We were somewhere north of Denver, not far from the pot farm, when my neighbor on the party bus pulled hard on his pipe and said: “Know what it is I love about this country? Everyone gets stoned.”
He was a big, bearded fellow who had come up from his cattle ranch in Kansas, and though he didn’t seem like the usual type for a cannabis foodie tour, I felt that he was right. After all, with us on the bus that afternoon was a Whitmanesque array of stoned Americans. There they were, puffing blunts beneath the blinking purple lights: a gay couple from Rhode Island, some multiethnic techies from Atlanta, a rowdy group of white dudes who’d just flown in from Houston for a bachelor party and a 60-year-old Boston mother with a beach house in the Hamptons. Everyone gets stoned.
For purely professional reasons, I was myself at that point something slightly less than wholly sober and shouldn’t have been surprised that our tour that day — from farm to head shop to post-smoke munchies meal — had attracted such a rich assortment of potheads. Then again, there isn’t much surprising about Colorado’s marijuana tourist boom.
Imagine visiting Napa Valley — but with weed instead of wine. The state’s “green rush,” as everybody calls it, is a billion-dollar enterprise of hydroponic grow labs and artisanal dispensaries, but the tourist infrastructure that’s emerged to stoke you up and squire you around to see it all operates on a fairly simple principle: Everything is better when you’re high.
As I began my exploration of Colorado’s marijuana tourist trade, it occurred to me that a certain amount of lethargy was, well, baked into the notion from the start. So I went looking for something more extensive than a two-hour suds and buds tour, but nothing quite so much as a fully immersive Ganja Yoga Retreat.
I found the options dizzying: In the two years since the state first permitted the sale of weed to recreational users, an intricate economy has rapidly sprung up. Dope-smoking ski buffs can ride to the slopes in weed-friendly charter S.U.V.s, and arriving potheads can schedule pickups from the airport through dedicated livery services like THC Limo. There are stoner painting classes,stoner mountain treks and stoner chefs who will cook you a four-course marijuana dinner. Visitors can avail themselves of mobile apps like Leafly and Weedmaps to track down nearby vendors or book their bud-and-breakfasts through websites like TravelTHC. In the end, I elected a three-day sampler tour of Denver offered at the price of $1,295, not including airfare, by one of Colorado’s most popular pot tourist firms, My 420 Tours. A cannabis concierge helped me plan my weekend, mellowly insisting on the foodie tour and the private massage with medicinal marijuana oil. After I booked the trip, I spent a few hours browsing through the online Colorado Pot Guide (bong-blowing courses, vaporizer rentals) and reading up on the relevant regulations. (Smoking in public? No. In a licensed commercial vehicle? Light up.) But then, for a period of weeks, I didn’t hear a word from My 420. Just as I began to wonder if the whole thing was for real, an email arrived with my itinerary. “High Alan,” the little note addressed me — at which point I was totally reassured. I should note from the start that I’m not much of a smoker. While bourbon doesn’t last long on my shelf, I get high, at most, a few times a year. That’s why I appreciated the weekend’s first event: an orientation with a cannabis sommelier. I had by then already checked into my hotel downtown, the Crowne Plaza Denver, where a winking desk clerk handed me a large metal vaporizer, my so-called in-room unit. Alone, upstairs, I took it for a shakedown run. It was only 9 a.m.
Of course, it's worth paying for high-quality weed. But still, who doesn't love free stuff? Here are five creative ways to secure free or discounted marijuana (travel costs not included!).
Of the tens of thousands of pot tourists booking flights to Colorado and Oregon, most make the mistake of traipsing gleefully out to dispensaries sans a local bud-buddy. Use High There! or a relevant subreddit to link up with like-minded pals: many dispensaries give local discounts to customers who present a state driver's license. Plus, as the Colorado Pot Guide points out, "this way you'll have a personal tour guide for those questions you can't, or are simply too embarrassed, to ask the bud-tender." Naturally, etiquette demands you share the spoils of your bargain-shopping.
Cannabis is legal in Alaska - but patients face barriers, both financial and geographic, when looking to access the medicine they need. Enter Alaska Green Angels: utilizing a loophole in Alaska law that allows them to give away up to an ounce of marijuana without penalty, as long as the recipient is over 21, the Angels dole out free weed to the needy. Those benefitting from the free weed program range from vets battling PTSD and folks suffering from spinal infections, to Crohn's patients and those with chronic pain. Another group, Alaska Veteran's Cannabis Relief Organization, offers a similar service geared exclusively toward vets.
Sites like CannaSaver, Coupons for Weed, LeafBuyer work something like Groupon, only for cannabis, offering deals from local dispensaries and online retailers. If you're willing to invest some additional time, check out Seeds 4 Free: they offer "the best premium marijuana seed strains" at no charge to eager weed growers, sending thousands of seeds worldwide. The catch? You pay for the shipping. Be sure to know the law in your state to avoid disappointment (and other, potentially more serious issues).
