Who are the Denver area's hottest male and female budtenders? That's just one of the important questions we consider in our latest Best of Denver edition. See the two winners and a slew of other marijuana-related (and sort-of-marijuana-related) tributes below, complete with photos and the original blurbs.
Dispensaries with music-related names just make us happy. That's why we've had two Grateful Dead-themed winners in the past and why we're going with Trenchtown, a Bob Marley-inspired shop, this year. As the wise Rastaman once said, "One good thing about music -- when it hits you, you feel no pain." Unless, of course, you're smoking poorly grown weed, in which case you could end up with a scratchy throat or headache. Not the case at Trenchtown, where Marley himself would have been feelin' irie over the quality of buds available. Best MMJ Dispensary for Patient Perks Denver 2014 -- The Herbal Cure
Medical marijuana patients designate dispensaries as their primary caregivers in exchange for the right to grow six of their own plants, and it's nice to get something in return. The Herbal Center does right by its patients, who get at least 10 percent off retail pricing on herb, edibles and concentrates as well as a $225 cap on ounces. The store also offers daily deals like Wax Wednesdays -- when you can take $5 off the per-gram price of hash -- and free-joint Fridays. But what really stands out is the giant prize wheel, which can be spun by patients who spend $35 or more. Prizes range from free THC suckers and $5 coupons to an eighth of herb from the $25 economy shelf or a card punch worth $25. It's like the stoner Price Is Right. Continue for more Best of Denver 2014 pot winners, including Mile High's hottest budtenders. Best Edibles Denver 2014 -- Incredibles
While some edibles companies have been busted in recent months for selling pot-infused foods with little to no actual pot in them, Incredibles chocolate bars always pack the full punch advertised on their packaging. The bars contain a range of THC concentrates, including icewater hash and CO2-extracted oil. What the Lakewood company doesn't use is alcohol- or butane-based extractions -- just natural cannabis and a lot of rich chocolate. Consistently dosed and delightfully downable, these are the chocolate lover's edibles. Best Mind-Altering Edibles That Don't Contain THC Denver 2014 -- The Chocolate Therapist
Chocolate guru Julie Pech gave talks on the health benefits of chocolate for years before finally opening her own gourmet chocolate-and-coffee shop in downtown Littleton. And the Chocolate Therapist has been such a hit that she's now moving into franchising. You can count on the chocolates and toffee to be handcrafted in small batches on the premises, without artificial flavorings or dyes. You can also rely on them to do what comes naturally, according to Pech: relieve stress and create a relaxed sense of well-being. Check out the line of wine-pairing chocolates, then savor the sweetest bit: A portion of all sales goes to aid children's programs around the world. Continue for more Best of Denver 2014 pot winners, including Mile High's hottest budtenders. Best Concentrate Company Denver 2014 -- Top Shelf Extracts
Of all the concentrates we sampled last year from medical dispensaries, one batch of shatter stood out as the strongest, most flavorful of them all -- which shouldn't be surprising, since it came from one of the oldest and most widespread concentrate companies, Top Shelf Extracts. The amber chunk of Kandy Kush was very clear, very clean and very tasty. The oil burned with a kushy, earthy flavor on a hot titanium nail, and small, BB-sized dabs were enough to put us right for a couple of hours (though the mouth-watering taste dictated that we take two dabs at a time). Founder and hash wizard Daniel de Sailles has stepped up his game over the last year or so, and we see more and more top-quality hash oil on the shelves being produced by TSE. Best Pre-Mountains Medical Marijuana Pit Stop Denver 2014 -- Rocky Mountain Organic Medicine
If you're a stoner skier or boarder, you've probably done this at least once: walked out the door and left your bag of herb sitting on the counter next to a freshly poured travel cup of coffee and your season lift pass. You can replace the pass and get more coffee at the base of the mountain, but that herb? Stop off at Rocky Mountain Organic Medicine, near the intersection of Sixth Avenue and I-70. The log-cabin shop looks like a ski chalet from the outside, but inside you'll find a solid collection of organic, soil-grown medical cannabis and a special selection of kushes and OG hybrids, including a phenomenal White Fire OG that will quickly take away the aches and pains of a hard day charging on the mountain. Continue for more Best of Denver 2014 pot winners, including Mile High's hottest budtenders. Best Dispensary Name for a Non-Marijuana-Related Business Denver 2014 -- Colorado Joint Replacement Center
The Colorado Joint Replacement Center sounds like a stoner's dream, but the orthopedic surgery center near the University of Denver is talking about a whole different kind of joint. Best TV Commercial Denver 2014 -- Mile High Pipe & Tobacco
Rules established by the Colorado legislature generally prevent marijuana stores from advertising on TV, and most broadcast stations are being ultra-cautious about considering such business, regardless of the time of day. But Mile High Pipe & Tobacco has found a way to share its highly potent message on late-night cable without causing the city's social fabric to fray. Recent sassy clips, including a Christmas spot featuring a particularly hazy-looking Santa, showcase glamour shots of Mile High's "glass with class" in a wry but restrained manner unlikely to offend anyone burning the midnight oil, so to speak. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Continue for more Best of Denver 2014 pot winners, including Mile High's hottest budtenders. Best Hot Budtender -- Male Denver 2014 -- Zac Maas
If you looked up the definition of "masculinity" in an ancient Viking text written by a drunkard, it would most likely describe the steaming chunk of man-meat that is Zac "Bear Man" Maas. His rugged good looks do him well as a budtender at the Releaf Center, where the eligible bachelor woos the ladies day in and day out with his silver tongue and knowledge of fine cannabis. "Some men teach their sons to shave, others teach them to be men," he once told us. Listen to more words of wisdom from this handsome fellow on the Whiskey and Cigarettes podcast, which Maas produces every week with comedian Jake Browne. Best Hot Budtender -- Female Denver 2014 -- Chanel Wing
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While some people would say that "hotness" is purely on the outside, we find that true beauty comes in the form of intelligence, knowledge and compassion. The good news is that Chanel Wing fits both descriptions. The dark, cat-eyed Wing gave us a detailed rundown of nearly every strain on her shelves during our visit to Lush last year, and sold us completely on her cannabis-nerdery. But it's also worth it just to stop in for quick bag of herb and a flash of her warm, radiant, welcoming smile.
Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.