And you're invited.
Back in January, NOAA meteorologists reported a brilliant haze-like anomaly ascending into the atmosphere high above Colorado's famed 14ers. Dubbed the "Puffy Grail" it's since been attributed to a mass exhale sparked by lawmakers legalizing in-state recreational marijuana sales.
It's now kosher to purchase and smoke pot in Colorado—where Johnny Law allows—and as anglers prepare for post-runoff hatches, basking in these newfound freedoms is as simple as plucking a winning fly from an assortment of fly-shop bins.
"Fishing without marijuana is like fishing without beers," says Gregory Viditz-Ward, owner of Telluride Green Room, one of three recreational bud proprietors thriving in the former-mining-now-skiing town. "I just can't do it."
Boosted by a solid ski season, business has been rolling since he opened doors to locals and out-of-staters at the turn of the year. And as the snow melts to slush this spring, he hopes to see sales grow with an influx of rods aimed at southern Colorado rivers like the Dolores, San Miguel, Gunnison, and Uncompahgre.
Prime on-the-water smoke selections vary, Viditz-Ward says, "but for rivers, you want more of a hybrid. A pure Sativa is too energetic. And a pure Indica is going to be too mellow." Greg's fav: Blue Dream—a high that hits marijuana users with just the right blend of both, at $20 a gram, tax included.
Along the I-70 corridor, Caitlin McGuire, at the Marijuana Club in downtown Breckenridge, is also serving 21-year-old-and-ups enhanced experiences via a sea of green. "Whether it's skiing or fishing, or buying marijuana for doing both," she says, "that's now an option. We'd like to see more flyfishers and show them around the shop, as well as places they can legally smoke in town."
Her preferred outdoor-activity bud, like Viditz-Ward's, is a psychoactive Sativa-dominant strain. While Indicas are amusing, they're probably better for riding the couch than pointing rafts down the nearby Eagle River, especially during high flows. Sour Diesel and Frost varieties should do the trick, McGuire says, delivering an "energetic high" at about $25 a bag. Local's discounts apply.
Two important things to keep in mind: 1) Not all potshops in Colorado are licensed to sell recreational marijuana. Many retailers that you pass on the street are still medical marijuana outlets, where you'll need a card in order to buy. And 2) You can't just light-up anywhere you please. Know the rules, and also use common sense and discretion.
Not surprisingly, several websites and apps have sprung up since January showing where to purchase legal marijuana in or near trout towns. On WeedFinder.com, plug in your destination, and peruse shop options from Denver to Telluride, Pueblo, Durango, and all along the Front Range. If you're more of an app-user, download "weedmaps" on your smartphone. And try not to be late for work, again.