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February’s Best Bud of the Month

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Clay Siekman, aka ‘The Pot Whisperer’
Cultivation Plant Manager

About your Best Bud:

Clay is a pot whisperer. He hasn’t worked behind the counter for a while because he took over at our grow, but back in the day, people simply didn’t know how lucky they were when they bought pot from Clay. They’d come in, look at the ten strains on our menu for a minute, and then they’d say something like:

“Which one would you recommend?”

“Um, what type of high are you looking for?” Clay would ask. He’d always hold his chin between his thumb and forefinger like a detective, the other hand on his hip.

“What do you mean?”

“Well,” Clay would say, usually with a gesticulation or two, “are you looking for something relaxing? Something energetic?”

And this is where customers would mess up; they simply didn’t know they were talking to a pot whisperer who could tell them exactly what type of high came from each strain. Seriously, you should read this guy’s strain reviews—they’re precise and profound, almost like they were written by a sage who divined the essence of each strain with a spell of some sort.

If those customers would’ve realized who they were dealing with, they could’ve said something like, “I’d like a strain that goes well with old action movies on a Tuesday night,” or, “the left side of my head hurts and I want the perfect pot to pair with tacos.” And then Clay could’ve instantly suggested the most fitting strain available.

He really does know pot that well, but now, you should get to know him:

Q. When did you start working for The Greenery?
Clay. “October of 2016.”

Q. What’s your favorite way to enjoy marijuana?
Clay. “I love bongs. And my favorite strain is Green Crack, which is wonderful because we’re growing it right now, and we should have it ready to sell in our dispensary in a few months. But if I had to pick an edible, it’d be the Coda coffee and donuts that we sell at the shop.”

Q. What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
Clay. “Skiing, hiking, camping.”

Q. Tell us about your pet.
Clay. “I have a thirteen-years-old pug named Buddy. All he does is sleep and eat all day; he’s fat and old.”

Q. Which station do you stream while you’re working at The Greenery?
Clay. “Hip-hop jams!”

Q. What do you like most about working at The Greenery?
Clay. “I love the community that’s been built up around this industry. It’s great. I love being around likeminded people, both behind the counter and in front of it. Everyone who’s involved in this industry is incredible, and I love being a part of it.”

Frankly, this industry should love that Clay is a part of it, not the other way around, because the guy is a blessing. It took him about a year and a half to climb through our ranks, morphing from the shy kid behind the counter into the confident man running every aspect of our cultivation facility, and we’re just lucky he’s part of our brand.

And it’s not like a few of the regulars didn’t figure out that Clay was a pot whisperer, because after he left for greener pastures, people would come in and ask for him by name—they wondered where that “nice kid who gives good advice” went, and many of them missed the expert guidance he gave. Of course, his shoes were filled by other budtenders who are equally passionate about pot, and of course, we’d rather have Clay right where he is, whispering to our plants as they grow under his expert care. And that’s why Clay Siekman is Your Best Bud for February. Congratulations, Clay!


The Greenery Grow

I was a teenager the first time I saw a marijuana plant. It was a sickly thing, growing stunted and slightly brown in an Alaskan basement, but it was still wonderful.

My friend had modified his chest-of-drawers. He’d taken the fronts off each drawer, and then he’d nailed them back onto the front of his bureau. And then he’d hinged the entire front face of his chest-of-drawers so it would open, like some sort of secret enclave. He’d drilled a hole in the back and wired it for electricity, and then he’d lined the inside with tinfoil to make it reflective. A single grow light had been hung in the top, and a fan was attached right below it. In the dark of night, glowing light escaped from the cracks in my friend’s modified bureau and the whole thing hummed with the fan’s white noise—my friend’s chest-of-drawers looked and sounded haunted, as if a porthole to another dimension were contained inside instead of a growing plant. It was downright Narnian.

And it really was mystical the first time I saw my friend’s contraption. He took me down into his basement—we told his parents we were doing homework—and he stood in front of his chest-of-drawers with a wide smile, looking like a gameshow host about to do a big reveal. He unlatched the front of his bureau and then he swung it open while singing out a single note, as if what he was showing me were holy: the inside of my friend’s invention was gleaming golden with a little green plant right in the middle, and it blew my mind. My friend was MacGyver! How the hell had he figured out a way to grow marijuana in his parent’s house without them noticing? How’d they overlooked the fact that my friend had stopped putting away his clothes because he’d turned his chest-of-drawers into a grow room? I was dumfounded, and twenty years later, I still shake my head in awe when I think back to that moment.

