Ask Your Budtender First



All photos via Shutterstock

I went to a legal pot dispensary in Denver this summer. Marijuana, you’ve no doubt heard, is a hot commodity in Colorado. The dispensary reminded me of the Long Branch Saloon on the long-playing television series Gunsmoke (1955-1975). Miss Kitty traded gossip in the saloon with U.S. Marshall Matt Dillon and Doc Adams but kept a close eye on the brothel upstairs.

The skunky aroma of marijuana distinguished the pot dispensary from the Long Branch Saloon. No stench of stale cigars or whiskey in the pot dispensary. Though the Gunsmoke cowboys packed six-shooters, no one was caught dead huffing a one-hitter in the Long Branch Saloon—or in the pot dispensary, for that matter.

In Denver, a nice hostess took my driver’s license and told me to wait downstairs. Someone upstairs would come for me in a few minutes, she said.

I sat waiting with a half-dozen men and women— a melting pot of ages, colors and piercings—staring warily at one another. Were they thinking the same thing I was: What would my mother have thought if she knew I was shopping for pot?

I was called upstairs to the showroom ten minutes later. A clean-cut and clear-eyed 20-something budtender answered my naïve questions with short, crisp answers.

There was no specific strain recommended for M.S. (my affliction), but there are Cannabis sativa strains, containing lower percentages of the psychoactive tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) crossed with Cannabis indica that contain more of the beneficial, and non-mind altering cannabidiol (CBD). Various hybrids, loaded with CBD, reduce anxiety and induce a good night’s sleep.

I was recommended a starter sampler of Cannabis hybrid buds (one-gram quantities each) of three different strains. My budtender also suggested a few edibles.

And how, I asked, could I smuggle cannabis buds or edibles back to Kentucky?

“I don’t know,” she said. No doubt, the same line was recited to other paranoid, out-of-state patrons who have watched Midnight Express too many times.

There were customers waiting downstairs.

Wham-bam, thank you ma’am!

I was hurried along.

The legal pot dispensaries are not in the business of advising smugglers.

Good thing.

I didn’t want to get busted on the airport tarmac in Louisville, on my return, with illegal Cannabis-enriched, edible gummies strapped to my waist.


    • Thanks, Susan. It was an interesting Perennial Plant Association meeting this July… Besides, those of us who were dabbling recreationally, there were great gardens and nurseries to visit, plus two very interesting talks on Cannabis. One was about Colorado’s licensed Cannabis production. (Leafly has a very comprehensive website for lots of strains for every imaginable purpose.) The 2nd talk was on legal hemp production. Cannabis has produced significant tax revenues. Someone closer to the action could explain the pros and cons.

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