If you're proud of Colorado going green, it's hard to find a better time to nerd out on Colorado cannabis than 303 Day. Celebrated every March 3 for decades (although the start of this unofficial holiday is as disputed as the origin story for 4/20), 303 Day honors metro Denver's sole area code until 1998, when the 720 prefix was added to accommodate the city's growing population.
You don't need to live in the 303 to celebrate, though. To get your state pride extra high for this edition of 303 Day, here are ten strains of cannabis with a Colorado spin.
We'd be remiss if we didn't start with 303 OG. Unlike most strains with a Rocky Mountain twist to the name, 303 OG (also called 303 Kush) has a reputation outside of the state, where it’s known for its Pre-’98 Bubba Kush and Chemdawg genetics as well as its social effects. But as with just about anything that’s become a local legend, some of 303 OG’s backstory is disputed.
Fort Collins Cough
Also known as Colorado Cough and simply the Cough, Fort Collins Cough is a homegrown strain out of Fort Collins, popping up in Colorado State University dorms in the late ’90s and gaining popularity as the medical marijuana industry expanded its footprint after 2008. Bred from Haze (rumor has it that it was a #17 phenotype) and a Northern Lights #5 phenotype, it has no relation to Blueberry, Raspberry or Strawberry Cough strains, but it does have a relative up in the Northwest in Seattle Cough, which is bred with a different Haze phenotype but the same cut of Northern Lights. Our version has a strong flavor that’s hard to describe, blending together wintergreen, citrus, diesel and herbal notes for a terpene mixture that can be difficult to pinpoint.
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Commerce City Kush
Commerce City Kush, a creation of Denver breeder Rare Dankness, hasn’t achieved stardom yet, but this hyper-local indica has widespread potential. A product of Chemdawg #4 and Rare Dankness #1, Commerce City Kush is a heavy hitter that can provide medical patients with hash-like relief. The potent high can be almost debilitating, pushing users into the depths of their couches while suspending their heads in a euphoric fog for hours. Even stoners can have a hard time with it, and I speak from experience: Commerce City Kush was my first smoke after a four-day break, and three hits from a pipe might as well have cut my legs off and given me a lobotomy.
Taking home third place for Best Indica at the 2014 High Times Colorado Cannabis Cup, Denver Maple is one of Ballpark Holistic’s flagship strains. While this local delicacy won’t rival the sap of Vermont anytime soon, it’s still a fitting Denver take, sort of like Moonshine Haze from Rare Dankness, another Denver breeder. Piney, earthy notes with a kush sweetness are clear OG traits, and Ballpark Holistic was able to pull out an incredible spice that’s perfect for the holidays.
Not all of these strains were named after the good parts of Colorado's past. Denver-based dispensary chain High Level Health worked with the Rocky Flats Downwinders to create Rocky Flats, a high-CBD strain, to bring awareness to the potential health hazards of the old nuclear weapons plant near Arvada and Broomfield, which raided the plant after the FBI was tipped off about potential environmental crimes. Rocky Flats was closed that year and eventually turned into a wildlife refuge, but anyone who's live here long enough to learn about the plant's past has questions.
Known for being one of the most affluent communities not just in Colorado but the entire country, Cherry Hills Village has been home to John Elway, Peyton Manning, Joe Sakic, Ethel Merman and Mike Shanahan, as well as numerous politicians. Cherry Hills is also the name of an extremely purple strain of weed sold in Colorado (though we don't think it necessarily came from here). Both are intimidating to anyone lacking confidence, but at least the weed strain is within most of our means.
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This strain popped up around 2013, when Peyton Manning's arm was still functioning at a record level for the Denver Broncos. The Super Bowl-winning quarterback and his family weren't huge fans of the strain named after him, which is reportedly a cross between Chemdog 91 and San Fernando Valley OG. It's hard to find in Colorado nowadays, but still appears around the rest of the country every once in a while.
Possibly just a phenotype of the ever-popular Chemdog with a Colorado name, Colorado Chem carved out a decent reputation in the early recreational days, winning second place for best hybrid at the 2014 Colorado Cannabis Cup. The strain's genetics are unknown to the public, but most users like the strain for daytime fun without much thought.
Longs Peak Blue
A creation of Denver-based breeder Rare Dankness, Longs Peak Blue is named after Longs Peak, one of Colorado's more impressive mountain summits — but this combination of Rare Dankness #1 and Old Blue probably won't make you want to scale a fourteener. Known as a nighttime strain for relaxation and pain relief, Longs Peak Blue and its sweet berry flavor make for a better after-dinner smoke than mid-day session.
Cold Creek Kush
Although bred by T.H. Seeds, an Amsterdam seed bank, Cold Creek Kush shares the name of a long creek located on the edges of the Rio Grande National Forest and Great Sand Dunes National Park in Saguache County. The mix of MK Ultra and Chem 91 is known for making users calm without knocking them out — a fine way to chill out on a hot summer day in southern Colorado.