efficient process. We are constantly interacting with clients to try and make the process better. This is where our ability to build relationships come into play.

Where do you see the future of this industry headed?

I think this is what makes it an entrepreneur’s playground right now, without payment processing and the ability for cannabis businesses to gain access to banking, it is stopping from larger players getting involved. We are here trying to set up the best process to gain the market share. We are building a framework and once the federal and local policies catch up, likely another legislative session gives us access to banking, this will allow us actually to grow. We are fighting for market share between private companies. The winners will be seen later.

We are trying to get ahead of the big companies. Google could design our entire platform in a day but if we have something worth acquiring, it allows us to shift the focus. To make sure the practices are based on the businesses themselves, based around the user’s. We want to control the narrative now to ensure we have ethical practices that benefit the people already involved, not just big corporations.

We need things to catch up, because until it does, it’s hindering us. We probably need the federal government to catch up, probably need close to 20 states to move forward with it. There is no reason a dispensary in Nevada should have to be growing all their product. Wholesale can help this like in any other industry, but the policy is the main thing limiting it. Once rescheduling happens, likely not till even 2020 at best, then we will see sweeping changes.

Across my interview with Sohum, I was impressed with his understanding of the industry and where it is headed. Even more so, I was excited about all he is doing to advance it. Cannabis Commodities Exchange is a business with its hand on the overarching pulse of the cannabis industry but does a great job in helping guide this pulse. Every month they are a sponsor of a Cannabis Technology meetup that provides industry leaders the chance to talk further about what is going on in these two industries and how they are working together. The results are great, just like CCX.

Getting to know Sohum, I am excited to see where the future of his industry progresses and what will happen next. There are certain challenges he and his entire team face, along with anyone in the industry. I am sure having gotten to know the guy, that this one sector is in good hands. The road is certainly not a clear one, but it is one I am sure we will progress in one way or the other.

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  • Tech in Cannabis
    Tech in Cannabis
    Cover Story
Tech in Cannabis
Cover Story

Like any commerce industry in the modern world, eventually everything begins to shift towards technology. It would be almost impossible for any set of businesses to operate without some form of technology supporting them, and cannabis is no different. As ganja has grown across its 20 plus medical states and the handful of recreational states, so too has the technology around it. For now, these tech operations are mostly home grown and fairly organic businesses. A few people who come together with the right skills and a mobile, internet, or other digital-based concept, and they strive to enhance users’ experiences with cannabis. Over time, these will grow as more businesses become involved and bigger names start to enter the game.

Right now, we are in the start-up and mom and pop phases of cannabis. Within years, months even, we will only progress beyond these initial phases. Cannabis will become corporate, and technology will follow. But, as seen even in the world of computers, where there might be giants, there will always be room for disruptive innovation. The beauty of the marijuana industry is that it’s growing and changing every day. The average weed consumer can also be the average tech wizard, coding a new app as I write this. The tech side of cannabis is coming. In this article, Dank Media Group highlights a few of the current cannabis companies embracing technology. Where some of these might be familiar, not every consumer knows about them.

Cannabis Social Networks

Mass Roots

The premier social networking app that exist in the marijuana industry, Mass Roots has my vote for growing the quickest and making the biggest splash. Overall, the app does a great job of connecting you with people who are like minded on pot. It most highly resembles an Instagram. You can follow your buds with ease, see what is being posted locally or globally, post images and videos, and use hashtags to share your exploits. As an app, it still has some minor bugs with loading but overall the user experience is solid.

The great thing about it is the ability for profiles to distinguish between different levels of involvement, whether you are recreational, medical, a dispensary or a brand. It lets you pick your category that helps distinguish a little between each party. These features make great for following specific people and tagging them as well. Filled with high-quality pictures of nuggets, creative joint rolls, and beautiful glassware, this app is an eyeful for stoners. Right now, the app boasts over 450,000 users, myself included.

