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The Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs is my home away from home, as I’m a devout Manitoid. Throw a few Moscow Mules in me and I start sprinting over there after slurping up some spirit-lifting spring water. Game after game goes the same way: I typically stick with a row of shooting machines in the cheapest part of the arcade (where the only true penny game and some nickel and dime games exist).

After having too much fun after one of these weekend fiestas recently, I knew I’d need some no-nonsense concentrate to get over the Sunday blues. Some Blackberry Star Grapes Sugar Wax from The Hemp Center helped this dude’s sweet tooth — and lack of siestas.  

The Hemp Center is much like the penny game at the arcade; it’s a hidden gem. The term is really overused these days, but I think The Hemp Center holds that title. Petite, intimate and looking like a mini doc’s office on the main strip of Old Colorado City, The Hemp Center shows off Grateful Dead memorabilia in the window and they had goodie bags wrapped up like gifts with patients’ names on them when I visited. It gave the feel that the patients are valued and known in a cozy and personable way. 

The Hemp Center fits right in with the local businesses in the area. And hey, if you get too stoned and you need to munch away your buzz, Slice 420 is right next door. A nice walk up and down the avenue window shopping, and maybe some real shopping, can also help tame the high. Considering the quality of The Hemp Center’s products, a powerful buzz wouldn’t be all that surprising. 

The sugar wax I picked up was from Famous Xtracts. It was sacchariferous, and the punch of it on the palate was full of moxie. The quality of this hash was not in question at all, but it made me remember a hard fact of the industry. When I had last sent my flower off for extraction, one mix had six different strains in it! Just as it’s hard to say which grams on the market are extracted from one strain or 10, this one had me confounded and questioning all my work up to this point. 

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Which strains had contributed to Blackberry Star Grapes Sugar Wax? Was it Blackberry Kush or just Blackberry? Deathstar or Sensi Star? Grape Ape or Grape God? Dear Lord, how would I know the terpenes or the parent strains? Sometimes, one just has to go with their gut if they don’t have all the information. Whatever the genetics or particulars, the terps in this concentrate zipped and zanged around the tongue, tasting of blackberries and fruit jerky. The taste didn’t cause me to pucker. In fact, it was a dead ringer for dandelion wine. Indubitably, it was an Indica and it gave me munchies and a body high. The experience was absolutely ambrosial.

I think, in this day and age, we put too much emphasis on finding “hidden gems” and not enough on the “hidden” part. People don’t realize there are a lot more diamonds in the rough than not, and they miss out on everything from dank dispensaries to penny arcade games.

So grab a buddy and walk around Old Colorado City and Manitou, and who knows? Maybe you’ll find my favorite hidden gem of a game in the Manitou Springs Penny Arcade. Although it is no longer unknown, The Hemp Center is the hidden gem of Old Colorado City, so if you find nothing else, go there and toke the yoke of your troubles away.