Celebrate 4/20 with all things dank at Oskar Blues’ bluegrass festival in Longmont

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The free Dank Grass Fest returns to Oskar Blues in Longmont on Saturday, April 20 from noon - 7:30 p.m. (Oskar Blues/Courtesy photo)
The free Dank Grass Fest returns to Oskar Blues in Longmont on Saturday, April 20 from noon – 7:30 p.m. (Oskar Blues/Courtesy photo)


By ELLA COBB | ecobb@prairiemountainmedia.com | Daily Camera

PUBLISHED: April 16, 2024 at 3:49 p.m. | UPDATED: April 16, 2024 at 6:52 p.m.

Living in Colorado, celebrating 4/20 is almost a requirement. Whether you smoke or not, the cannabis-centric holiday is an important part of our state’s cultural history — a tip of the cap toward Colorado’s early progressive stance on the legalization of recreational cannabis.

This year’s 4/20 holiday is a special one as it coincides with the state’s 10-year anniversary of the first legal sale of recreational marijuana, which took place on Jan. 1, 2014, in Denver. April 20 also happens to fall on a Saturday, which is arguably the best day of the week to lay down a picnic blanket in the park and chow down on a cheeba chew.

For us along the Front Range, there are plenty of ways to celebrate — Wiz Khalifa is headlining a show at Red Rocks, Denver’s 4/20 Festival is returning to Civic Center Park, and just about every dispensary around is offering deals and discounts.

And while weed is fantastic for those who can handle it, there remains a considerable chunk of the population who find themselves unable to comfortably manage the effects of being under the influence (re: debilitating cotton mouth or insatiable hunger). For these individuals, Oskar Blues Brewery in Longmont presents an appealing alternative: The 2nd annual Dank Grass Festival. This 4/20 celebration has something for everyone: Hoppy IPAs for the weed-wary, cannabis vendors for the THC-tolerant, and a stellar lineup of bluegrass music to keep everyone happy no matter what state they’re in.

According to Byran Townsend, marketing and events manager at Oskar Blues, the event dates back to 2022, when the brewery hosted a small gathering on 4/20 in honor of a limited-addition beer in collaboration with Veritas Fine Cannabis. Attendees of the event loved the marriage of cannabis and beer so much that, the next year, Oskar Blues decided to throw a full-day celebration of all things pungent, dank, hoppy and potent.

“We like to call it our beer-centric twist on a 4/20 festival. I feel like 4/20 has lost its luster a bit, and it’s not as big as it used to be. So we wanted to create something fun and different that folks could come to — because people still want to celebrate, even if they don’t smoke,” Townsend said.

As the festival turns toward its second official year, Townsend and Oskar Blues made sure to pull out all the stops to ensure that this year is the biggest and best yet. The free festival highlights music from some of the brightest up-and-coming bluegrass artists in the country, including Ghost Town Drifters, Arkansauce, and Pixie & The Partygrass Boys. Headlining the festival is Clay Street Unit, a rooty, tooty, six-piece folkgrass band currently making waves in the Denver music scene.

And fueling the celebration, of course, is beer: This year, Oskar Blues is releasing two special pours in honor of the festival — including “Nugboat Captain,” a New-England style hazy IPA, and “Loose Jorts,” an odiferous pale ale in collaboration with Cigar City Brewing in Florida.

Those looking for a more traditional 4/20 way of celebrating can visit some of the festival’s cannabis and cannabis-inspired vendors, which include Fourteener Cannabis out of Boulder, Stashlogix and Toker Poker. Food trucks will also be available onsite to stave off any rising munchies.

Looking forward, Townsend says that he hopes Dank Grass Fest will become Oskar Blues’ signature event.

“We want to continue to grow it to be bigger each year, and eventually, we’d like for it to become a two-day festival. We just want to keep growing it and create a recurring event not just for us, but for Longmont, as well. There’s not a ton of events like that up here, and we’d like to make this a yearly festival,” Townsend said.

The 2nd Annual Dank Grass Fest kicks off at noon on Saturday, April 20 at Oskar Blues Brewery and Taproom, located at 1640 S Sunset St, Longmont. The event is free and open to the public.

Why Colorado Tokers Love Sudz

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Few strains have such a layered aroma.

By Herbert Fuego

January 24, 2024

Sudz creates a rich, long-lasting lather for the lungs.

Sudz creates a rich, long-lasting lather for the lungs. Herbert Fuego

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As a child who grew up watching SpongeBob SquarePants, I never caught colds or the flu — I got the suds. Now Denver dispensaries have it, too, but this isn’t a bad infection. Quite the opposite, in fact: I want these Sudz to spread.

Given how popular the Soap became a few years ago and all of the chemical-laden rainbow bubbles some soap creates, I was surprised that Sudz was a new strain. But who cares? This detergent is far from unscented, and the high stays fresh for hours. If you know a guy who knows a guy who went to the dispensary once, put out an APB: Sudz needs to be inhaled.

