In the vast outdoor weed fair that is part of the High Times Cannabis Cup, Cat Jordan of Colorado Springs walks among the stalls, cradling her new water pipe.
The pipe has a pink bowl piece and an illustration of a dragon. It set her back $20, "a good price," she says. Jordan, a 22-year-old waitress, is among friends — thousands of them.
"It's just nice to see for yourself how many of us smoke," Jordan said, techno music blaring and the sun beating down midday Sunday. "It's obviously important to a lot of people's lives."
That much was obvious at the sold-out event at the Denver Merchandise Mart, which featured as the main draw an outdoor expo in the parking lot where marijuana companies offered samples to anyone 21 or over, or those 18 and over carrying valid Colorado medical marijuana cards.
"We're just trying to make everyone happy," said Ryan Luck, an assistant manager at the Medicine Man in Denver, which was handing out hits from marijuana strains it had entered in the competition that gives the event its name. "People are looking out for each other. It's a community. We're trying to keep it positive."
Women in purple wigs handed out purple kush. Stalls sold "Legalized It" T-shirt in the color scheme of the Colorado flag. Vape pens — a method for consuming marijuana without smoking it — were as prevalent as cell phones.
The tremendous amount of marijuana being consumed begged the question: How much is too much? Jordan said as a general rule, she slows down when she starts to get very tired.
She said she had sampled about 10 dabs, a concentrated form of marijuana that is extremely potent. She "got excited" and tried too much early, then slowed down, she said. Marijuana, she said, helps with her anxiety and is safer than prescription drugs.
If those in attendance did overindulge, four ambulances sat parked on a side street just outside the southwest exit.
Eric Gorski: 303-954-1971, email@example.com or twitter.com/egorski