High There

Is it the Tinder of weed? I don’t know. Is it for more casual meeting with smokers? More likely. High There is an app designed to connect you with people although some of the users might be having identity crises. Unlike popular dating apps where you potentials bombard you with sleazy requests for hooking up, High There is non-gender specific. It doesn’t ask you anything sexual but instead focuses on a few areas.

First, what do you want to do this time with consuming cannabis? You can pick staying in, going out, or chatting. From there you get to pick your preference for consumption from edibles, smoking, vaping or all three. Last you pick an energy level of low, medium or high. You also get to populate interest such a music, food, or culture. Like many dating apps, you can add in photos and a biography.

Then comes the matching. As mentioned where some might be using this app for ganja-based dating, High There doesn’t prioritize romance but instead smoking. From the get go, you can choose to match with anyone from any gender or focus specifically on men or women. Like many apps, you either swipe left or right to express interest in matching with someone, and the rest goes from there.

The app has some minor technological tweaks that I am sure will get worked out in time. My main issue seemed to be a lack of users. Since I was doing it for the story, I swiped right to every single person and still got a limited number of matches. The interesting thing about the app as well is unlike some apps where it is a mystery who wants to meet you, this app tells you when you have a request. For now, the app seems to be lacking users and suffering an identity crisis, some people seem to be using it for hookups or assuming this is the intention. It all just varies. I imagine this app will build momentum, especially with some exposure.

Weed Delivery Services

SpeedWeed, Flow Kana, Eaze

GQ Magazine recently did a piece of SpeedWeed, calling them the Uber of cannabis. Where this is somewhat correct, I would term these types of technology as delivery-based services. They are like Uber, in that they are tech friendly and built around the ease of requesting medical marijuana from a mobile device, but unlike Uber, these technologies focus on delivery. They bring you the weed you need at a price and with discretion. The result is something mixed like Uber but more closely resembling any other delivery service where you pay for product. Reading up on them, they more remind me of getting a pizza than getting a car. The difference is the product and regulations behind it.

Like many other forms of tech in the industry, these companies faces regulation, and they also face extreme competition. Like many things in pot right now, if one person has an idea, so do five other people. And everyone wants a slice. SpeedWeed is going to pop up but so is a competitor in every other state and even the same area. The concept is great, but we will see where the competition goes. All these are good ideas based on disrupting the industry but with a plethora of ideas, the issues will be who can create the most successful company first. It will be interesting to watch this concept as it works with or against laws across the country. The main issue it must face is that as state laws vary, so too will its ability to spread.

Cannabis Commerce

CannaExchange

I feature CannaExchange because of the work they are doing to bring what often has been done by phone or personal relationships into the twenty-first century. Currently, dispensaries and growers often rely on word of mouth or relationships to sell excess or stock up when they run out of product. CannaExchange helps cut through this using tech. For more information on CannaExchange, check out our interview with a founder.

Cannabis Rankings

Leafly

You have likely heard about Leafly because with over 6 million monthly visitors and over 31 million page views it has quite the spread. If you’ve never looked at Leafly, it is the place to go for strain reviews, finding out more about dispensaries, and figure out what works for you. Leafly is popular for users due to its prevalence. By flooding the market with information, it provides you more to know than anywhere else out there. Leafly is great especially for its emphasis on strains and finding you the right one. It is the app many prefer for this and with good reason. As recreational and medical continues to spread, Leafly will keep going as well.

WeedMaps

The “Yelp” of marijuana, WeedMaps sits right up there with Leafly. Attracting 2 million of visitors a month, it still has quite a sizable claim on the marijuana ranking market. Again, this site is based around the ability for users to provide their input on strains as well as ranking dispensaries. The site currently boasts ranking for close “3,000 medical dispensaries and 25,000 strains of cannabis.” With a large hold on the market, WeedMaps and Leafly are hitting each other fairly head to head in the battle for capturing users reviews and monopolizing on the ever growing market of cannabis in the United States.

