By Jake Browne, The Cannabist Staff
A note to travelers: If you were unsure, a little marijuana before your flight is a much better choice than a few mushrooms.
A close friend recently made the regrettable decision to eat the latter before his trip — both literal and figurative — to Denver International Airport. When his flight was delayed three hours, he was left wandering from concourse to concourse desperately trying to avoid eye contact with strangers and almost took out a family on one of those moving walkways.
Chocolope, on the other hand, made my stroll to gate A40 downright leisurely.
Chocolope by the numbers: $12/gram, $150/ounce through At Home Remedies, 4735 W. 38th Ave. in Denver
A sativa-dominant combination of Chocolate Thai and Cannalope Haze, Chocolope is just weird enough to exist, the kind of strain that only a stoner could love. My favorite cuts tend to have more of the rich-yet-dry dark cacao notes and less of the overripe melon funk that can border on rotten fruit, but both coexist nicely. However, I’ve never seen chocolate and melon paired on a dessert menu and don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
The sample I pick up from At Home Remedies checks none of those boxes and comes with a regrettable interaction with an employee out front who refers to a patient walking by as “gimpy” and tells me of another whose brain tumor removal has given him an “attitude” (to which he adds a racial slur). He’s an older white guy, maybe 20 years my senior, saying old white guy stuff to someone he clearly does not know is a reporter. For a shop that made its bones as a medical dispensary, it’s extra shameful.
More sativa strains
Afghan Haze: It’s the kind of strain that makes everything a skosh more fun. You’re engaged and situations are amplified. You say something and the words jumble a bit, but instead of feeling self-conscious everyone has a good laugh.
Red Headed Stranger #14: After the second hit, I was floored. No thoughts, just pure experience. An instant flow state. Something akin to what mothers feel when they lift a car off a baby. I grab a seat in the living room, still buzzing with haze-like energy, and note a decent body buzz that I wasn’t necessarily expecting.
Green Crack: As a big fan of sativas, I had expected to enjoy the Green Crack high I’d always had. Primarily, a dialed-in and centered buzz that allowed me to knock out tasks as they came up. Instead, I was all over the place.
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When I post the interaction online, several people tell me the owner, Shirley Sena, is a great person, an operator that has survived since 2009 in an industry full of attrition, and his statements aren’t representative of her business. Sena reaches out directly the next day and says he’s been severely reprimanded. “An apology isn’t good enough,” she tells me over the phone.
For her, medical marijuana is an intensely personal issue, which compounds how upset she is with the employee’s comments. When her father was fighting mesothelioma cancer in 1982, he tried marijuana for the first time. “The only thing that helped him was marijuana. He tried the pills, but they made him sick,” she recalls. “It was the only thing that kept him on an even keel.”
Sena tells me about two patients she recently took to the doctor to get renewal paperwork done and her sister who’s battling multiple sclerosis, and it’s hard not to sympathize with her. That said, she seems like a well-meaning person with a shop full of mediocre herb. Almost none of the jars have a distinct smell or even look, like I was shopping for ground beef and some packages happen to be leaner or more fatty than the previous. And after my experience out front, I find myself rooting against the Chocolope I begrudgingly purchased.
So I’m surprised when the two early-morning hits I took grabbed me like a luggage handler and threw me into the morning. With an hour before my friend picked me up, I was lucid and methodical as I put together my bags. It’s a warm but underwhelming body high, exactly what I was looking for from the strain, with my head doing more of the heavy lifting.
By the time he arrived, I’d suddenly become anxious about time — of which I had plenty — as he brought by a couple of things I forgot I needed to pack. There’s another stop on the way. There’s smoke from Canadian wildfires that has turned the city hazy. This nervousness passed the moment I left the car, however.
Even as I’m routed into direct contact with a K9 unit. As many friends were quick to note, most dogs you see in airports are sniffing for bombs, not drugs. Shockingly, that doesn’t quell the gut-level fear I get every time I see a dog headed my direction sporting a cool vest. This time, high as an Airbus A319 on Chocolope with sunglasses on and headphones blaring Sage Francis, I couldn’t have cared less.
Despite the momentary apprehension I felt getting ready, this was a well-balanced sativa that wasn’t overly racy despite the presence of haze genetics. You’ll usually find a better olfactory experience — and customer service — when picking up Chocolope, but even when done poorly, the high was sufficient to get me through. As for At Home Remedies, I’ll be checking in with Sena soon. I just hope she’s the only one working.