But the first time I saw a growing pot plant was nothing like the most recent time: our head grower gave me a tour of The Greenery’s Grow, and the experience was so striking that I simply had to write about it. For the record, marijuana is a weed, plain and simple. If you walked by a ditch and threw in a few pot seeds like a cooler version of Johnny Appleseed, they’d eventually sprout and grow into flowering marijuana. But ditch-weed is a far cry from the flower that a master grower can produce, and the product that comes from our grow is simply the best in town because our cultivation team takes the art seriously:

Before walking into our facility, Mike had me step into a shallow rubber tray containing a mild solution of bleach and water. And before walking further, I had to step on a huge mat of sticky paper (kind of like flypaper for humans) to remove all the unwanted particulates from the outside world that might’ve hitched a ride on my shoes. Once inside, it felt like I was standing in a laboratory. There were professionally labeled metallic tents everywhere, looking like they came straight from NASA. There was a huge bottle of CO2 secured to the outside of the building; it pumped in regimented amounts of the gas pot-plants like to eat. There was a maze of custom air conditioning ductwork webbing across the ceiling; there were light-emitting ceramic lights humming above the plants like artificial suns; there were professionally constructed trellises around the plants and mounted fans to give the plants healthy stress. And the plants themselves were beautiful: huge colas of crystalline flower bowing their stems with weight, perfuming the air with an intoxicating smell. Everything was perfect, and the amount of thought and effort and science that went into our grow facility made me proud to be a part of this company, if I’m being honest, because this sort of thing matters. And I’ll tell you why.

Every so often, someone will come into our dispensary looking for a specific strain, and last Friday, one such man came in looking for True Berry. No kidding, he said it was the “best strain for meditative flute playing.” I smiled, told the man he was in luck, and then I let him smell a sample of our Greenery-grown True Berry. And as soon as I did, I could see via his expression that that he’d found something unexpected. His eyes got wide and he looked up, saying with his face that this was the best pot he’d ever smelled. So, I told him all about it, and I told him about our grow. I told him how we use living soil instead of hydroponics, and I told him that we use predatorial bugs instead of insecticides. I told him that we grow it in small batches, just like distilling fine whiskey, and I told him that he wouldn’t find a better True Berry flower anywhere else in the world. And because of the effort put in by our growers, I wasn’t lying.

So please, if you’d like to experience what it’s like to smoke something grown with true skill in a real grow facility (or if you’re looking for the best meditative-flute-playing marijuana in the world), just check out our menu to see if we’re selling Greenery-grown True Berry. And then come in so one of our budtenders can show you exactly what I’m talking about. You’ll see that we really do have the best pot in town, and you’ll see why we say We’re Your Best Buds!

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Caviar Marijuana

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People get pretty pretentious when it comes to fish eggs. Think about it: the only true “caviar” comes from the critically endangered beluga sturgeon—a monstrous fish that swam alongside dinosaurs—and it sells for $290 an ounce. It’s salty and black and usually enjoyed by people who wear suits and snobby expressions, like James Bond. I’ve only eaten it a couple times, and I didn’t understand the hype; it didn’t taste any better than the fish eggs you get at sushi restaurants for a fraction of the price. But that sushi stuff is just called “roe,” and to some people, that matters, I guess. And to these people, it’s annoying when the rest of us refer to garden-variety roe as “caviar,” but really, we only do so because it’s a crap-ton easier than saying “salt-cured fish eggs that come from a species outside the acipenseridae family of fish.” Know what I mean?

And in a way, it’s ironic, because just as “caviar” has become a blanket-term for fish eggs, so too has it become a blanket-term for infused cannabis flower. But then again, people get pretty pretentious when it comes to pot as well. Technically, the only true caviar marijuana is made by soaking a bud of Grape God in Grape Rhino hash oil, and then coating it with Grape Rhino kief. If a different flower, oil, or kief is used, the end product is just an unnamed variety of “infused flower.” But the confusion doesn’t stop there: instead of “caviar,” some people (usually from the west coast) use the term “moon rocks,” or they think that moon rocks are buds coated with cannabis wax. But that’s not accurate either—true moon rocks are made by soaking buds of Girl Scout Cookies in an oil made from the same strain, before coating it in more GSC kief. So, thanks to all the vagaries and confusion, the three terms have become somewhat synonymous, and frankly, here at The Greenery, we don’t have a problem with that: “moon rocks” is just the Californian way of saying “caviar,” which is just the Coloradan way of saying “infused flower.” At the end of the day, none of it matters because caviar marijuana is ludicrously awesome and it gets you high as hell, so who cares what it’s called?