Whaxy

Another cannabis ranking site but with a twist. Whaxy does a great job of matching its two previously listed competitors in providing your information on specific strains as well as dispensaries. What Whaxy also does is something a bit more. Instead of just focusing on letting reviewers and users tell you about weed, the app also offers up to date and current news. Whaxy is a great resource for finding out new information on the entire industry of cannabis and this is what distinguishes it for me, adding a little extra feature for good cause.

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  • Mass Roots
    Mass Roots
    The One App You Need
Mass Roots
The One App You Need

It is amazing being on the front end of something. Watching any kind of revolution emerge and move forward with a progression. My love affair for cannabis often stems from my background as a writer and idealist. I was raised on the classic works of literature that often times had tales of revolution. One of the first things I internalized is we are all parts of a story and in our stories, we all have roles to play. At the same time all stories need a form of drama, some antagonism that drives the plot forward. The best drama is the one people can belong. Thus, I love cannabis because of the ability for the people to be involved.

On the same token, I love watching our culture evolve around it and adapt. We stand at the front end of something beautiful here. A poignant moment in American history with untold repercussions. The ripples of the next few waves will be felt for centuries.

Making these statements, it is my privilege to be able to report on some of the greatest pieces of our industry, the revolutionary thoughts, and watch as they unfold. In fifteen years, I know I am going to look back in pride about this story. When we look back, I am fairly confident that for this story, I sat down and had a conversation with one of the people running what will become one of the biggest names in cannabis-based technology.

MassRoots is a social media based app, but they are so much more than that. They are social media without all the bullshit it has become. They are what social media was before everyone jumped on board, and it became watered down. What MassRoots is is a social media-based app, what they have done is so much more. What they have done is create a beautiful cannabis community. A place where those who love weed can come together and grow together. More importantly, they have created a place where everyone, from the expert to the first time user, can belong to a community. MassRoots is more than an application for mobile and online. It is a place where people can come together to share their love of pot and in turn, grow with others.

Talking with Dan Hunt, the COO of MassRoots, I was impressed with many of the sentiments that emerged not only from him but about the general feel of the company. Dan’s own path is impressive for its clear indication of what the team of MassRoots believes. Hearing him talk, he left college for the chance to work with the company. With a background working in sales and start-up marketing, he saw an opportunity and has not once looked back. The reason for his confidence is the same foundation for the company; the ability to help marijuana users drive forward change through a unified community. This community is currently 450,000 and growing by 1,500 to 2,000 every day. The end results are powerful.

The reason for his confidence is the same foundation for the company; the ability to help marijuana users drive forward change through a unified community. This community is currently 450,000 and growing by 1,500 to 2,000 every day. The end results are powerful.

Even with current size and growth it isn’t to say there haven’t been challenges.

MassRoots is a mobile application and thus relies largely on mobile stores, like Apple’s App store and the same for Android, to attract users. The issues with this stem from when Apple, the largest company in the world, removes your app from its store because it violates Terms of Use policy. The challenge when this happens is losing access to over 50% of your users. The results, listening to Dan talk, is his proudest moment in the company; taking on the giant that was Apple.

“Last November, they removed us and for a while, we didn’t know what to do. For weeks we talked about it and we had idea after idea but we waited. Finally we moved. We sent notifications to our users. We asked them to directly get involved. We had 10,000 people directly email Apple and we even sent a letter to Tim Cook, their CEO. The letter was signed by some 50 of the largest organizations in the marijuana industry, delivered directly to his desk.”

The end result of this was a change. Apple changed their policy and returned the application to the store. It was a crowning moment because it showcased the community the application had built. A gathering a pot enthusiasts who supported one another and were willing to go to the plate for the app. Moving forward, this story also does a great job showcasing what MassRoots will become.

