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My 420 Tours marries joint and sushi rolling into a one-of-a-kind educational experience 

click to enlarge Patrick Bailey is better at rolling sushi than me. - DIONNE ROBERTS
  • Dionne Roberts
  • Patrick Bailey is better at rolling sushi than me.
My 420 Tours, based in Denver, creates cannabis-centered events that partner with local dispensaries, grow houses, breweries and wineries to elevate the preconceived notions of slacker noir culture.

Most tours utilize a bus or a “medicine cabinet” where guests can legally partake in the consumption of recreational marijuana en route to their destinations for a full-on “hot box” experience. The group takes a drive to participate in the sushi- and joint-rolling class, which includes 2 grams of dank flower from Euflora and a thorough lesson in the age-old art of sealing both a proper jay and an ahi tuna roll.

We arrive at a warehouse-esque area and enter into Cluster Studios, a shared creative space with a number of rooms that contain varying art instillations, often used for photo shoots, weddings and special events.

My 420 Tours introduces us to our tour guide Nick Brogna and cannabis chef Patrick Bailey, who leads us down a hallway, stopping in front of what appears to be a section of wall, but with a gentle push opens to reveal our appointed classroom. Long tables hold all of the necessities: trays, rolling papers, grinders and filters alongside chopsticks, makisu (bamboo sushi rolling mats) and bottles of Sriracha and soy sauce. We settle in, more than ready to embark on this new chapter in our cannabis and foodie education.

Brogna and Bailey give us a step-by-step tutorial on how to prep our bud and then structurally execute a sustainable joint that burns evenly for maximum enjoyment.

I loudly admit an affinity for glass and confess that this is my very first attempt to roll a joint. With some encouragement, I do manage to roll a short, compact version that isn’t half bad — with some assistance from Bailey.

With my “small but fierce” roll in hand, I proudly stroll outside toward the unassuming bus to give it a real-time test run. Surprisingly, I discover that for this particular tour, the “medicine cabinet” stays parked and operates as a stationary party cove of sorts. I climb in and am amused by the swanky interior, which reminds me of bachelorette shenanigans, complete with neon track lights and black, ostrich leather seats. I plop down amongst the puffing patrons, spark up and savor the flavor of the hybrid, Orange Sherbet, which I am pleased to find smokes at a gradual, even rate.
I wrap up my initial smoke session and re-enter the classroom. I’m feeling no pain and excitedly gear up to learn another form of rolling. Plates hold sheets of seaweed, an assortment of traditional vegetables, with papaya (Bailey says it’s similar in texture to avocado but doesn’t brown when exposed to air) and an uncanny mountain of white sticky rice. Another bowl contains our proteins: crab meat and multiple strips of sushi-grade tuna and salmon. Bailey walks the class through the phases of layering the paper-thin seaweed and spreading the rice at the right thickness and suggests possible flavor combinations and placement of the produce and fish.

Then comes the maneuver... I don’t hesitate and carefully follow his instructions, wrapping the mat just so and pinching it down in a way that begins the rolling process without smashing the inner workings of my delicate dinner. Much like my joint, it’s not perfect, but it’s not entirely unattractive either, and both substances taste and feel pretty damn fine as they hit my lips.

Cynthia Ord, My 420 Tours’ director of marketing, says that initially there was just going to be one sushi- and joint-rolling class but it “just went so well we decided to run with it and offer it regularly.” The company offers excursions that run $29 to $99 (the cost of the sushi- and joint-rolling class). One new option: cannabis and craft beverage pairings and street art in RiNo (River North Art District), which Ord calls “one of Denver’s hottest neighborhoods.”

“We’re excited to bring people there and sprinkle cannabis on top of their RiNo experience,” says Ord. “And since we don’t need the bus, they’re at a lower price point.”

So, are all these tours and activities totally legal? Ord says that laws don’t address this type of business model.

“There’s a lot of gray area that still needs to be defined and we’re happy to help Denver define it and set a good example for cannabis tourism,” says Ord. “We emphasize cannabis experiences that are fun, educational and legal to locals and visitors alike and we’re spearheading what cannabis culture can look like in a legalized place.”

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