Anyway, at The Greenery, we’ve always sold caviar, and our customers love it so much that we’ve started making it ourselves. For our first batch, we used Dark Star flower from our own grow, but instead of dipping it in hash oil that’d been thinned with alcohol like most places use, we painstakingly painted each bud (yes, with an actual paintbrush) with pure hash oil that’s just as thick and golden as the gooey-goodness in Winnie the Pooh’s honeypot. And then we battered each sticky bud in our own kief, just like fried chicken, before letting it dry. The result was wonderful: our caviar came in at over 55% THC, which is mind-blowing, but the best part was the texture. Most caviar is oversaturated with oil, and when you try to grind it, it clogs up your grinder and makes a hot mess. But our caviar crumbles perfectly and it’s easy to handle or roll into joints: it’s the perfect trifecta of potency, and just a little bit goes a long way. The high is quick and potent, the flavor is rich and decadent, and the best part is that you don’t need to be James Bond to afford it: before tax, our caviar sells for only $25 per gram, or $20 for a one-gram, pre-rolled joint, and we always have plenty in stock.

So please, come into our dispensary at 208 Parker Avenue and come see this stuff. Come ask one of our budtenders to show you a sample or let you smell it, and we swear that you’ll understand the hype (unlike with those snobby fish eggs), because We’re Your Best Buds!

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420 Friendly in Durango, Colorado

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Just about everybody knows that “420” has something to do with pot, and just about everybody knows that “420 friendly” has something to do with businesses that support recreational marijuana use. But do you know where “420” comes from?

As it turns out, some kids in California coined the term, but I didn’t know that when I was a college freshman. At the time, I lived in Eugene, Oregon. My balcony overlooked Pine Street, and I remember watching from my lawn chair as all the other college kids went to class, exercised on the streets, did all the things college kids were supposed to do. I remember the taste of that west coast weed, I remember the deep bass bleeding from our living room speakers, and I remember laughing with my friends as we smoked our way into oblivion at 4:20 on some random afternoon.

Eugene is a verdant place, where the heat is ripe and everybody looks like they belong in an outdoors magazine. It’s a liberal college town, one so quintessential that you’ve seen it in movies, and pot was just a part of life. We got high every day at 4:20 because that’s what you were supposed to do. We had our rituals, we used alarm clocks. But we thought “420” was the call-code cops used to radio in a charge for marijuana possession. It made sense: when Snoop Dog said “187 on an undercover cop,” he meant murder; the band 311 chose their name because “311” is the call-code for indecent exposure; “420” obviously had something to do with cops and smoking pot (which is why it was so cool). But I was young and clueless—sometimes, clichés really do fit best—and I didn’t know the truth:

Back in 1971, there was group of Californian kids who called themselves the “Waldos,” and San Rafael was their hood. They were athletic teenaged boys and best friends. I’m sure they wore sweatbands in their shaggy hair, and striped socks pulled all the way up to their knees—I’m sure their music was loud, and I’m sure the ‘66 Impala they drove around town still felt modern and new.

One day, one of the Waldos heard about a military man who lived in the Point Reyes Forest. He was shipping out somewhere, leaving his post on the peninsula, and he wouldn’t be around to guard his pot-patch, growing somewhere out in the forest. One of the Waldos even had a treasure map. So, they made a plan: every day after school and track, they’d meet at 4:20 by a Louis Pasteur statue next to the wall behind which they usually got stoned (incidentally, this wall put the “wall” in “Waldos”). They’d start smoking immediately, and then they’d drive out into the Point Reyes Forest. They’d get out of that ‘66 Impala and they’d roam the loamy forest floor, hunting through the dappled sunlight for a hidden glen of unguarded pot plants. They never found what they were looking for, even after two weeks’ worth of searching, but they did find a form of immortality, because the Waldos created something that’ll live on forever.

The rest of the story is easy-cheesy: one of the Waldos had a loose connection to one of the Grateful Dead, and “420” found a carrier, just like the common cold. And it spread through the Waldos’ school, like things do. The virgin-minded freshmen watched with awe as the Waldos got high behind their wall, and after each graduating class, the Waldos lived on, reincarnated in a younger troop. After time, those two weeks’ worth of raiding into the Point Reyes Forest were forgotten, but the time to get high wasn’t: school still ended at the same time, so did track practice, and that statue of Pasture still stood watch over the new kids, doing his best to keep their minds from curdling. The original Waldos grew up and moved and had children of their own, and the origin story behind 420 was diluted with myth and by geography until it found me sitting on that balcony in Eugene, smoking my way into oblivion, convinced in totality that my alarm was going off because of a police call-code.

