O.pen VAPE's marijuana tours of Denver launches on legalization day
In light of the city's unexpected crackdown on the Cannabition smokeout, organizers of yesterday's cancelled event, along with vaporizer company O.pen VAPE, funneled their resources into the launch of My 420 Tours, which basically consisted of loading reporters and smokers onto a party bus, handing out free, loaded vaporizers and riding around town to see a dispensary and a growhouse -- replete with tour guides offering education on marijuana history, laws and, naturally, all you could ever want to know about O.pen VAPE.
"In 2012 . . . the city of Denver had 1.18 million pot-smoking tourists, before we even legalized pot," co-owner of My 420 Tours Matt Brown informs us as we drive toward Bud Med Health Center in Edgewater. "That's why we set out to do pot tours. Our goal is to provide people with a safe experience, and explain that there are still laws. This isn't some magical Oz where all laws regarding marijuana have been vaporized."
There were as many puns like this tossed around throughout the afternoon as there were complimentary vaporizers. Earlier this year Brown had informed the Huffington Post of his intention to offer DIA travelers curbside pickup from the airport with his party-bus/limousine tours. The experience the tour offers would work well with out-of-towners looking for a first-hand course into the commerce of Colorado cannabis. But for anyone who has lived in the state for more than a year, the average ride on the My 420 Tours would be mostly a rehash (puns!) of common information -- along with a whole encyclopedia of facts about O.pen VAPE.
Christine Cool Steele Street Grow facility
This wasn't the average day with My 420 Tours, though. This was January 1, 2014, the day Colorado implemented the world's first government-regulated laws on legalized marijuana. The event dovetailed awkwardly with New Year's Eve, with many dispensaries opening their doors at 8 a.m. the following morning, greeted by long-lines and an insatiable media circus. When we pulled up to Bud Med at 1:30 p.m. on January 1, lines were stretched clear around the block (we're told Bud Med will be the first marijuana shop to be open until midnight). Would-be patrons complained that they'd been waiting for ninety minutes, and they weren't happy about a party-bus full of reporters and tourists being granted privileged access into the coveted retail shop.
Christine Cool Todd Mitchem with Boulder Weekly cannabis columnist Leland Rucker, enjoying the O.pen VAPE hospitality.
We waited on the bus for My 420 Tours organizers to figure out how to get us inside without inciting a mob. (Readers note: By this time I'd helped myself to a sampler platter of what O.pen VAPE had to offer, and was having mild paranoia that our situation was comparable to the embassy workers in Argo when they were trapped in that van.) The tour ended up being ushered inside in groups of five, though there was so much confusion surrounding the operation my group was never called. Instead my photographer and I remained on the bus talking with O.pen VAPE executive Todd Mitchem.
"I think that we, and our competitors, are part of the solution to the issue of using marijuana in public," Mitchem says, adding that the use of vaporizers on party busses keeps smoke out of the bus and eliminates fears of contact-highs. "If this guy doesn't want to smell pot, and I want to enjoy it, this doesn't intrude on him."