In fall 2015, CBC and VICE reported on the Vancouver marijuana dispensary, Eden Medicinal Society, boosting voter engagement in the October federal election by offering voters free weed. Those of the 15,000 members who could prove they cast their ballot in the federal election could also enter their name in another competition: to win a chance to judge 40 samples of cannabis for the Harvest Moon Cup. Non-members who voted in the election could win a ticket to see Snoop Dogg.
As more states legalize recreational pot, we might see the same free-weed phenomena we did in June 2015, when Oregon was in kind of a weird limbo: cannabis had been made legal, but there was nowhere to buy it. The Portland chapter of NORML gathered at midnight on legalization eve to distribute free bud and seeds, courtesy of medical marijuana providers and activists, to folks 21+ with ID. If you're lucky, other states will follow suit.
Marijuana is starting to win some battles in the war on drugs. There are now 20 states with some form of legal weed. This means a huge underground industry is now going public. Modern consumers have grown accustomed to doing everything through the internet. It makes sense that these consumers would want a place to find marijuana deals on-line. That’s where CannaSaver.com comes in. CannaSaver.com is kind of like Savings.com except you won’t find any deals on shoes or coupons for hotel rooms. CannaSaver has coupons for marijuana and marijuana related products. It currently only has deals in the state of Colorado, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it started to add more states in the very near future.
You may be wondering how legal all of this actually is. I know that’s what my first question would be. I’m too pretty for jail! Pot is still technically illegal federally, but the state of Colorado has made it legal for anyone over 21 to buy up to a quarter of an ounce of marijuana without a prescription. Colorado residents can buy up to an ounce. That’s a lot of pot. The only reason you’d ever need an ounce of pot was if you got invited to Willie Nelson’s birthday.
CannaSaver has an abundance of marijuana deals. The recent change in Colorado law allowing marijuana for recreational use has made it so CannaSaver can offer coupons for both medical and adult use. Marijuana is a lot different now than it used to be. It comes in just about any form that can go in or on the human body. Weed scientists extract the THC from the buds, and put them in a wide array of products. Creams, oils, and a THC patch similar to a nicotine patch are just a few of the varieties. The selection of edible marijuana is also incredible. They have cookies, chocolate bars, energy drinks, and butter. Toast and pot butter sounds like a pretty fun way to start your morning.
The coupons on CannaSaver are actually pretty good. The average price for high grade marijuana buds is $40- $60 for an 1/8 of an ounce. I saw lots of coupons for buds that were in the $20 – $40 range. The website also makes sure to let you know if the coupon is for medical or adult use. Most of the deals are only available at dispensaries, but there were a few things for general adult use. I have a feeling that there’s going to be a lot more deals for recreational pot coming soon since it’s now legal.
CannaSaver also has deals on lots of pot related stuff. It’s mostly the stuff you’d expect — doctor evaluations, grow lights, pipes. There were a few coupons that caught me by surprise. They just sort of seemed out of place, but they made me happy anyway.
It was announced today that Tommy Chong comedian, movie star, entertainer and long time advocate for marijuana rights has agreed to be the celebrity spokesperson and joint venture partner for Colorado based CannaSaver.com, the leader in online cannabis coupons and deals serving the cannabis consumer. Colorado approved the use of recreational marijuana on January 1st, 2014 and other states will be following soon.
The agreement includes Tommy Chong as the key spokesperson for the CannaSaver.com web platform and brand, which includes the usage of Tommy Chong merchandise and specialty lines. CannaSaver.com will be the exclusive online platform for Tommy Chong branded products and co-branded items with CannaSaver.
Brian Shapiro, President and CEO of CannaSaver said, “ We are thrilled about our new business relationship with Tommy and are looking forward to long term success in the cannabis industry.” Tommy will appear in all promotions and do several engagements throughout the year with CannaSaver and will work in partnership to open additional markets throughout the United States and abroad to expand the CannaSaver and Tommy Chong brands.
CannaSaver is an online company that offers coupons and daily deals catered to the marijuana/cannabis demographic that has emerged as a result of marijuana decriminalization and legalization across the U.S and the world. CannaSaver is based in Denver Colorado and recently won a Cannabis Industry Business award for Invention of the Year. CannaSaver has also been hailed as the "Groupon of Marijuana" on CNN Outfront with Erin Burnett, Fox News and High Times Magazine. CannaSaver intends on expanding into additional targeted markets with California and Washington launching soon.