Anyway, seventeen years later, businesses have started adopting “420 friendly” as a lowkey way to advertise that they’re cool with pot; it provides for their customers an appreciated level of discretion. And at least five times a day, someone will come in and ask me if I know of any 420-friendly places in town. First and foremost, I tell these customers that per Colorado state law, marijuana can only be smoked on private property with the property owner’s permission. Quite a few of the local hotels that have smoking rooms will allow you to smoke marijuana in their rooms, but here’s the important part: always ask first. I know it might seem a bit counterintuitive to ask someone at the front desk if it’s okay to get high in your room, but trust me, these people are used to the question, so there’s no point in being timid (after all, it’s legal now). And if you’re staying in a hotel that doesn’t allow in-room smoking, just ask if you can use their designated smoking area—the same principal applies, and if you get permission, everything is peachy on the legal front.

And there are a few other businesses in town with outdoor seating that don’t mind too much if you get high on their property, especially if you’re using something discrete, like a marijuana vape pen (again, always ask). But if you’re still leery on the legality, please feel free to come into The Greenery and ask one of our knowledgeable budtenders about the regulations; after all, The Greenery is the friendliest 420-friendly place in town. We’ll tell you when and where you can smoke, and we’ll do our best to make sure your 4:20 is comfortable and legal, because We’re Your Best Buds, and that’s what we do.

Best Bud of the Month

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Mike Michon
Cultivation Manager

It came up casually in my conversation with Mike that he’s seen Phish in concert fifty-two times. He said it like it was no big deal, nothing out of the ordinary. But it is, and I stopped him halfway into a new subject so we could talk about it:

Me: “Dear god man, seriously? Fifty-two times?”
Mike: “Yeah, some people think it’s strange.”
Me: “Actually, that’s pretty badass.”
Mike: “Yes! There’re so many people out there who aren’t passionate about anything. You need something like that in life, whether it’s mountain biking or model trains or Phish.”
Me: “… I like model trains. Especially the tiny ones.”
Mike: “Damnit. Now I want a train.”

Mr. Michon is The Greenery’s Senior Cultivation Manager; he’s our Master Grower. He spends his days about five minutes out of town tending our grow with a level of skill that borders on wizardry. And that’s not something I’m writing just to promote the weed we grow and sell; Mike’s pot is sublime. His Pakistani Chitral Kush is so good it made me want to get a “PCK” lower-back tattoo—Mike’s Indiana Bubblegum is so good it made me regret the tattoo I wanted to get because “IB” is the only pot for me.

Anyway, I sat down with Mike over the weekend and conducted one of the most entertaining interviews to date. However, I had to redact about ninety percent of what follows because Mike pulled the “off-the-record” card no fewer than twelve times (and for pretty good reason). Here’s the G-rated version:

Q: When did you start working for The Greenery?
Mike: “June 9th, 2016.”

Q. What’s your favorite way to enjoy marijuana?
Mike: “Joints. And Grape Ape is my favorite strain.”

Q. What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
Mike: “Snowboarding.”

Q: Tell us about your pet.
Mike:Walfredo is a border collie named after a Phish song.”

Q. Which station do you stream while you’re working at The Greenery?
Mike: “Grateful Dead Radio. It’s channel twenty-three on Sirius XM, but I hate Sirius XM. I’m only listening to it because of the free introductory subscription that came with my new truck. But yeah… I love The Grateful Dead.”

Q: What do you like most about working at The Greenery?
Mike: “I like plants better than people. And real jobs are a shame.”

Mike gave that last answer with a smile. I laughed. But below the hilarity lives a truth—I can’t imagine how peaceful it must be to work with those plants all day, to care for them and feed them as you walk slowly through the verdure, calmed as you go by the intoxicating perfume all around. Mike is lucky to have such a station in life, but we’re just as lucky to have him on our side, because Mike is the type of person who doesn’t suffer from a dearth of passions—he isn’t “one of those people.” He loves his dog and his Phish, he loves his east coast hockey and his deep-dish pizza, and he loves growing marijuana. He takes these things seriously, and because he grows for us, we reap the benefits: thanks to Mike, The Greenery sells the best marijuana in Durango, Colorado. And that, my friends, is why Mike Michon is your Best Bud for September. Thank you, sir!

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Best Bud of the Month

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Melissa Nichols
Vendor & Community Relations Manager

Some Navy Seals can hold their breath for seven minutes; they go through all sorts of ninja training to get to that point. But at The Greenery, we have a budtender who can hold her breath for seventy-two seconds; she discovered her talent while playing dead-man games in Mexico because you’re never too old to mess with foreign lifeguards.

