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Why Colorado Tokers Love Runtz

These Runtz cost more than 50 cents.EXPAND
These Runtz cost more than 50 cents.
Herbert Fuego
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It's no secret that candy dominates the edibles market. Chocolates, gummies, lollipops, mints — they're always near the top of the counter. Some of that sugary fun has crossed over into the strain world, too, with varieties like Zkittlez, Kush Mints and Candyland all seeing various levels of success over the past couple of years. But none of them have grabbed potheads by the tongue like Runtz.

Runtz, which originated in Los Angeles, is beloved for its fruity flavor profile, potent-yet-balanced high and wide array of colors. (Coming from the Cookies family and being pushed with colorful marketing didn't hurt, either.) Originally a child of a Gelato #33 phenotype and Zkittlez, Runtz had a huge 2020 and has since sprouted a family of phenotypes, with White Runtz and Pink Runtz becoming popular strains on their own.

Although Colorado got in on the Runtz game later than California did, the movement is up and running now as some of the state's most popular dispensaries and cultivators jump on the bandwagon.

The strain's visual appeal is hard to deny, and Runtz's name and (if sold by Cookies) vibrant packaging are an instant draw at the store — but the flavor profile and high aren't anything new. Sugar-laden buds and flavor with a strong, even-keeled high could describe half the flower in Denver right now.

Runtz has been easy to find in Denver for over a year now, with wholesale and dispensary growers both taking on the strain. We've recently seen it at 1136 Yuma, Alternative Medicine on Cap Hill, Berkeley Dispensary, The Center, Cure Colorado, Doc's Apothecary, Ganja Gourmet, Golden Meds, Green Dragon, Igadi, Karing Kind, LaConte's, L'Eagle, Life Flower, Lightshade, Lit, Local Product of Colorado, Medicine Man, Mighty Tree, Roll Up, Timberline Herbal Clinic and Twin Peaks Dispensary, but there are no doubt many more stores carrying it. Most of the flower you'll find is grown by popular wholesale cultivators like Bloom County, Clearwater Genetics, Cookies, Millennia Genetics and Snaxland.

Clearwater and Snaxland both do the strain justice — and stunk up my car for a couple of days — but Cookies' cut is probably the closest to the original. All of them are going to cost around $60 an eighth, however. L'Eagle's $35 version, although drier than I'd like, was the best value I've come across in Denver, sporting royal purple spots that give Grape Ape a run for its money.

Looks: Sure, all phenotypes and growing environments can produce something different, but if you're not getting deep-purple spots in between electric-lime buds, you're justified in being disappointed. Runtz is generally lighter and wispier than most Cookies cuts, with gangly calyxes covered in sharp, distinct trichomes that look like a tentacle.

Smell: Runtz's aroma jumps out of the bottle and sticks to your clothes, which is rare for a fruitier strain, but speaks to its power. Although a candy-like scent with a little rubber and Durban Poison at the end is what I usually pick up, Runtz is popular enough nowadays to deviate.

Flavor: It's hard to maintain that candy-shop appeal from smell to smoke, but Runtz does a good enough job of it if grown correctly. Sugary hints with notes of berries, similar to Alien Rock Candy, are cut out by subtle hints of wet soil and pine, giving the flavor a little earthy balance to all that sweetness.

Effects: Considered a 50/50 high, Runtz's effects generally start in my head and eyes, sparking an instant cerebral high that kills my peripheral vision and stress. Despite the tunnel vision, concentration and energy aren't hard to come by for the first hour or two, and that plays nicely with the lack of stress. Physical relaxation and munchies are inevitable, though, so be prepared to crash.

Is there a strain you'd like to see profiled? Email marijuana@westword.com.

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