Ally Bradley uses a vape pen at the E-Cig store at 7101 W. Colfax Ave. on July 16, 2014. (Denver Post file)

Cannabist Q&A: Vapes vs. pipes, pot college prep and 420 dance nights

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, 100-question Colorado marijuana FAQ first, and if you’re still curious, email your question to Ask The Cannabist at

Hey, Cannabist!
Are vape pens any better than using a regular pipe? –Bomb Bowl

Hey, Bomb!
It depends on what you consider better. Vape pens are increasingly more popular for tobacco and marijuana use. The odorless nature of vape pens is a big advantage. No need to light — it doesn’t burn, and it doesn’t smell. Vape pens are more discreet than smoking a pipe.

For comparing the high of vape pen and a pipe, I asked seasoned smoker Paul Tokin, of the YouTube show “Tokin Daily,” for his assessment. Tokin is not a huge fan of portable vape pens. “Vape pen highs are substandard and wispy compared to a high from smoking or vaping with a home vaporizer. Vape pens can be good for new consumers, but for a seasoned smoker, a vape pen is not fulfilling.” Tokin gets good draws (or inhalations) from table-top vaporizers with adjustable heat settings. But for on-the-go use, Tokin “prefers the simplicity of smoking to the tease of a high from a vape pen.” Hopefully, Tokin expresses, the portable technology will continue to develop and improve. XO

Consumer Reports … for weed: Read our reviews on the latest vape pens, pipes and glass

Hey, Cannabist!
Hey Cannabist! My husband and I live in Cheyenne, Wyoming, and we love the oldies dances and listening ’50s and ’60s music. We go on the oldies cruises a lot. We don’t wish to risk anything in Wyoming, but now that recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado, I think it’d be great if there were baby boomer dancing events and music concerts that make it worthwhile to drive to nearby places in Colorado and spend a night or two in a motel. We’re not interested in music later than the 1960s or being at dances with much younger people. We like to have fun at events with people in our own age bracket. I think some really resourceful person or organization should set something up in Colorado now. –Doobie Dancer

Hey, Doobie Dancer!
Marijuana-friendly entertainment for baby boomers in Northern Colorado is an interesting topic, even if you don’t ask a direct question. I researched dance nights in Northern Colorado in particular and there seems to be a shortage of 1950s- and 1960s-themed dance nights.

Two dance clubs located in Fort Collins (the closest Colorado city to Cheyenne) have regular dances. Good Times Dance Club organizes big band and ballroom dances and The Square Dusters, of course, is a square dancing club. The Meetup group, Okay Dance in Northern Colorado, lists dance nights in Loveland, Fort Collins and Lafayette.

In terms of recreational use, “marijuana-friendly” has its limits in Colorado. Public marijuana consumption isn’t legally allowed in Colorado, so it’s unlikely you could openly smoke or vape marijuana comfortably at the dance. I talked to Red Busse, the president of Good Times Dance Club, and he said his dances are held in a city building, “So that takes care of our smoking policy” — which means no smoking is allowed in public places. Alcohol is available at the cash bar, though.

If you want to drive down to Denver, you can comfortably smoke marijuana at Bud & Breakfast at The Adagio and hit the town on a night with The Rock N Roll Oldies Meetup group or dance at Denver Turnverein.  Hopefully a really resourceful person will organize your preferred dance nights so you can find your mellow groove in Colorado. XO

Cannabist calendar: November 2014 has lots of stoney fall happenings

Hey, Cannabist!
I am currently a senior in high school. I have been accepted to Indiana University, and I’ll attend that school next fall. I see the huge opportunity to liberate the world, really with just cannabis and hemp. My goal is to be an executive in the cannabis/hemp industry. I would like to know what cannabis businesses want to see from a school major so that I can leave mainstream America and jump into cannabis when I graduate college. My thoughts have been along the lines of Supply Chain Management/marketing. — Spliffy Student

Hey, Spliffy!
Congrats on your plans for higher education!

I asked Kayvan Khalatbari, a founding partner of Denver Relief Consulting and board member with the Colorado Youth Symphony Orchestra for his recommendations for career options. Khalatbari says, “This is poised to be a massive industry — not only operations, also ancillary businesses and policy work.” Khalatbari recommends studying anything used in traditional manufacturing and business because it is relevant to the legal cannabis business. In particular Khalatbari suggests studying distribution management and business forecasting.

If you’re interested in agriculture, Khalatbari proposes studying horticulture and building your commercial skills by working with flowers and vegetables. Be sure to study green house system automation, too. For legislative or policy work, Khalatbari suggests a political science degree.

When you’re in school be sure to volunteer and join student groups to develop leadership skills. You might find some like-minded peers at Students for Sensible Drug Policy, a national student organization with university chapters.

Also, keep out of legal trouble. In Colorado, state regulations for obtaining marijuana employment badges require a clean record. People with controlled substance felony convictions or any other felony convictions (that haven’t been fully discharged five years before applying for an occupational license) are not eligible to apply.

Khalatbari encourages, “Stick with it, there is a lot of opportunity.” XO

More on Khalatbari: How Kayvan Khalatbari built his empire of weed, pizza and stand-up comedy