Melissa Nichols is simply awesome. She’s an open book who loves what she does, and we love having her here, but being our Community Relations Manager wasn’t her first job; Mel used to be a professional naked person. She posed in the nude for a sculpting class two hours per day, three times a week, for six weeks (if you do the math, that’s thirty-six hours’ worth of nudity in front of strangers). And I’m sure that if you looked long and hard enough, you’d probably be able to find a miniature, sculpted, naked Melissa at a local garage sale (we hereby promise a $1 pre-roll joint to anyone who brings one in). But here’s the rest of her story.

Q.  When did you start working for The Greenery?
Melissa. “I was the first budtender on the payroll, and I was behind the counter when Wally (our first customer) gave us the twenty-dollar bill that’s hanging in the back office.”

Q.  What’s your favorite way to enjoy marijuana?
Melissa.  “I love water pipes, and Cheese is my all-time favorite strain.”

Q.  What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
Melissa.  “I love snowboarding and hiking, but what I love most is connecting with the outdoors. I love taking time to myself outside and just breathing, looking at the life and nature around me, the bugs and plants, because it helps me connect with what’s important.”

Q.  Tell us about your pet.
Melissa.  “Mr. Mac is a black cat, and Prince Hal is a cat colored like a cow. He’s a Holstein cat. And Tigger is our yellow lab. We got him too late to do anything about his name.”

Q.  Which station do you stream while you’re working at The Greenery?
Melissa.  “alt-J radio, or any of the Tiny Desk Concerts on NPR; they’re just awesome.”

Q.  What do you like most about working at The Greenery?
Melissa.  “People are happy when they come into our store, and I get to make them happier. And I don’t have to censor myself when I’m working here, so I absolutely love it.”

And that’s Melissa. She’s the type of person who’s more comfortable barefoot—I’ve seen her afterhours, walking around in her colorful socks, making small foot-fists on the foamy pads behind our sales counter, and that says a lot about a person. She isn’t afraid to be who she is, and even though you might not believe it, she really is just as nice as she comes across when she asks for your ID. Melissa is a genuine and open person, and she’s worked diligently over the past two and a half years to make The Greenery Durango’s best dispensary. And that, my friends, is why Melissa Nichols is you Best Bud of the Month.

Cheers!  The Greenery, Budtender, Durango

Marijuana & Pesticides in Colorado

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Marijuana & Pesticides in Colorado

Many of you have probably read about the rise in pesticide recalls in Colorado’s retail marijuana & marijuana products. This may have you wondering: is Colorado’s marijuana safe?
This is the first in a series in which we explore pesticides in the Colorado marijuana industry. The aim of this post is to provide you with some insight into what requirements are placed on marijuana dispensaries and cannabis cultivation businesses when it comes to pesticide application. The second post in the series will explore how the pesticide requirements have affected Colorado dispensaries.
On November 12, 2015, Governor Hickenlooper issued Executive Order D 2015-015, sometimes referred to as the “Zero Tolerance” executive order.  This executive order directed Colorado state agencies to address threats to public safety posed by marijuana contaminated by pesticides.
The executive order calls out a few important points:
• The Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) regulates pesticides in the United States;
• Given that marijuana is a schedule I narcotic under the Controlled Substances Act, the EPA has neither:
(a) assessed the potential hazards associated with the use of pesticides on marijuana; or
(b) authorized application of particular pesticides to marijuana
Colorado also regulates pesticide applications through the Colorado Pesticide Applicator’s Act (“PAA”). PAA prohibits use of pesticides inconsistent with the EPA’s labels and directions.

Therein lies the predicament:  Colorado’s PAA relied on directive from the EPA, but the EPA had not provided guidance on pesticide application for marijuana because it is still an illegal drug at the federal level.

As a result of the executive order, and in an effort to develop a list of pesticides that would be permitted for use on marijuana, the CDA consulted with the EPA. Specifically, as stated above the PAA and the  Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) require that all pesticides be applied in strict accordance with the label directions for the particular product. The heart of the issue is that pesticide labels identify the type of “crop” for which the the pesticide is permitted to be used.  At this time, there are no pesticides listing “cannabis” as a crop on the label.
Thus, the CDA created a list of pesticides that are permitted to be used on marijuana. That list is regularly updated and can be found on the CDA’s website. In testing marijuana, should the CDA find any trace of a pesticide that is not on the approved list, the marijuana will be placed on hold, likely resulting in a recall.
In the next post in this series, we will explore how these strict pesticide application rules have affected marijuana dispensaries across the state of Colorado.