About Tommy Chong:
Tommy Chong is a world-renowned actor, writer, director, activist, and musician. He is well known for the legendary Cheech & Chong comedy movies, as well as playing the character Leo on Fox’s “That 70’s Show.” Tommy has also appeared in numerous other movies and TV shows. Tommy is a leading advocate for the medicinal benefits of the marijuana and hemp plants and is a cancer survivor himself. On July 15, 2012, Chong tweeted that he was treating his cancer with hemp oil and was 99% cancer free.
Kevin E. Wright
Jenny Kush Activist of the Year
Most Valuable Advocate
Teri Robnett (Rx MaryJane)
Peoples Choice for Best MMC
Most Influential Individual
Industrial Hemp Industry's Most Influential Individual
Cannabis Industry Leader 2013
Most Valuable Cannabis Industry Organization
Marijuana Policy Project
Most Valuable Non Profit
C4CPR (Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patient Rights)
Manager of the Year
Invention of the Year
Peoples’s Choice for Best Infused Product Manufacturer
Most Valuable Cannabis Business People’s Choice
Most Valuable Small Business People’s Choice
Best Publication Award
The Hemp Connoisseur
Bud tender of the Year
Product of the Year
Artist of the Year
Most Valuable Media Source
The Stanley Brothers
DENVER — A new website is being called the “Groupon” of marijuana because it offers deals on the drug. It’s based in Denver and its operators are banking on the popularity of marijuana.
How popular is pot?
Just ask Neal Bigelow, the manager at the time, said, “Even with ourselves growing it at a 10,000 square foot warehouse it’s hard to keep up with that demand.”
Bigelow runs one of the 520 medical marijuana dispensaries with doors open in Colorado. His shop has 300 members, purchasing pot for upwards of $200 an ounce.
The new “green rush” is what everybody is calling it.
Brian Shapiro plans to capitalize on what’s estimated to be a $1.5 billion industry nationwide. Shapiro, a certified public accountant, doesn’t use the drug himself, but believes the buds hold big business.
He’s the founder of cannasaver.com, a start-up cannabis coupon company. “People have been calling us the ‘Groupon of Marijuana,’” he says.
Pot shops pay a monthly subscription fee to post deals on the site.
The site went live four months ago. Shapiro says he has seen 30 stores subscribe, with 65 coupons currently up for grabs.
Donald Carson says he uses marijuana daily for headaches. He was asked if one of the deals on the site, two ounces for $300 including tax, was a good deal. “Yeah, that’s a very good deal. That’s about a $50 savings I think.”
He hadn’t heard of Canna-Saver before CNN showed it to him. “This is actually pretty cool,” he says.
It’s that kind of reaction that’s turned the dispensary’s then-manager Neal Bigelow into a believer. His shop was one of the first to subscribe.
He has the coupons to prove people are finding the website. He’s posted deals on everything from marijuana infused apple crisp to the nitro torch.
“With the Canna-Saver coupon we’ve had to reorder them and keep on selling them because we do have a profit margin on them even with the deal,” Bigelow says.
It’s too early to tell whether the website has staying power.
But its founder is optimistic, saying the site is already making $3,000 a month. That’s before marijuana is legal to sell for recreational use in Colorado. That starts in January.
Researchers estimate more than 642,000 Coloradans will use the drug next year. That’s more than the population of Denver.
And with the trend of more and more states legalizing some form of marijuana, Brian Shapiro believes his marijuana coupon company could be his niche in the already bustling business world of online deals.
There was a time when presenting a coupon to your local drug dealer in hopes of getting a couple of bucks knocked off would have resulted in you taking a beating or perhaps never being heard from again.
However, times are indeed changing, especially in parts of the country where recreational marijuana has finally become legal. Now, rather than fight for market share using strong arm tactics and street brutality, legal weed slingers in places like Colorado and Washington have been forced into competing for business using less violent measures -- like advertising and coupons.
In fact, many pot shops across Denver are now taking advantage of a new website called Canna-Saver, which the weed community has deemed the “Groupon of Marijuana,” allowing dispensaries to offer a variety of doobie deals on the site for a monthly fee.
Canna-Saver founder Brian Shapiro says that even though he does not smoke marijuana, it was relatively easy to see the potential for monetary gain stemming from this estimated billion-dollar industry.
Shapiro says that after just four months in business, the website now offers 65 deals from 30 companies, one of which is reportedly two ounces of weed for $300 -- about a $50 savings.
Many dispensary owners say they are excited about the advent of a cannabis couponing site because marijuana users seem to be finding the site and responding to the offers.
Interestingly, Shapiro says that Canna-Saver is already earning $3,000 per month offering deals on medicinal marijuana. That figure is expected to rise exponentially in January when it becomes legal in Colorado to sell weed for recreational use.
Shapiro says that he believes his marijuana coupon company could be enough of a niche to become a major player in the competitive world of online commerce.
Just call him the Coupon Don.