There’s a strain called Sudz from Cresco Labs with Do-Si-Dos and Lemon Haze genetics, but I’m not interested in some generic hand soap from the dollar store. The Lit Farm version, a mix of the Soap and Runtz, provides the real, luxurious  lather. It made me feel like an innocent college student who’s just smoked Headband or Diesel for the first time. I laughed, I cried, I discovered and forgot life-changing music and documentaries. Sudz gave me a temporary zest for life that most long-term cannabis users yearn for.

My nose deserves credit here, because it instantly recognized the depth and power behind Sudz, and that typically translates to a sublime high. If only my nostrils had been quick enough to recognize the danger of rolling and sparking up while wearing a hoodie. That sweet, astringent, skunky combination soaked into my thick cotton mix and stayed there until I relented and threw it in the washing machine. Sometimes you need to fight fire with fire, or Sudz with suds.


Looks: I see a lot of Runtz influence, but with more body and density to the buds. The heavy trichome coverage on Sudz is more oily than frosty or sharp, however, with a sheen of resin enhancing the wintergreen and purple calyxes.

Smell: A sharp sweetness hits up front, but a skunky, chemical-forward mixture slides in quickly, followed by hints of lemongrass and floral notes. Few strains have such a layered aroma, but that’s not even all of it. At the end of each sweet, funky, gassy and flowery sniff, a strong minty finish awaits.

Flavor: The funkiness in Sudz increases upon combustion, but it’s balanced out by sweet (and surprise) tastes of berries and citrus, as well as a strong combination of skunky and chemical flavors. Hints of dough and mint come around after exhaling, eventually mixing with the skunk notes for a strong aftertaste.

Effects: Although the high makes focusing difficult at times, Sudz is prime for daytime. My mood instantly rises, my curiosity and sociability improve, and my willingness to try new things doesn’t cease. Distractions come by the dozen, though, so be prepared to start a few unfinished projects or lose your train of thought mid-sentence. The sustained euphoria and blind interest fit both indoors and outdoors, but be careful about smoking Sudz before bedtime. Without distractions or stimulation, the active high often takes my brain down uncomfortable memory lane.


Where to find it: We’ve seen Sudz at the Center, Colorado Harvest Company, Den-Rec, Green Dragon, Green Valley Dispensary, Kind Care of Colorado, LivWell Enlightened Health, Magnolia Road Cannabis Co., Oasis Cannabis Superstores, PotCo, Rocky Road, Solace Meds, Star Buds and Trees, but more stores carry it or soon will, hopefully. Boulder Built, in collaboration with genetics provider Say Trees, has an incredible cut of Sudz out right now, and Veritas Fine Cannabis has also grown the strain. Sunshine Extracts makes a handful of Sudz variants in rosin form, too, including Rainbow Sudz and Wesley Sudz. I haven’t tried the Veritas version yet, but Boulder Built’s Say Trees collab is a home run, and easily worth the $40 for an eighth.

Colorado discontinues traceability tags with RFID chips for cannabis operators

By MJBizDaily Staff
December 8, 2023 – Updated December 8, 2023

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Recently passed rules in Colorado could save cannabis operators in the market tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in track-and trace-compliance costs and might also lead to the replacement of Metrc as the state’s traceability provider.

According to rules that were adopted Nov. 9 and take effect Jan. 8, Colorado marijuana businesses will no longer be required to use seed-to-sale tracking tags that include RFID (radio frequency identification) chips, Denver TV station KMGH first reported.

While the new rules eliminate RFID requirements, they still mandate that cannabis companies use an “inventory tracking system,” Shannon Gray, a spokesperson for Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED), told MJBizDaily in a statement.

The RFID tags previously required by Colorado regulators cost 25-45 cents each, depending on the type of tag.

Different tags are used for different phases in the plant or product life cycle.

Those pennies add up. For example, according to data from Colorado’s MED, there were 1,029,683 plants in the state in September, which would translate into RFID tag costs of $257,420-$463,357.

Marijuana cultivator Jon Spadafora of Veritas Fine Cannabis in Colorado told KMGH that his business’ RFID costs are in the low six digits.

Without the chip requirement in Colorado, tags likely would cost significantly less.

What is not clear is if or when Metrc will start producing new, less expensive, chip-free tags RFID tags.

Colorado, like most markets with a regulated marijuana industry, requires operators to use a state-mandated seed-to-sale traceability system for cannabis plants to guard against diversion and facilitate recalls.

Florida-based Metrc has secured the track-and-trace contracts in a number of legal marijuana markets.

Colorado’s rule change could mean more competition for Metrc when it vies for a new contract with the state after the current deal expires in October 2026.

“By removing the reference to RFID and replacing it with ‘inventory tracking system’ language throughout the rules,” the MED’s Gray told MJBizDaily, “the Division is broadening the future competitive solicitation that would allow for other vendors that do not couple their inventory tracking system with RFID to be considered as part of that procurement process.

“We hope that this initial step in rulemaking will allow for a more competitive contract process as we begin to prepare for an open, competitive solicitation leading up to October 2026, when the current vendor contract will expire.”

Cannabis rule change could help Colorado businesses save money

Starting in January, Colorado cannabis licensees will no longer have to use tracking tags that feature RFID chips.


