January 4, 2022

High Country: The top 10 cannabis strains of 2021

Smokey Town, the Roaring Fork Valley’s resource for expert reviews, shares their picks.

Marijuana MARIJUANA | December 31, 2021 Katie Shapiro
High Country

Shift by Dalwhinnie Farms
Courtesy Dalwhinnie Farms

The annual onslaught of “best of” lists that hit our newsfeeds every December has arrived, but most of them still don’t feel quite right as the pandemic lingers over a second ski season. After another challenging year for most of us, one top 10 list that can help? The best cannabis.

In 2018, High Country met Smokey Town (smokey.town), a Basalt-based startup that provides an in-depth database of reviews for cannabis varietals found on-shelf at dispensaries from Aspen to Glenwood Springs. Since its launch, it remains the most thorough resource for finding the cream of the local crop.

Smokey Town’s co-founders, who’ve requested anonymity from the beginning, reflected, “2021 was a year for wellness and terpenes. Some of the ways growers are working with plant genetics to bring out specific scents and flavors are simply out of this world. We saw (area cannabis companies) taking more control of their inventory and how it’s displayed, portrayed and stored.”

Working with a roster of more than 20 partners and expert judges year-round, Smokey Town scours eve-ry dispensary to compile detailed effect information after every session. There are currently close to 300 strain reviews available and subscribers of the Smokey Town e-newsletter receive an update in their in-box as soon as a new strain is added to the database.

“Packaging has also gotten more elevated with beautiful glass containers, which helps the flower cure better — if you ever get headaches after smoking, (that means) it has a bad, less-than-fresh cure,” added the Smokey Town team. “Labels are increasingly important, too, and carefully educate the consumers on the potential benefits of each strain. We’ve seen transactions move faster (in-store) with pre-packaged products. And Colorado budtenders brought in another year of record sales.”

According to the Colorado Department of Revenue’s (CDOR) latest marijuana sales, tax and fee revenue report released earlier this month, $1.9 billion of cannabis was sold from January to October of 2021 with $11.88 billion in total sales since adult-use was legalized in 2014. CDOR accounted for $392.9 million received in taxes and fees during the same period in 2021, which is allocated to health care, health edu-cation, substance abuse prevention, treatment programs and law enforcement.

Tax revenue comes collectively from the state sales tax (2.9%), the state retail marijuana sales tax (15%) on retail marijuana sold in stores and the state retail marijuana excise tax (15%) on wholesale or transfers of retail marijuana; fee revenue comes from marijuana license and application fees.

As we wind down 2021, we turned to Smokey Town again for High Country’s fourth annual top 10 rank-ings of the best strains they smoked this year — and where to shop for them in the Roaring Fork Valley.


Type: Indica Hybrid

Benefits: Relaxing, pain, migraine and anxiety relief

Shop: Dalwhinnie Farms, 108 S. Mill St., Aspen, 970-429-8830, dalwhinnie.com


Type: Sativa

Benefits: Productivity, inspiration, creativity and engaged focus

Shop: The Green Joint, 720 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, 970-925- 6468, thegreenjoint.com


Type: Sativa

Benefits: Uplifting, engaged focus, smile- and euphoria-inducing

Shop: Roots Rx, 400 E. Hyman Ave., Aspen, 970-900-9333, rootsrxstores.com


Type: Hybrid

Benefits: Energizing and social

Shop: Silverpeak, 520 E. Cooper Ave., Aspen, 970-925-4372, silverpeakcannabis.com

5. MAI TAI #4

Type: Indica

Benefits: Carefree mindset, stress and tension relief

Shop: Best Day Ever, 520 E. Cooper Ave., Aspen, 970-429-8637, bestdayevercannabis.com


Type: Hybrid

Benefits: Relaxation and pain relief

Shop: Tumbleweed, 304 CO-133, Carbondale, 970-510-3065, tumbleweed420.com


Type: Sativa Hybrid

Benefits: Energizing, happy mindset, stress and headache relief

Shop: Rocky Mountain High, 615 Buggy Circle, Carbondale, 970-963- 4669, rockymountainhigh.co


Type: Sativa Hybrid

Benefits: Joyous mindset, social and celebratory

Shop: The Green Joint, 720 E. Durant Ave., Aspen, 970-925-6468, thegreenjoint.com


Type: Sativa Hybrid

Benefits: Energizing and motivating

Shop: Native Roots, 308 S. Hunter St., Aspen, 970-429-4443, nativerootscannabis.com


Type: Hybrid

Benefits: Carefree mindset and lightweight for the occasional or new smoker

Shop: Dalwhinnie Farms, 108 S. Mill St., Aspen, 970-429-8830, dalwhinnie.com

Katie Shapiro can be reached at katie@katieshapiromedia.com and followed on Twitter @bykatieshapiro.

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