This is a collection of 8,000 heirloom Nepalese Highland Sativa Seeds from Colorado-based Centennial Seeds. (Cyrus McCrimmon, Denver Post file)

Cannabist Q&A: seeds, outdoor gardening, rec shopping woes

Welcome to our Ask The Cannabist column. Clearly you have questions about marijuana, be it a legal concern, a health curiosity, a Colorado-centric inquiry or something more far-reaching. Check out our expansive, 64-question Colorado marijuana FAQ first, and if you’re still curious, email your question to Ask The Cannabist at

Hey, Cannabist!
I moved to Aurora in 1971, started smoking in 1973 and watched the ebb and flow over the years. NEVER thought we’d see the day for legal cannabis. Just gotta say, amazing!! Amendment 64 says I can grow from seed. I have called 5 or 6 rec shops without success. Where can I buy legal seed? –Aurora Al

Hey, Aurora Al!
Springtime is seed planting time! Cannabis seeds are challenging to find at marijuana centers, as you’ve found out. Good thing you are calling ahead to centers to verify inventory to cut down on potential frustration.

To answer your question, I chatted with Scott Reach, owner of Rare Dankness, a Colorado cannabis seed company established in 2010. Reach just returned home after picking up a second-place award at Spannabis last week. Rare Dankness genetics have also won “Best Sativa” and “Best Indica” at High Times Cannabis Cups.

Reach says: “In Colorado, all cannabis seed has to be produced within a state-licensed retail or medical marijuana grow.  Foreign seed banks are most likely not set up under Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division legal regulations. Due to this regulation, it’s hard to find seeds. Our seeds are produced with River Rock Wellness and available for purchase from their medical or recreational centers. River Rock typically stocks 10-20 varieties of Rare Dankness seeds.” XO

Map: Colorado medical dispensaries and recreational marijuana centers

Hey, Cannabist!
We’re going to clone six plants in our backyard. With the freaky weather here, when is the best time of year to plant? We’d like to do it soon, but fear the plants will die because of the schizoid forecasts. –Gardening Gus in Golden

Hey, Gus!
Amendment 64 allows an adult Colorado citizen to grow up to six cannabis plants.   In Denver, a maximum of 12 plants per household is allowed.

Whether indoors or outdoors, your garden must be in a private locked, enclosed space and is subject to local municipal regulations.  So, definitely don’t plant your ladies in the front yard and make sure you are OK to grow outdoors where you live. You probably have a nice spot in your backyard, enclosed with a tall fence and locking gate.

Update made June 11, 2014: A 2014 bill signed into law clarifies “enclosed”:

“Enclosed” means a permanent or semi-permanent area covered and surrounded on all sides. Temporary opening of windows or doors or the temporary removal of wall or ceiling panels does not convert the area into an unenclosed space.

Remember to limit cannabis garden access to adults, no kids and pets roaming around the growing cannabis, all right?

I love summer gardening. From experience, I like pot gardening, as in, container gardening. Haha! I keep plants in pots until after May. If a spring hail storm blows through or a cold snap dips temps below freezing, the plants can be moved to safety. XO

Kitchen Kush: Learn about cannabutter and canna-oils, and find many recipes for appetizers, entrees and desserts

Hey, Cannabist!
I visited Colorado from out of state in February and wanted to share my story. The first dispensary I visited was out of “recreational” pot. Plenty of “medicinal” strains on hand but none available for the recreational user. Carry on to store No. 2. This store had one sativa and one indica strain for recreational sale and that was it. I could look at and smell all the medical strains but was not allowed to purchase any, even though I was willing to pay the going rate including the taxes. Is this common practice or am I forced to go to other sources to obtain my top notch buds? –Disillusioned Old Fart

Hey, Disillusioned!
Oh, dear, this was not the delightful marijuana legalization buying experience you were hoping for. I detect a thinly veiled threat to purchase on the black market too! The legal experience was that bad? Buds, buds everywhere, but none to buy. How frustrating. You obviously had a bad trip, but please cut some slack. I can explain.

If it makes you feel better, I experience maddening inconsistencies at centers too. The other day, I was in Boulder running errands and stopped into a center for the first time that had an advertised special of $25 for 3.5 grams. I got all the way to the counter, and was told I was at the company’s rec-only center and the sale was only across town at the company’s medical-only center. I wasn’t riding my bike across town, so no great deal for me, I left empty-handed. As a customer, it’s irritating, but now I know. I’m reminded of the importance of calling ahead to verify information and inventory before going to a center.

Legal purchases by adults 21 and over in marijuana centers started only three months ago.  According to the law, medical marijuana and recreational marijuana are legally separate.

Eva Honingford-Woolhiser, owner of Northern Lights Cannabis Co., explains compliant businesses had to wait until receiving their recreational marijuana sales license before being able to increase the plant counts to cover recreational sales.  Since it takes three to four months for the plants to  be ready for sale, there is a hiccup in inventory right now.

The MED regulations allowed centers with rec licenses to do a one-time transfer of plants and products from the medical side to the recreational side. The medical side is legally separate from the recreational side, even though both are available in the same center.

Each dispensary owner has had to estimate their sales volume for rec sales. Last year, Colorado marijuana centers had a customer base around 100,000 medical marijuana card holders.  Now the potential customer base is any adult 21 and older who wants to purchase marijuana in Colorado.

Obviously there are growing pains as marijuana center owners and managers  balance inventory with demand while the early crops of plants for the recreational market are being harvested and cured.  Not all stores are handling this challenging time with grace, and unfortunately customers are feeling personally slighted and leaving disappointed. I hope your next visit to a legal marijuana center is more customer friendly. I’m sure it will be, can’t get much worse, right? XO