Starting in January, Colorado cannabis licensees will no longer have to use tracking tags that feature RFID chips.

By: Jessica Crawford

Posted at 6:24 AM, Dec 07, 2023

and last updated 6:24 AM, Dec 07, 2023

DENVER — Cannabis companies in Colorado just got a little more control over how their products are regulated.

Current Colorado law states cannabis licensees are required to use tags with Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chips to track everything from when the seed is first planted to when the good is packaged for sale. Under new rules adopted by the state in November, Colorado cannabis licensees will no longer have to use tags with RFID chips inside of them beginning January 8, 2024

Cannabis cultivator Jon Spadafora of Veritas Fine Cannabis said removing the RFID chips from inside the tag could help his business’s bottom line.

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“Depending on where they’re at in the plant’s life cycle, they’re 25 to 45 cents per tag,” said Spadafora. “A facility like this, it’s in the low six figures on an annual basis.”

That’s why Ripple, a Colorado-based edibles brand co-founded by Missy Bradley, proposed the rule changes.

“We could be producing more product,” said Bradley. “We could be paying employees more. There are all sorts of ways that we could put that money to use should we not have to spend it on RFID tags.”

Shannon Donnelly, a cannabis professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver and cannabis operations consultant, explained RFID tags were first introduced to help with regulation.

“We do it for consumer safety,” said Donnelly. “So if there is an issue at a grow… RFID tracking allows us to actually go to the dispensary level, and show these amounts of people purchased this much product.”

Donnelly said there are several other ways for regulators to track cannabis in Colorado that are used much more frequently than RFID chips. Cannabis companies like Veritas argue consumer safety won’t be affected by the new rules because RFID technology has been used infrequently in Colorado.

Donnelly said cannabis businesses can continue to use the tags they have with RFID chips inside of them for the next six months. After that, business owners are hoping to save money on new tags that don’t contain RFID chips.

METRC tags

METRC, which creates the tags with the RFID chips inside, has a no-bid contract with Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division. For that reason, Colorado cannabis licensees will have to deal with METRC indefinitely, even with the rule change.

“Hopefully on the next time they purchase tags, they would be at a lower price because there’s no RFID tracking requirement. But it depends on when METRC begins developing tags for the Colorado market that do not have the RFID tracking with them,” said Donnelly.

In a statement, the Florida-based company touted the benefits of RFID technology.

“RFID technology stands at the forefront of revolutionizing supply chains. By offering RFID-enabled tags, Metrc empowers regulatory agencies and industry licensees alike. For regulators, RFID signifies efficiency, enabling faster audits, automating compliance monitoring, and ultimately reducing the time spent ensuring compliance in facilities. For the operators, RFID can be a cornerstone technology, streamlining inventory management, enhancing asset tracking, and automating compliance processes. In a recent interview conducted by Trym, a Colorado cultivator reduced data and reporting times by over 80% through RFID implementation.

RFID doesn’t just benefit regulators and businesses; it’s a lifeline for consumer safety. Accurate product tracking ensures that consumers have access to safe, legitimate cannabis products. The unique identifiers on RFID tags authenticate products, assuring consumers that they are purchasing genuine, quality-tested items from licensed sources. Rapid response to recalls, deterrence of theft, and stringent quality control are all made possible through the unique identification capabilities of RFID tags. It’s a shield, ensuring that consumers can trust the products they purchase.

At its core, the purpose of RFID is to help shape an industry that’s efficient, compliant, and ready for the future. As technology advances, RFID keeps pace, integrating seamlessly with AI innovations and other untapped potentials. Metrc stands by RFID as the catalyst for this transformative journey, driving the sector toward a future defined by efficiency, precision, innovation, and sustainable growth.”

Denver7 reached out to METRC to ask when it will start making tags without RFID chips and how much the new tags would cost Colorado cannabis businesses, but have not received a response as of publication.


Copyright 2023 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Are Older Cannabis Strains Making a Comeback?

Most growers never stop loving their OGs and Diesels.

By Herbert Fuego

December 5, 2023

Cartoon stoner smokes a joint


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Dear Stoner: Are older strains making a comeback? I saw Sour Diesel and Grapefruit in a Denver dispensary yesterday, and it felt like 2014 again.

Garden Groover

Dear Garden Groover: Don’t call it a comeback; they’ve been here for years. Well, actually, maybe you can call it a comeback in evolved legal markets. Commercial demands and growing schedules pushed out Colorado’s weed genetics from the 2010s, like Cough and a very long list of Hazes, which didn’t bloom fast enough or had subpar THC potency for today’s inflated expectations. Not only that, but the legal pot industry quickly faced trend issues similar to that of craft beer, which spiraled out of control with elaborate pastry stouts and milkshake IPAs. Today’s dispensary shoppers want weed that smells like candy or Fruity Pebbles instead of anything gassy.

Sour Diesel is making a comeback in Denver, much thanks to growers like Meraki and Single Source.

