Is talking about cannabis now a requirement for Coloradans? It doesn't have to be. (Sasha, Getty Images)

Cannabist Q&A: Etiquette for pot talk, slang, seed searching

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 travel a lot for work. In small talk, everywhere I go, whenever someone finds out I’m from Colorado, the conversation immediately shifts to questions about marijuana. Umm, I voted for A64, but I don’t know what to say. It’s awkward talking to strangers about opinions I’d rather not talk about with strangers. How do I get out of this persistent problematic situation without being a jerk? –Private Peter in Parker

Hey, Pete!
You voted for Amendment 64 but you didn’t sign up to be a goodwill ambassador for marijuana reform during your business travels, eh? As a result, you’re stumbling through awkward conversations everywhere you go and hating it. I spoke with Linda Hill, Director of Colorado School of Protocol and Etiquette about how to politely limit an unwelcome or controversial conversation topic.

First, most people are asking out of curiosity.  Cannabis in Colorado is a hot worldwide news topic and people are intrigued.  Some people initiate the conversation topic because they want to share their thoughts about legalization with someone who might be supportive of their perspective. In either case, maintain your privacy, there is no need to disclose any of your personal habits or discuss your history of recreational drug use. Linda recommends saying, “Aren’t you embarrassed to ask me that?” or, “Why do you ask?” or simply ignore the question altogether.

Next, acknowledge the legal and social reality but describe the impact to your everyday life as minimal and boring. You could say things like, “It’s not a big deal to me,” “It’s not something I’m interested in,” or “I don’t care to discuss it.”  Then, change the subject. Linda recommends immediately changing the subject to another Colorado subject more palatable for general conversation.

Linda also recommends treating unwanted marijuana conversations like you would any other controversial topic — maintain your privacy, change the subject and if all else fails, next time, say you are from a different state.  XO

Cannabist product reviews: Firefly, VapeXhale, Hollow Pointz, Four Hitter, O.penVape and more. The Cannabist is currently accepting marijuana gear for review purposes. Submit your glass, vaporizers, pens and more:

Hey, Cannabist!
I was recently chastised for using the word marijuana. I was told it is a racist term, and I should instead say cannabis.  As I often hear pot, weed, dope, ganja, etc., used interchangeably, the admonishing caught me off guard. What are your thoughts?  –Wondering Wadsworth Wordsmith

Hey, Wondering Wadsworth Wordsmith!  There is truth to the racist claim. Previously called cannabis, in the 1930s marijuana was the chosen term used in reefer madness propaganda to scare the public. Despite the early roots of the word, marijuana is the current standard term. Our state statutes rely on the term marijuana, as do the state enforcement agencies, departments and programs.  You are not wrong for using it, but cannabis is the more politically correct and modern term to use when referring to marijuana.

Conversational context can determine appropriate word usage.  Speaking in slang is a more casual way to communicate, but may not be clearly understood by the listener because slang changes over time, has subtle emotional contexts and varies by region.   For examples, ganja denotes spiritual reverence for the plant and its use as a sacrament. Dope can mean marijuana or all illegal drugs. Get in the practice of saying the term cannabis, it’s the hip new word for legalized marijuana! XO

Map: Colorado medical dispensaries and recreational marijuana centers

Hey, Cannabist!
I’m an avid gardener. It’s seed planting time! Why are seeds so hard to find? Gardening Gertie in Uptown

Hey, Gertie!
Yes, cannabis seeds are hard to find in Colorado. I found a couple reasons to explain. My go-to seed guru, Scott Reach, is owner of Rare Dankness, a Colorado seed company that won High Times “Strongest Strain on Earth” title for OG Ghost Train Haze in 2012. Reach says it’s hard to find seed in Colorado due to the state marijuana enforcement regulation that all cannabis seeds must be produced in state. Foreign seeds banks are not set up under Colorado marijuana industry regulations and therefore not legal in Colorado.

Northern Lights Cannabis Company owner, Mitch Woolhiser, highlights another regulatory issue that limits seed availability. “Seeds are a bit of a strange issue. It is legal to sell and produce them but centers are prohibited from selling them wholesale. So we can produce seeds in our grow and sell them in our store but we cannot sell them to other dispensaries, by rule of the (Marijuana Enforcement Division). Most centers, including Northern Lights, don’t produce and sell because it is a very specialized skill and it takes a lot of time and resources to select superior genetics.

“It makes more sense to devote resources in the grow to producing bud when you are limited by space and plant count.”

Rare Dankness seeds are available at RiverRock. I found Reserva Privada seeds for sale at Euflora, the new recreational marijuana center on the 16th Street Mall. After taxes, a package of seven seeds cost $91.

As always, call ahead to check on in-stock inventory. XO


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