There are two parts to the further growth of MassRoots. On one level, they are moving forward in users experience to become the best application possible. Dan was able to share some features on the horizon including things like direct messaging between users, further abilities to distinguish between dispensaries, and always tweaks to the online site. From there, another round of features will include the abilities to break down data by strains and location, abilities for users to find and review and look forward to more information on what they should be smoking. Overall, the goal of MassRoots moving forward is to continue to spread good information. To provide more, better, and accurate information to its users. Becoming the best application possible is only one part of the process.

Dan directly and indirectly referenced their second goal multiple times. “We want to have the most powerful users community around. We want to be the place people go for a sense of connection around cannabis.” The second progression of MassRoots is continuing to build its community. From the founders of the company to Dan, to every employee present, the goal is shared: to create a community of cannabis users who can drive change. The goal likely stems from the Millennial nature of the team- walking through the office I hardly saw a face above the early 30’s at best, more likely the late 20’s- and it also stems from the backgrounds of many of the employees. These are people who were involved in politics and campaigns. People driven by the idealism our generation often finds. The MassRoots goal is to a give a voice to a population that for the longest time was voiceless.

“We started because no one was talking about cannabis. Our founders, they saw that people were talking about everything on social media except smoking and marijuana because it could have had negative impacts. With people like your grandma on your Facebook, you couldn’t share a picture of your joint. But it is legal now and we should be able to talk about it. We wanted to give people that place to share on cannabis.”

The end result is, they have. MassRoots has created a vibrant and thriving community of users who are only just now beginning to care and become mobilized. A community of users who is growing and accepting one another. MassRoots is well on the path to becoming what it wants and their progress shows.

___

I love the ability to witness the changing tide and firmly believe in the future of cannabis. I believe technology has a strong place in this future. Dan is aware that moving forward, there is going to be competition. As seen with many other applications, one always wins out. Uber beat Lyft. Snapchat beat Facebook’s attempts to breach this field. Facebook beat out Google +. In technology, users are fickle and generally one application wins. For the staff of MassRoots, they know they have a battle in front of them.

Personally, I see the same battle. But I also see something more. They wouldn’t tell you this, but in my biased interaction, I will. Fifteen years from now, five maybe, there is going to be one app that has unified users and captured its base. My bet is on MassRoots. The difference is listening to why they run their company. They aren’t in this for anything but community.

Not once in the interview did Dan mention fame or attention. Money or desires to become the next big thing. They are cautiously optimistic about the future. But they are driven by a goal. A goal they are realizing and one I am confident will see great results.

If there is one cannabis application you download built around ganja, it is this. MassRoots. Check it out, be an early adopter, and watch as history unfolds.

Check them out at massroots.com

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  • High Level Health
    High Level Health
    Dispensary Review
High Level Health
Dispensary Review

Nestled in two locations, both within what many would consider the heart of Denver, High Level Health knows their niche. With one shop on Colfax Ave and the other on North Lincoln, they are fairly well located for anyone in urban Denver areas looking for a potent high. We all know, at least anyone in Colorado does, that there many things that separate dispensaries and those that make them the same. Thankfully, in the sea of shops selling cannabis, High Level Health can distinguish itself in a few ways. I spent time in the store speaking with Kevin Sprague at High Level Health, reviewing his storefront, talking about their product and figuring out what makes them different.

As a part of my review, I want to state I bought two indica strains from them. As with all my work, I always note I bought my weed at market price from the shop and receive no compensation for this review.

PRO’S

LOCATION

For anyone in the urban area, this dispensary is perfect. Talking to Kevin, he noted that whether it is people wandering over from Capitol Hill, a tourist visiting Colfax, or people coming home from work, they are centrally located. It is easy to get where they are by car, bus, bike or foot, meaning it makes an easy route when wanting to get high. For those in even the Lower Downtown Area or Highlands, the trip isn’t far at all. The location is a definite pro.