Flickr/Furvert 101

“No one is bragging about breeding with Sour Diesel,” Veritas Fine Cannabis co-founder and longtime grower Mike Leibowitz once told us, “because that’s what they did eight years ago. If you’re coming out of the gate as your own flower company right now, you’re probably not leading the news with Sour Diesel at this point.”

Leibowitz was right, but he also pointed out that real growers never stop loving their OGs and Diesels. Most of them have been patiently breeding and pheno-hunting with different genetics that combine older sensory qualities with more modern yields; some growers simply hold on to older strains for when the time is right. We’re now seeing Blue Dream, Sour Diesel and Durban Poison return to the flower shelf as a result, and it’s largely paying off.


I’m still waiting to see Hazes again, though. Fingers crossed.

Send questions to marijuana@westword.com.

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Why Colorado Tokers Love Red Bullz

Original article link: www.westword.com/marijuana/red-bullz-strain-review-18260169

So much for expectations.

By Herbert Fuego

November 22, 2023

Red Bullz wasn't as uplifting as anticipated, but it showcased an intriguing side to grape flavor.

Red Bullz wasn’t as uplifting as anticipated, but it showcased an intriguing side to grape flavor. Herbert Fuego

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Red Bull has a seemingly endless budget for fun. It dominates Formula 1, sponsors athletes in everything from aerobatic flying to wind surfing, and has one of the craziest Instagram pages known to humankind — which is exactly why I’ll never drink it. How cheap can an energy drink be for one company to afford all of that extracurricular activity?

Conspiracy theories aside, I was more than happy to try a cannabis variety named after Red Bull. Finding decent new daytime strains is getting harder by the day in this commercial climate, especially as customers flock toward more relaxing highs in the winter. I always want something in my stash that gets me lifted and motivated in the afternoon, though, and Red Bullz, a hybrid of Grape Gas and White Runtz, sounds like a strain laced with sugar and taurine.

So much for expectations.

Although Red Bullz will more than satisfy dispensary shoppers in search of colorful bag appeal, the rush was mediocre at best, and my focus was weaker than I’d anticipated. While that doesn’t mean the strain is without merit or can’t help you float through the day, I want to be flying on all cylinders after smoking something named Red Bullz. A short-lived sugar rush isn’t good enough.


If Red Bullz were named something like “Grape Taffy,” then I’d probably be more impressed by the strain, because this flavorful mix of grapes, citric acid and gas is one of my favorite candy-forward smokes so far. The high is jovial enough and even capable of bouts of creativity — but chances are good you’ll forget that incredible thought before acting on it, and even if you don’t, Red Bullz’ wings evaporate just as fast as they appear. Keep real caffeine ready after smoking it, or you’ll be headed for the couch soon enough.

Looks: Red Bullz is often more violet than green, with thin, wispy trichomes and orange-brown pistils playing a beautiful contrast against the deeply purple calyxes. The buds have a candy appeal the moment you lay eyes on them, and the aroma backs it up.

Smell: Sweet notes of artificial grape candy or soda play well with a chemical-heavy diesel scent at the beginning. The back end is a little spicier, with hints of tropical fruit, too, giving Red Bullz somewhat of a punch-y, sangria quality.

Flavor: Fruit and candy characteristics are easy to find in Red Bullz. Hints of apples, grapes and a mango-papaya aftertaste are all common and often amped up thanks to a sweet acidity that attacks the sides of the tongue. Gassy, spicy flavors jump in toward the end.

Effects: Red Bullz brings a 50/50 high instead of an energetic buzz. It won’t bring you down unless you’re already tired to begin with, though, and the physical effects make me feel more warm and loose than sleepy. Focusing on simple tasks is easy, and sparks of creativity can fly, as well. Still, the inability to multi-task or sustain energy longer than ninety minutes makes it difficult to rely on Red Bullz before 5 p.m.

Where to find it: We’ve spotted Red Bullz at Berkeley Dispensary, Cherry Peak, Colorado Harvest Company, Green Tree Medicinals, the Herbal Center, Kind Meds, Lowell Gardens, Magnolia Road Cannabis Co., Nature’s Medicine, RiNo Supply Co., Rocky Mountain Cannabis, Strawberry Fields, Twin Peaks Dispensary and Verts Neighborhood Dispensary so far, but more stores probably carry it.

The Frost Collective, Higher Function and Veritas Fine Cannabis, which also grows for the Compound Genetics label, all have different versions of Red Bullz flower in dispensaries right now, while Fuego sells pre-rolls of the strain, too. The Veritas and Compound cuts are essentially the same and provide a solid toke and photo-worthy nugs at $30 an eighth or less. However, Higher Function’s has a slightly better cure.

Is there a strain you’d like to see profiled? Email marijuana@westword.com.



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cannabis world news promos strain reports packaging for Veritas cannabis products

It’s a Sativa by nature, but sometimes it feels more Indica-leaning- but certainly not like hybrids… It reminds me of the fine cannabis that I used to get in southern Maine back in the mid-1980s. This was when I first discovered really fine East Coast weed. I was reared on mostly West Coast flowers early on. It was that or the “whatever we could get,” which was nothing to write home about in the 1970s and 1980s. Unfortunately for me, whatever we could get still remains vivid in my imagination; it was that brick stuff, brown and pressed. But the strains that taught me something were grown by really passionate people who loved the plant.

