June 3, 2014 -- In Colorado, reviews of pot are fast eclipsing fuddy duddy reviews of wine, restaurants, cigars and pretty much everything else.
Since January, the Denver Post has been running a culture-of-cannabis website called The Cannabist. It reviews every conceivable variety of pot (recreational marijuana is legal in the state) but also pot’s accouterments, including pipes, vapor pens, cuisine prepared with pot and outdoor activities made more enjoyable by being high.
Ricardo Baca, 37, the Post’s marijuana editor and founder of The Cannabist, tells ABC News the site has been a huge hit (no pun intended) since its January debut. He declines to quote numbers for how much traffic it has gotten, but says, “We launched three or four days before recreational sales of marijuana started in Colorado, and we came out of the gate strong. The traffic has been unreal.”
His two freelance critics, Ry Prichard and Jake Browne, have reviewed 29 varieties so far, including Oaktown Crippler, Death Star, Blueberry, Stevie Wonder, Tahoe OG and, most recently, Maui Waui.
Browne’s review of Maui Waui -- less than glowing -- starts off positively enough: The “decently thick buds” exhibit hairs that are “almost an impossibly pale orange against a washed-out green. Think the Miami Hurricanes hat that Vanilla Ice used to sport.”
Its aroma, he writes, has been described by some as tropical -- “a mix of suntan lotion and frozen drinks.”
“The smoke was sweeter than expected,” he writes. “Immediately I felt a tingle in my nose that was less like a limb falling asleep and more like a pre-sneeze.”
Did Maui Waui induce the “Zen-like state of consciousness,” he had hoped it might?
“Nope.” A slight headache followed, he wrote.
In this respect -- the description of the mental and physical effects of consumption -- the Cannabist’s reviews waft far above and beyond standard reviews of, say, veal piccata.
Not only does the smoke of Death Star have “a pronounced tangy earthiness,” writes Browne, but its effect is “highly euphoric but extremely grounded at the same time. I found my legs tethered to the ground with my head meandering in the sky.”
Browne, 31, tells ABC News he feels he has a three-fold responsibility to readers: He needs to tell them what variety they’re getting; what it smells like and looks like; and how it will affect them.
He says he used to work as a bartender, and would have to recommend wines. "Now, what I do is like being a sommelier of marijuana.”