Strain Strength

With quite a few strains around 30% THC, this place has the hefty capability to get you high. It does a great job of what it sets out to do. These strains are strong, they are award-winning and they are area and industry favorites. The great thing is because this shop does such a good job of working locally, they can consistently improve their strain rating while improving its strength. With some strong strains, and again to mention award-winning, they are worth the price. Their Summit Sweet Skunk placed 7th in the Colorado Cannabis Cup last year.

Another strain of note is their San Fernando Valley Headband. This strain ranked in High Times as #11 for one of the World’s strongest strands. Having the 11th highest amount of THC is quite the accomplishment!

Growing Methods

High Level Health is organic. Many shops claim this. All shops wanting to keep their license are going to make sure they are doing this because regulations make sure you are are forgoing pesticides in exchange for a clean high. High Level Health has been organic and clean since they started their growing operation. Their buds speak for themselves: by forgoing hydroponics in favor of a cleaner grow, they offer a great product. High Level Health isn’t kidding around when they say their flower packs a punch. If you are looking for strong, high-level flower with a wallop of a high, they are the place to go.

Con’s

Runs Out of Product

A huge point of pride, and a huge selling piece of what High Level Health offers, is that all of their product are grown in house. Therein lies the problem – quality plays a higher hand than quantity – and they tend to run out. Kevin was the first to admit this, but it was a little disappointing. I heard a ton about their SFV Headband, a crop I still want to try, but on the day of my visit, it was sold out. A friend I know who lives in Cap Hill has mentioned that sometimes they tend to be sold out of sativas, so it seems to be a regular thing. They are working on the issue of filling their product more quickly and growing more to meet demand, and I can’t wait for the day. The fact that High Level Health has such popular strains is a catch 22. It means you can grow to love what they offer but sometimes lack the ability to purchase what you want. As the operation expands its already stable offerings, I am sure this will be less an issue but it is worth noting right now. Not getting the product you want when you want it can be a frustrating thing.

Strain Thoughts

For this review, I tested out two strains; Kandy Kush and Cataract Kush. Both were indica dominant strains and provided me the opportunity to get that nice body high. By nice body high I mean these things got you to the place of sitting on your couch listening to music. As far as an indica goes, these are very potent. When smoking them, I didn’t want to do much else except be there, at that moment, and just relax.

Depending on your love for potency and your frequency of smoking, I can see these highs going some ways. Either you fall asleep peacefully and sleep like a rock, not a bad thing as I enjoyed these right before bed and it made the sleep great. Or you smoke and chill out. Watch a movie, eat some good food, listen to music, go outside and lay in the grass for a while, even sit in the pool. For me personally, not much energy was invested in the process. It was a great high and got the job done. (I am not much of an indica guy, but I still enjoyed the experience.) Overall, both these strains offered very little mental high but are great on the lazy body feeling, especially the very indica heavy Cataract Kush.

Check them out at hlhcolorado.com

  • Cannabis Master Interview
    Cannabis Master Interview
    With Max of the Trichome Institute
Cannabis Master Interview
With Max of the Trichome Institute

Going into my interview with Max Montrose, the President and founder of the Trichome Institute, I was nervous. I’ve experienced these types of nerves before – they materialize for any writer before a significant character piece is written. Where the average person might not have heard about Max, or the TriChrome Institute, there is a huge deal of information and interest directed towards their work in the professional arena of cannabis. Anyone worth their weight in weed can recognize the name.

Max is doing wonders for cannabis, its education and the scientific side of the industry. And here I was, another guy getting to cover his work. It was clear ten minutes into our discussion that Max wasn’t an intimidating or arrogant character. Rather, Max personally embraces and embodies the guiding principle and philosophy that is the foundation of his work and the TriChrome Institute – to help other cannabis businesses excel.

Across the short conversation I had with Max, his mantra shined. Everything this man is doing is making cannabis, and a whole slew of industries, better.

