Taking a Trip, Literally, on Colorado’s Pot Trail

By ALAN FEUER | The New York Times

… I should note from the start that I’m not much of a smoker. While bourbon doesn’t last long on my shelf, I get high, at most, a few times a year. That’s why I appreciated the weekend’s first event: an orientation with a cannabis sommelier. I had by then already checked into my hotel downtown, the Crowne Plaza Denver, where a winking desk clerk handed me a large metal vaporizer, my so-called in-room unit. Alone, upstairs, I took it for a shakedown run. It was only 9 a.m.

Having thus obtained the proper frame of mind, I went back down to meet a man named Mike Metoyer, who, as I’d been told, would serve throughout the weekend as my cannabis spirit guide. I found Mr. Metoyer in the lobby, waiting for me in a My 420 T-shirt with its buds-beneath-the-mountains corporate logo. He introduced himself and handed me a swag bag. This, I saw, contained a smaller vaporizer for use outside my room, a recent copy of Dope Magazine and — because of Denver’s potent homegrown — a bottle of lavender oil designed to bring me down if I suffered a panicky high.

Like almost everyone I met in the local pot trade, Mr. Metoyer, who is 22 and grew up in a Pentecostal church, had come to marijuana only recently. A few years ago, he told me as we made our way into a ballroom, he’d been working as a docent at a silver mine in the mountains when J.J. Walker, founder of My 420, went on one of his trips. Mr. Walker was apparently impressed and offered Mr. Metoyer a job. “I didn’t believe at first that ‘pot tour guide’ was, you know, an actual position,” he said. “But as you can see, it obviously is.”

Waiting for us in the ballroom was our sommelier, Michael Pyatt, the director of training at Native Roots — “the Gucci of dispensaries,” Mr. Metoyer whispered as we sat down at a table. Mr. Pyatt is a tall, thin man of 27, formerly employed in sales at Best Buy. His knowledge of the product, accumulated over years of personal research, was exhaustive and, within a few minutes, he had filled our table with little plastic canisters of weed…

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