Our Ten Most Popular Marijuana Stories of 2019

Colorado's marijuana landscape continued growing in 2019.
Colorado's marijuana landscape continued growing in 2019. Jake Holschuh
Our readers clicked on a wide range of marijuana topics in 2019, showing interest in information they could apply to their daily lives, such as a list of places to burn a joint outside their homes, as well as in speculative fun, like South Park's foray into the cannabis world. As we review 2019 and all of the skunky curveballs it threw at us, here are the ten most popular marijuana stories of the year on, according to our readers.

Fifteen Places Where You Can Consume Weed Legally in Denver (Not Including Your House)
This list was originally published in 2018 but has been updated several times. New places for social cannabis use come and go around Denver, with only a short list of businesses able to stay open. With a new state law now allowing social consumption business licenses, this list could get longer next year.

The Six Largest Dispensary Chains in Colorado
The placeholders on this list may have shifted places since the beginning of 2019, but the names remain the same — and of interest to both customers and industry players. You can expect the roster to change quite a bit in 2020, now that publicly traded companies are allowed to participate in Colorado's cannabis industry. In fact, two of the chains on this list (the Green Solution and Starbuds) have already agreed to sell nearly thirty stores between them to publicly held corporations.

In Random Mold Tests at 25 Denver Dispensaries, 80 Percent Fail
Dispensary recalls over mold and yeast concerns started happening in 2018 and only increased in 2019. Rumors of mold issues were even connected to supply shortages in Colorado's cannabis industry, and regulators took notice. Over the summer, the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment announced that it would conduct random assessments of 25 dispensaries to get a better sense of potential contamination issues. That report is still months from being published, but Westword learned of the tests and analyzed 25 DDPHE dispensary inspection reports filed over a two-day span in September. Of the reports filed between September 9 and September 11, twenty listed at least one or more hold-and-quarantine order for cannabis flower, shake or pre-rolled joints, an 80 percent failure rate.

The failure rate highlights issues with Colorado's state testing requirements for mold and yeast, as well as a lack of education about how certain microbial organisms affect humans after being ignited and inhaled. As Colorado regulators and cannabis growers try to handle the spores, the recalls continue.

Suds ’n' Buds: Lagunitas Brings Hoppy Cannabis Drinks to Colorado
People in Colorado are interested in beer, weed and Lagunitas. Shocking.

Colorado's Marijuana Laws Are About to Change...Big Time
In 2019, Colorado saw its biggest year in marijuana policy reform since 2012, when voters legalized the plant recreationally. Emboldened by the election of cannabis-friendly governor Jared Polis, bills opening Colorado up to social pot use, commercial cannabis delivery, new medical marijuana conditions and much more passed through the state legislature this year, setting a high bar for the General Assembly in 2020.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for
Contact: Thomas Mitchell