The TriChrome Institute is relatively new to the marijuana game, at least on the public side. With years of work underneath his belt designing the curriculum behind the courses for TriChrome, Max has almost been working away since at least 2009. In fact, even before TriChrome was a concept, Max has been passionately following and immersing himself in the cannabis industry. During our interview, Max recanted a collection of knowledge I imagine few will ever obtain. The beauty of this information is that Max’s goal is to make it as public as possible. There is no question that he’s light years ahead of the game.

There are people that exist in this world who have an intrinsic understanding or ‘je ne sais quoi’ for their respective fields. These people gravitate towards a craft. They latch on to their work, and then they hone it. Their focus, their drive, their knowledge, and their relentlessness move mountains. They spread enlightenment to dark corners. Philosophers. Bands. Artist. Politicians. Public figures. Athletes. If you look in every field, you see these greats. They are the people we remember not because they cry out for attention but because their impact is striking. Max is one of these people.

I watched as Max excitedly shared his brain – he was unfiltered, unguarded and enthusiastic. He doesn’t want to hide it. He won’t let it stagnate. He can identify if a weed was cured for too long, of if a flower has lost it’s potency from not being stored correctly. A few educational courses, a few consulting projects with the Colorado government, and an unparalleled personal experience in the cannabis industry bolster his name and his clout.

Max Montrose’s story begins long before the start of legal cannabis in the United States. Like many people who consume, Max was doing so as a means of regulating the issues facing him with his physical and mental health. When faced with the choice of being a slave to pills or a holistic alternative, Max decided to teach himself through observation and years of practice, how to make the switch to organic medicine. Where his first pot was being bought from the black market of marijuana, the education behind his consumption was anything but shady. Even as a consumer, he regularly spent time educating himself on marijuana. In fact, he still does.

“At least once a week, for two hours on Saturdays, I educate myself on new things. I have questions, and I ask questions about my questions. I find new information. I may be an ‘expert’, but I wouldn’t say I know everything by any means because I always have more to learn.”

Max’s mentality shines is exemplified in the progression of his career. He foundation began as a budtender in the first legalized medical dispensaries. He later found himself working as a grower, an extractor and a manager for dispensaries. Listening to him talk, he is profoundly humble. Montrose wants to learn the most and teach the best on marijuana. Max believes in putting practice in action. In fact, this month, he and his team attending various classes to grow their understanding.

TriChrome to marijuana can be compared to the discipline of a Sommelier to wine. To be the best at their roles, Max is enrolling his team in not only wine education classes but also cheese and beer. Coffee and tea. They will spend a day being trained in cupping, the mastery of coffee and tea. The art of tasting cheeses compared to the art of tasting beer. They spend their time learning to offer better pairings, tastings, and the overall delivery of a coveted product.

So what is the TriChrome Institute? I have tiptoed around it briefly but it is important to recognize their work. TriChrome is the foremost source of training for all things marijuana related within both Colorado and the United States. Currently, they offer three variations of product training, but it’s also an evolutionary process. Their most popular course is Interpening, a form of training that teaches you how to successfully and properly evaluate your marijuana flowers. The course on Interpening is multifaceted and contains several levels of concepts. The other two courses they offer are Budtender Training and Responsible Vendor Training.

The differences between these classes are varied, but the results are the same. The consumers of marijuana have a better experience consuming, and the people selling the marijuana are doing a better job at meeting their consumers needs. Each training achieves this in a variety of methods:

In Responsible Vendor training, the staff of dispensaries are working to learn the in’s and out’s of the industry’s rules, regulations, safety and standard operating procedures. For Max, when designing this course, the most important was to focus on ensuring the owners and workers know as much as possible about their cannabis product.

“In so many other classes, you learn about the basics. How to tell if someone is inebriated. How to check a fake ID. You don’t learn about cannabis, though. So often, we forget to train on the thing we are selling. For our RV class, you have to learn about the science of how different cannabis products work on people. Its method of consumption, how it can impact users. We want our attendees to learn about the product they are selling.”