Smoking these early craft strains was like nothing I had ever experienced before, especially since the overall quality level of the swag I’d get in NJ was pretty low in the 1970s! This was until someone introduced me to New York Sour Diesel at a nightclub in NYC circa the mid-1980s. Nothing else smelled like that. Like sour cream, lemon curd, European gasoline, and roasted orange zest. To this very day, every time I smell Sour Diesel or the myriad of incarnates, I’m blasted back to that first hit of Sour Diesel and my experience of that day, so many years ago.

The Veritas Cannabis Sour Diesel reminds me of the years of wandering on the streets in Boston if you knew the right people of course… It’s what we smoked during weekends up in the New Hampshire mountains or up on MDI in Maine. It was this famous, now infamous Sour Diesel—probably grown in Western Massachusetts—or otherwise it was Blueberry, from Southern Maine. And that was it. And I’m pretty happy of those years of smoking flowers that remind me now of those years because they were formative in my experience of smoking truly gourmet/craft cannabis. Something that would follow me forward. This is quite important to me.

Every time that I smoke Sour Diesel I’m brought back to a day before yesterday, and it forces me to re-examine the flavors that are known as the classics. What Veritas has achieved is remarkable in this regard. I would like to make mention of a couple things before I dive into the tasting notes. Cannabis that is grown and cured in high altitude and dry places like Colorado, New Mexico, and Nevada…smoking this cannabis I’ve discovered a big something shocking. (At least to me…) I react far differently with cannabis grown and cured at sea level. It’s just a different experience. I’ve done some experimentation on this axiom, purchased cannabis that has been grown at 6000 ft plus and opened the container at nearly sea level with lots of New Jersey humidity filling the room, well it’s an entirely different experience. In a plus way, certainly not a minus way.

Something biophysical takes place by growing and curing in a carefully engineered humidity adjusted space, but what I experienced at sea level was something completely different. I’m very impressed by the flavor and terpenes I sensed at 650 ft. instead of 6500 ft. The cannabis almost reacted like cryo-cured flower, dried, perfectly cured, and aged in a fraction of the time, leaving an end result that is encapsulated in time and space. And when I smoked it at 650 ft. with lots of humidity? What I experience is bliss…

Veritas Fine Cannabis: Sour Diesel

Nose: It’s that baby skunk that’s lurking under your bedroom window. Someone stuck a couple gallons of buttermilk under there too, the sour-lactate rich liquid is stuck up inside my nose. Coming into view, snapping a canna-flower in my fingers, I smell crushed, juniper wood smoked chiles, a tangle of caramelized lemongrass shards and slivers of just snipped back yard chives, sauteed in brown butter. This is friendly cannabis that layers the inside of my head with softly folded whipped cream and unleashes the nasal driven memories that say springtime in Portland, Maine-1986. The overall nose is sometimes salty, sometimes sweet, sometimes sour, leading into the funky, but certainly- always memorable.

Mouthfeel: Veritas in Colorado has re-created the classic mouthfeel of Sour Diesel that some would say exemplify the early cannabis strains like New York Sour Diesel. Laden with European Petrol, Kerosene, and Baby Skunk, it’s unmistakable. Others say the classic Sour Diesel smells like citrus juices and cracked white pepper. I think it’s a combination of Pan-Asian spices, baby skunk and kerosine lamp oil. Citrus oils and the act of licking wet shells at the beach in the summer make your palate sing.

Veritas Sour Diesel unlocks my mind after inhalation. Remarkable in the depth of the experience. The mouthfeel is rich, savory, and full-bodied. After a couple small hits, I’m ready to experience the Veritas Sour Diesel in my Chill Bong- instead of my usual one hitter. The reason why I want to share the Chill Bong with you is the cooling experience that you feel when using this masterful piece of cannabis accoutrement.

Stone: This is not cannabis for the beginner. Of course, you have to start on the really strong stuff in your own way, but the pro-tip is take your time. There is no rush in cannabis, all those magical cultivars, so many that I forget which one is my favorite. I will say that Sour Diesel of Veritas Fine Cannabis is elegant and charming. It also gets me to another place with alacrity. There is no lack of amusement when imbibing Sour Diesel from Veritas Fine Cannabis. This is a Sativa that acts to help you get the job done. Scrub the tub, wash all the kitchen floors, take out the trash that is lurking in the hallway. There aren’t enough hours in the day because you’ll be full of steam to get all the things behind you and still other tasks to be hatched.

If Veritas Sour Diesel doesn’t take you to the next Bardo, I don’t know what will. Ok, you may not discover DF Tram on your own personal musical journey, but it did stimulate your inquisitive nature. This nug of perfectly cured cannabis is the Sour Diesel of my dreams. It takes me places that money can’t buy. Experience gleaned from emotion and being able to taste great cannabis like Veritas teaches me lessons not yet taught.


