Pot Playtime

High Heaven

Now that marijuana retailers are here, marijuana tourism may soon follow.

By Michael Miracle May 1, 2014 Published in the Summer 2014 issue of Aspen Sojourner

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Image: Anne Reeser

Retail marijuana shops opened in Aspen in late March. Straightaway, their presence became a topic of conversation among locals and tourists. Many visitors, from West Coast lawyers to New Jersey retirees, were surprisingly forthcoming about making a trip to “the pot shop,” as most of them called it. Some said they would go for the novelty of seeing marijuana sold legally, but many planned to purchase and partake, even going so far as to solicit advice about fun things to do in Aspen once their edible or smokable kicked in.

An itinerary for pot tourists? We chuckled—and then we couldn’t resist. So we asked around about activities and even queried employees at local marijuana retailers (with a straight face, we promise) about which of their offerings would best complement each pot-tinged pursuit. 


Since the implication here is that you’re in a slightly altered state, it’s probably smart to choose a hike that’s nearly impossible to get lost on. The Tom Blake Trail works well as a simple out-and-back. Head out from the small parking lot off of Owl Creek Road, and you’re immediately enveloped by aspen trees on a mostly gentle hike that leads to the slopes of Snowmass. The walk is nicely shaded on hot summer days, and when the leaves turn in autumn it’s utterly magical. (It’s also a favorite of mountain bikers, so keep your pie eyes peeled.) Green Dragon of Colorado’s recommended strain for the outing: DJ Flo, for its physically energizing, mentally motivating effects. 


Of all the potentially THC-enhanced activities suggested to us, none was advocated as often as music: classical on the lawn outside the music tent, bluegrass on top of Aspen Mountain, almost any night at Belly Up. One proposal particularly caught our ear: the Django Reinhardt NY Festival shows at the JAS Café Downstairs @ the Nell (July 24 & 25), which bring a mix of rapid-fire gypsy jazz musicians who’ve been gigging at famed New York City club Birdland since 2000. According to a salesman at the Silverpeak Apothecary, his store’s Jilly Bean provokes a relaxed alertness that pairs nicely with music.


How do you recognize the diners who visited the pot shop earlier in the day? They’ll be the ones moaning mmmmmm, MMMMMMM after every bite of food they put in their mouths. Even the folks who’ve only sipped sake tend to do that downstairs at Matsuhisa, where the flavors and textures are always mind-blowing. Oysters under a blanket of crispy phyllo, Ami Ebi (sweet shrimp) sushi, and lobster ceviche could be just the beginning of a dining extravaganza that turns eating into an experience. A little Bubba Kush beforehand can ramp up both appetite and enjoyment, suggests an employee at Green Dragon of Colorado.

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