The significance of the RV class is important to note – dispensaries who become Responsible Vendor Designated by TriChome have the ability to negotiate legal infractions and fines by the Marijuana Enforcement Division; whereas dispensaries who do not take the training don’t! For years now, Max has been working on it, and he is proud the MED supports his efforts in certifying his training.

The next class is Budtender Training. With two levels of training currently offered, it ties perfectly with Interpening, but offers the added customer service element. Think about it, how many times have you been in a dispensary and not known what you are getting? How many times will the average consumer never understand the strains they are smoking because the people selling it to them are failing at providing accurate information? Max wants to combat this.

“In so many dispensaries, you have a 21-year-old selling people medicine over the counter. Sometimes, these budtenders just moved here, and are selling to tourists with no idea about pot. The end result is bad advice. You don’t want a lazy indica right before you go to a concert at Red Rocks. But many bud tenders aren’t trained in explaining that.”

Not only is Max correct, but he is also leading a revolution. With many of the dispensaries he works with, Max sees budtenders who are making this profession their career. They see it as an art form and discipline. And Max is the master painter, helping teach them the brush strokes that allow them to create a beautiful work of art. The last courses focus on Interpening. As noted, these courses are designed to educate any consumer of marijuana about the products they are consuming. The courses move through three levels. Level I is a three hour course where participants work through the Interpening process to learn how to see and smell the differences between the cannabis variety types, plus all the quality control. Level 1 is for online and out of state forums where live cannabis samples cannot be demonstrated.

From there, Level 2 steps it up a notch. It also comprises a three to four hour session, diving into marijuana – from smells and shapes, eyeing the flower and judging factors. After completing the course, one can tell what strain the weed is, and can look for flaws in its health. The Level 2 class offers a chance to work “hands-on” with 50 cannabis samples.

The Level 2 course offers an additional element to the learning process – a test. Students are given ten samples, and asked to identify various strains, and in some cases, why the strain should be sold or smoked as a result of plant health. Level II moves beyond the basics, and puts quality knowledge into action. Students can identify what insect or mold might be affecting the bud, or what specific level of indica or hybrid the plant can be classified as. It is a thing of mastery. A green TriChome lapel pin is awarded upon successful completion of the test. From here, students can move into the Level 3 course.

The best Sommeliers in the world are ones who often spend at least five years practicing for their test. Embracing a similar concept, a Level III Interpener is one who knows much more about the cannabis product than an average budtender. To effectively complete the Level 3 Interpener must exhibit deep knowledge of cannabis history globally, horticulture, chemistry, law, sociology, politics, regulations, genealogy, and be able to demonstrate it. Level III Interpeners are masters in their craft. Few of them exist, and few will follow in their footsteps. They are decorated with the rare black TriChome pin.

It was blatantly obvious that Max was one of the prestigious few. I’m confident that a black TriChrome pin proudly adorns his list of acheivements.

Max has spent years designing the content behind his classes. With textbooks ranging from 300-400 pages, he wants to educate on cannabis. Containing a wealth of information and expertise, these are the first textbooks written for a cannabis curriculum. They are the pairing of work between professional course designers and cannabis experts, being reviewed and approved by higher authorities in respective fields.

“The issue is that we have two fields. You have the smart cannabis individual who knows everything about the plant but no professional mindset. The other side is you have the smart business person who has no clue about cannabis. And they don’t want to touch each other. There are no sources of good information. Go online and you see that there are these stoner forums with awful content. I want to get the right information to everyone so that scientists and legislators can communicate with long term industry pro’s who speak two different languages.”

Max is right. As regulations lax and more people immerse themselves into the business and science of marijuana, new, factual information is becoming available that can help both the consumers and dispensaries. More serious work is being done in educating the consumer and the business owner. The TriChrome Institute stands at the forefront of this work.