Photo Credit: Warren Bobrow

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Warren Bobrow has been a dishwasher, the owner of the first company to make fresh pasta in South Carolina , a television engineer and he even worked at Danceteria in NYC, then a trained chef which led to a twenty year career in private banking. A cannabis, wine and travel aficionado, Warren is a former rum judge and craft spirits national brand ambassador. He works full time in the cannabis business as an alchemist/journalist. Cocktailwhisperer.com Drinkklaus.com Instagram: warrenbobrow http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Warren_Bobrow

Why Colorado Tokers Love Gastro Pop

The high is quite uplifting if you can manage the munchies.

By Herbert Fuego

October 25, 2023

Gastro Pop turns everyday lunch hunger into desert island starvation.

Gastro Pop turns everyday lunch hunger into desert island starvation. Herbert Fuego

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There’s a sect of people who believe that all ailments can be cured with proper gut bacteria. I’m not here to dispute that notion; yogurt is fantastic. But probiotic drinks or sea moss probably won’t be part of my diet any time soon. Besides, I don’t need help with an upset stomach now that I have Gastro Pop.

Give a seldom smoker a bong hit, and chances are they’ll want to mow down a sandwich or bag of chips. Give them a rip of Gastro Pop, and you’ll have no choice but to find a buffet. This accurately named hybrid of Apples and Bananas and Grape Gasoline can make stomachs growl thirty minutes after lunch and turns an everyday appetite into desert island starvation. Such munchies are divisive among the joint circle unless they’re expected, but we’re about to reach bulking season, so get that frozen pizza ready.

Ignorant to its other effects, I waited a while to smoke Gastro Pop on a legitimately full stomach, but then quickly discovered an energetic, creative and talkative side to the high. Still, the munchies become so strong that all of these social and uplifting effects will be reduced to side effects unless a proper amount of protein is in my belly. Besides Gastro Pop’s obvious ability to induce hunger or gluttony — which is going to come in handy for Thanksgiving — I’ll be keeping it around for after-dinner walks and adventures.

Looks: Compact and covered in blue and purple spots, Gastro Pop is modern, striking, and screams “couch lock” to most users. The plant itself is even more intimidating, with purple fan leaves and bulky buds that look stacked on top of each other. Don’t let its vivid colors and trichome coverage scare you away during the day, though.


Smell: A blast of overripe fruit, rubber and spicy wood comes first, but on further inspection of Gastro Pop, I notice clearer hints of apples, berries and a subtle chemical undertone. It’s an invigorating smell, to say the least, similar to white wine or funky cider.

Flavor: Despite all of its characteristics, Gastro Pop is quite balanced and very enjoyable. Its sweeter flavors shine at first, with hints of everything from apples to grapes to strawberries noticeable up front. Spicy, gassy notes appear toward the end of the hit, but a funky, almost fizzy taste takes over after the exhale.

Effects: Eat a hearty meal before smoking Gastro Pop, and you’ll likely find the high refreshing and focused, which is great for a daytime session. At night, it can even be somewhat of an aphrodisiac if you’re lucky enough to have a pot-smoking partner — yet every time I smoke it on anything close to an empty stomach, I become Jabba the Hutt. Hunger, curiosity and social interest are all heightened after smoking Gastro Pop, but the hunger can dominate the experience if you’re not careful.

Where to find it: We’ve seen Gastro Pop at Berkeley Dispensary, Boulder Wellness Cannabis Co., Callie’s Cannabis Shoppe, Cherry Peak Dispensary, Colorado Harvest Company, Emerald Fields, Frost Exotic, Green Dragon, the Green Solution, Jars Cannabis, Life Flower Dispensary, the Lodge, Magnolia Road Cannabis Co., Medicine Man, Native Roots, Oasis Cannabis Superstores, Park Hill Gardens, Pig ’N’ Whistle, Rocky Mountain Cannabis, Rocky Road, Social Cannabis, Solace Meds, Star Buds, Strawberry Fields and Trees Dispensary, but more stores likely carry it, given the growers who have taken on the strain.

Boulder Built, Super Farm and Veritas Fine Cannabis all grow Gastro Pop flower right now, while Callie’s Cannabis Shoppe has an in-house take on the strain. Extractors Billo and Dadirri make concentrated versions of Gastro Pop for dispensaries, as well. Boulder Built’s dark, resin-glazed flower has been my favorite way to enjoy Gastro Pop so far, but I haven’t taken a dab of Billo’s wax yet.

Doodle Artist Joe Palec Combines Halloween and Cannabis

Palec’s new vape battery is full of cannabis and scary movie references.

By Thomas Mitchell

October 27, 2023

After working in the cannabis industry for years, Joe Palec is now illustrating it.

After working in the cannabis industry for years, Joe Palec is now illustrating it. Joe Palec

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As both an artist for hire and the delivery coordinator for THC vape company O.pen, Joe Palec has never minded mixing his two passions. Cannabis brands like the Mile High 420 Festival, Colorado Harvest Company, Good Chemistry, Groovy Gravy, Police & Thieves, Herbs4You and Veritas Fine Cannabis have all commissioned illustrations from Palec, but his art hasn’t been used on any dispensary products from his day-job company — until now.

O.pen’s Haunted Feast Battery, a standard hash pen battery now for sale in Colorado dispensaries, is full of cannabis and scary movie references, from Chemdog mad scientists to Strawberry Cheesecake coffins, all done by Palec. The collaboration “was a long time coming,” Palec says, and he’s excited to share his doodle-like illustrations with fellow dabbers this fall. In this interview, he shares more about his monster-mashing illustrations and how he combines drawing and cannabis.

Westword: What’s your legal-cannabis origin story?

Joe Palec: I moved here in 2011. I instantly got a medical card and started working at Jimmy John’s on the 16th Street Mall, back before the mall was what it is today. I would make these mini Jimmy John’s sandwiches, walk down the mall and remind people to get their lunch and catering there. I’d also go into the [now-closed] Native Roots off 16th Street every other day with free sandwiches, and they started remembering my name. One day they asked me if I wanted to be a sign spinner, so I put in my two weeks at Jimmy John’s that day.

From there I became a trimmer and budtender at Native Roots, then I moved over to Pink House and Verde Natural, and then I got an offer to be on O.pen’s marketing street team. Then I was in customer service, became a sales rep, and now I’m a delivery supervisor.


That’s quite the journey. How were you able to gain momentum as an artist while working in cannabis?

Well, I was an art school dropout in Wisconsin. After that, I was given the option of sticking with school and transferring to somewhere else, like Milwaukee, or move in with my mom in Colorado. Are you kidding? I went to Colorado.

Not to sound cocky or pretentious, but I’ve always been good at drawing. I never thought I could make a career out of it, especially when I was at art school. They really beat you down there and say you’re not going to succeed. It’s rough. But my drawing became kind of a party trick, and my friends really pushed me to do more and said I was good at this. So I entered some contests, ended up working for a few companies, and then decided to take the leap and get a studio in the Santa Fe Art District. I’ve since been able to work with the Selfie Museum  — they have flown me all across the country to do murals for them — and for a popular toy brand called Kendama Co., and for other brands like Deep Eddy Vodka and a lot of cannabis brands.

O.pen’s Haunted Feast battery is for sale through November.

O.pen Vape

The cannabis industry seems like a fertile space for local and up-and-coming artists. Is that accurate?

Definitely — and it’s not just me. I can’t think of another industry that is so open-arms for local artists and taking big swings on artists. The only thing remotely close I can think of is craft brewery cans, but when you have to start diving into corporate crafted design and these deeply scientific logos — no. No, the cannabis space is talking to artists and getting their work out there.

How would you describe your work? I’ve heard some Where’s Waldo comparisons.

It’s doodling. Doodling and line work. It’s something that I’ve always enjoyed, but it’s been cool to see how popular it is right now. Once I started networking and had a presence on Instagram, I realized there were so many other artists out there doing stuff like this.

Are there hidden references in your professional doodles?

It’s all Easter eggs. If you look at my designs from afar, it just looks like a bunch of doodles. Then you look closer and realize every piece has a story, and it flows into another element of greater design. I think of everything I do as an Easter egg, or hidden — except people are always looking for the penises…they’re not in there! Not purposefully, anyway.

What are some hidden references or characters in your Haunted Feast Battery?

O.pen’s first prompt was a Halloween battery, and Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. They wanted to include certain strains, and they wanted it to be a dinner scene. So I went with a haunted feast or dinner party, which was really fun and easy. I watched all of the Addams Family movies, Hotel Transylvania and Scooby-Doo, just to get some influences going, and I was really inspired by M.C. Escher. I wanted things to pop and come out of the dinner table, so on the battery you’ll see strain references like a Chem Dog — which is a dog in a lab coat — as well as Strawberry Cheesecake coffin slices and a Wednesday Addams Apple.

This one came easy, honestly. Maybe five years ago if they had asked to do this, I’d be sweating bullets, but I’ve had so much practice with this now. These batteries really are a great canvas to do things seasonally and keep it fresh — and it’s so easy to lose things, so it’s a trip down memory lane when you find a Halloween battery in your couch.

How does it feel to drop off gear at dispensaries with your artwork on it? Do you ever mention it when trying to sell products?

In that scenario, I don’t talk about who I am. At the end of the day, I’m modest about my artwork, and these are people I work with and see every day — but for lack of a better term, it does feel really cool. It feels good to know that there are batteries out there with my work on it, and it’s been one of our top-selling devices in October. Anybody can take one of my designs and slap it on a battery, and that’s that. But O.pen has been very nice about my brand awareness, and I appreciate how they celebrate the artists behind the art. 

Wholesale cannabis prices rise in key states, but downward pressure expected

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By Kate Robertson, Writer
September 25, 2023

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It’s the FINAL COUNTDOWN on MJBizCon savings. Get your tickets by Thursday Sept. 28 for the 12th annual cannabis business conference, Nov. 29-Dec. 1 in Las Vegas.