For the average consumer or the regular user, an exciting future lies ahead for weed. Interpening classes are gaining popularity and visibility. In the state of Colorado, the TriChome Institute’s goal is to host two courses each month. They are beginning to ramp up their schedule. As the list of new cannabis-focused teachers grows, so will the TriChrome Institute’s overall reach. The ultimate goal is to spread knowledge of and continue to ease information access on marijuana. The industry desperately needs the TriChrome Institute, and I am glad Max is leading the charge.

To learn more about Interpening or the Trichome Institute check out trichomeinstitute.com

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  • Buzz Feed
    Buzz Feed
    What Games Are You Playing?
Buzz Feed
What Games Are You Playing?

I wanted to be a believer. That being said, I worked for Electronic Arts for several years, and the title I predominately worked on was Tiger Woods. While I understand that EA has made the decision to move away from the +1 to hooker dexterity that is Woods, I had high hopes for the McIlroy franchise. 

I have always been a golf fan, and an even bigger golf simulator fan. Tiger Woods PGA Tour made some serious strides over the years, and unfortunately, Rory McIlroy has played this round from the rough. As a whole, this is a good golf simulator that offers a slew of control options and scalable difficulty. The courses and character modules look better than ever, as EA made the with to the Frostbite engine. 

The new use of the Frostbite engine may be one of the culprits as to why McIlroy seems to be exceeding the stroke limit. The game seems to be riddled with a lack of players, courses, and modes. It’s a shame that McIlroy teed off with a slew of handicaps from the go. All in all, it is an average experience. Nothing to write home about, but the future of the franchise is what excites me. 

See you online!

  • Small Business Feature
    Small Business Feature
    Rebel Salon
Small Business Feature
Rebel Salon

What is one thing everyone needs, some people hate, and some people suck at? If you are thinking the dentist, you might be close but actually, I am talking about haircuts. At some point in life, unless you are stuck using your bowl and kitchen shears, you need to get a haircut to make sure you don’t look like a yak. Some of us men need to get beard trims, especially here in Denver. Some of our women, well, I cannot tell you what you need, but I know it is more expensive and takes significantly more time. While everyone prefers something different, I can tell you, we all need good haircuts.

A long time ago I learned good haircuts come from good stylist and great barbers. Where some are okay trusting their hair to the walk in shop where you sit in whatever chair is assigned to you and pray for a good haircut based on what you are trying to articulate, I much rather build a relationship with someone and see them regularly. The commitment behind a good haircut is why I am a huge fan of Rebel Salon, located at 34th and Larimer in the RiNo district. From the moment I first walked past, I figured this was a good place for me to get a haircut.

The experience inside really sealed the deal. Rebel Salon is great because of the way they operate. Every one of their stylists and hair-cutting professionals handles their own hours and sets their own hours to best serve their clients clients. Because of this, setting appointments is a bit different. The first time I went in, I wasn’t picky about who cut my hair, I just needed a quick hair cut in a short turn around time. I left my name and number with the salon and the stylist on site told me someone would text me if they had time in their schedule during my requested hours. Their M.O. led me to Tina. And from my first haircut she gave me, to the one I got just last week, I have never wanted to go anywhere else. Of course, I have to give a shout out to Tina for her work but I can tell you everyone in the Salon is great. From men to women’s hair, beard trims to coloring, they know their stuff.

My favorite part about getting a trim there are the personal elements. Because you are directly contacting your stylist to set up an appointment, you build a great relationship. It is extremely friendly, and you learn about them, in turn they learn about you. This mentality helped because for me, I never really learned how to describe what I wanted, I always just kind of chanced it. Tina helped explain things to me. It seems to be a motto of Rebel Salon that they are going to help you figure out what works for you.

From styling my hair, finding a new product that worked and even trimming my beard, Tina helped answer my questions and took the time to explain things. The result is I felt better about my hair than ever before and keep coming back because of the service and quality of haircuts. Going to Rebel, your hair looks good, your beard looks better, and your wallet thanks you for what you are getting.

Check them out at rebelsalondenver.com

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