Image of an indoor cannabis grow

(Photo by Kim/stock.adobe.com)

Wholesale cannabis prices stabilized or rebounded in some key markets through the summer, but cultivators should brace for renewed downward pressure as the fall harvest boosts inventories through the end of the year, experts say.

Chalk it up to simple supply-and-demand dynamics.


“Over the course of this month, you start to see a huge buildup of inventory across the industry,” Ben Burstein, strategist at New York-based wholesale cannabis platform LeafLink, told MJBizDaily in an interview.

“You start to get huge surpluses of excess product, and at these times, especially around the harvest season, it causes big price declines.”

Data collected in 13 states by the LeafLink platform shows that after months of record-breaking lows, wholesale marijuana flower prices have stabilized in a few key, older markets such as California and Michigan.

Producers in the states, who have long struggled with low prices, will benefit, while retailers already face higher costs.

Stores were paying 29%-plus more in August year-over-year for wholesale cannabis flower in California because the amount of licensed square footage has dropped by more than 15%, Burstein said.

Prices in Michigan rebounded by 19% since the end of 2022 and were up by more than 4% compared to a year ago as the number of marijuana retail outlets expanded and authorities cracked down on illicit sales.

Flower prices in Oklahoma and Oregon, which have reported some of the lowest wholesale cannabis prices in the United States, increased by more than 7% and 5%, respectively, versus a year ago.

Overall prices in the 13 states tracked across LeafLink’s platform were up by 4% year-over-year in August 2023 and 15% compared to the end of 2022.

But price compression amid a glut of inventory continues to be a challenge for wholesalers in most states.

Connecticut-based wholesale marijuana data and analysis company Cannabis Benchmarks wrote in a recent blog post that prices have hit a “historic low,” with the spot index reaching only $936 per pound – a 7.3% decline from September 2022.

Market maturity and seasonality

Burstein said very little is surprising about the wholesale cannabis price data that LeafLink collects.

“All states follow a relatively similar path in terms of the growth of a cannabis program and ultimately how the market matures,” he said.

When medical marijuana programs launch, the price per pound of cannabis flower can be as high as $7,000-$10,000, he said.


As cultivators ramp up capacity and production to take advantage of higher prices and more growers become licensed – often to serve new adult-use marijuana markets and take advantage of higher prices – prices decline.

Wholesale cannabis prices rose in Maryland, for example, by more than 40% from August 2022 to August 2023.

Adult-use sales launched in July.

Rebecca Raphael, the chief revenue officer at Curio Wellness, a Baltimore-based vertically integrated operator, wrote in an email to MJBizDaily that inflation contributed to oversupply at the company four months ago when the state was still medical-only.

In short, medical consumers, squeezed by rising costs, were spending less each week, she said.

“Now in an adult-use market, where we expected normalization due to increased demand, it appears that other licensees have over-forecasted the size of the Maryland market and continue to dump flower in an effort to right-size their inventory,” Raphael said.

Curio is at full capacity and has no plans to expand, she said.

In Missouri, where adult-use sales launched in February, wholesale cannabis flower prices rose from roughly $1,500 per pound in the final quarter of 2022 to more than $2,000 per pound in August.

Rightsizing supply and demand

Colorado had the lowest wholesale marijuana prices in the country in August at $810 per pound, according to LeafLink data.

“Pricing has held consistency since early summer, but dispensary traffic is down and we are seeing store partners run sales more frequently than we used to,” Jon Spadafora, president of Colorado-based Veritas Fine Cannabis, told MJBizDaily via email.

Cultivators have reduced their planting schedules, he said, but a lot of wholesale product is still available – and prices are still weak.

As times get more difficult, the industry will see producers making wild deals to keep their lights on, which brings down pricing across the market.”

Arizona’s massive greenhouses oversupplied the market through 2021 and 2022, LeafLink’s Burstein said, but prices were up slightly in August, year-over-year, by more than 2%.

Eric Offenberger, CEO of Arizona-based vertically integrated cannabis company Vext Science, told MJBizDaily that’s why he and his team chose to strategically shift their focus from wholesale cannabis flower sales.

They sell the company’s cultivated products through owned retail channels instead.

“We made the determination that we didn’t want to be a [flower] wholesaler,” he said. “We wanted our supply to match our demand.”

Wholesale cannabis in the Massachusetts market is also rightsizing after losing cross-border shoppers from states that have now legalized marijuana, such as Connecticut, New York and Vermont, Burstein said.

According to Burstein, the portion of total sales from out-of-state buyers dropped from 25% to closer to 10%-15%.

As a result, wholesale marijuana prices declined by more than 18% since the end of last year and more than 27% since August 2022.

“Massachusetts, compared to Arizona, is much more of a demand-driven story,” Burstein said.

Flower in Massachusetts is largely grown indoors. In states where outdoor grows are more common, July and August tend to have the highest prices.

Burstein said to expect declines through the latter half of the year.

“Almost all pricing declines in cannabis happen between the harvest and then the early months of the spring,” he said, “when a lot of that product availability has been used and sold.”

Kate Robertson can be reached at kate.robertson@mjbizdaily.com.

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