January 1st, 2014. The sun hadn’t even come up yet, and he was pacing nervously around the inside of his store. Snow had fallen last night up in his small mountain town, which gave him pause. “What if no one shows up?” he thinks to himself, looking nervously out the windows onto the still-dark street. Some final adjustments, some final labeling, and then they’d go live. An hour passed. He looked again out that window, and saw something he couldn’t possibly believe. He checked his watch. 6:30 AM. The store wasn’t due to open for another three hours, but a line was beginning to form, with a group of people huddling around the grow light he had put outside as a gag. The doors finally open, and the people are able to purchase some of the first legal cannabis ever sold. Ever since recreational sales in Colorado became legal, Theran, the man in this story, and the owner of Kine Mine, has hardly had a chance to catch his breath. His story is a testament to persistence, because his shop was not always the bustling, multi-room spot it is today. In fact, before Kine Mine’s recreational side launched, Theran’s story sounded a bit different; perhaps a story that resonates with the many who either work in or own small businesses. A bank loan here to cover payroll. A called in favor to a relative to keep the lights on there. Kine Mine in Idaho Springs is the story of a small business that found itself at the cornerstone of history, and because of some incredible, organic product, a staff with a relaxed and cheery vibe as their M.O., and a location right off of I-70 that cannot be beat, has been able to thrive in Colorado’s second Gold Rush.
Getting to Kine Mine is simple enough: take I-70 west from Denver for about half an hour, and the first major town you’ll pass through is Idaho Springs. The dispensary is immediately off the highway, just east of Idaho Springs’ downtown, where you’ll almost certainly find people shopping for authentic Native American jewelry, feasting on some pizza crusts with honey, or slugging back some delicious craft beer named after peculiar mining elves. Kine Mine shares a building (or at least one of its buildings) with a liquor store, which is my idea of a one-stop shop. After a brief checkin at the desk, I was welcomed back into the dispensary’s recreational room. Immediately, my budtender Sara-Jane reached for the Sour Alien. The Sour D was very apparent in this strain, with a strong, pungent, diesel and earth smell that jumped right out of the jar at me. What’s better, the last time their Sour Alien was tested, she came in just around 30% THC, which would certainly make the starlit Idaho Springs night sky look a whole hell of a lot more interesting. Next up was the Bordello, which was a captivating mix of Blueberry Apocolypse and Alexis, which equates to a sweet, lemony indica-dominant hybrid that will knock you with its 25% THC. Despite being so indica-heavy, with THC levels like that, expect a strong head high as well. Finally, I was shown the Legal Eagle, which is a 100% sativa with a smell very reminiscent of Durban Poison, but with an odd, almost golden hue to it. Sara-Jane grinned as she opened the jar for me. “It’s incredibly energetic and fun.” Fair enough.
Like many dispensaries up altitude, Kine Mine’s prices are a little bit more shocking for smokers on the front range. For our recreational friends, an eighth of the good stuff will set you back $75 out the door. However, for you lucky medical card holding Coloradans, Kine Mine’s prices are rather comparable to dispensaries on the front range. Sure, you still pay a little bit of a premium to procure cannabis in such a beautiful town, but it’s difficult to argue against Kine Mine’s incredible convenience, located directly off the highway, on your way to any number of skiing adventures.
Kine Mine in Idaho Springs also offers selections from Mahatma’s Black Label, using the dispensary’s own bud. For a bit more variety, the dispensary also carries concentrates by 710 (which, if you read upside-down, spells “oil.” Heh heh. Cool). As far as vape cartridges go, the dispensary also carries the 250mg variety of the O.Pen for $55. However, if you’re willing, it’s a much better deal to pick up two of the cartridges and the battery of the vaporizer for just $100. When thinking about edibles, you have several options. While the dispensary carries several favorites, such as the Edipure candies or IncrEdibles, you can also find some Ganjala taffies. These 10mg taffies come in several different flavors, and are difficult to find anywhere. They’re absolutely delicious, too, which helps. Cafe Marley makes a strong medicated granola, as well as a drink mix for you to enjoy. Again, this is a company that is difficult to find very many places, but their granola is insanely good. If you’re looking for a piece of glass for you to burn up your recent purchases, the dispensary has a full gallery of glass pieces for any occasion. Are you from out of town, and are searching for a small little piece for a long weekend of enjoying Colorado? Perfect. Are you a local, looking for your next everyday hitter? All of Kine Mine’s glass comes from a local artist in Fort Collins, and his glass can be found peppered in display cabinets throughout the store.
As I was putting the final touches on my notes about the dispensary, I could not help but see the connections between Kine Mine, Idaho Springs, and Colorado’s rich mining history in general. Despite gold being found nine years prior in modern day Arvada, Colorado’s first major gold strike occurred in the early winter months of 1859, by a man named George A. Jackson at the confluence of Clear Creek and its tributary, Chicago Creek. Allegedly, Jackson decided on the spot due to the plumes of steam common in the area from the natural hot springs, and figured it was a convenient way to simultaneously look for gold, and hopefully not freeze his balls off. Unlike most afflicted with “gold fever,” his persistence paid off: all by his lonesome, Jackson struck it big. Word traveled fast up in the desolation of the Rocky Mountains, however. Despite Jackson’s best attempts in keeping his strike a secret, people assumed there must be gold in them hills, and set up shop right next to Jackson’s original claim. The creatively-named town of Jackson’s Diggings appeared practically overnight, followed shortly by many other similarly terribly named mining towns in the area. As the story goes, Jackson would go back to his native Missouri to fight for the Confederacy in the Civil War, and his town, which eventually became known as Idaho Springs, continued to prosper for several decades. It could be said that Jackson was in the right place at the right time, and I suppose the same could be said about Theran, the owner of Kine Mine. I tend to disagree. Despite the luck that got these men to their fortunate positions in history, they are both examples of men who showed persistence when it mattered most. On the one hand, who in their right mind would risk his own life in the frozen Rocky Mountain winter to hopefully find gold? On the other, who in their right mind throws everything onto the table, hoping that this recreational marijuana business will take off? Two industries, separated by 150 years of time, both show what it means to make it in Colorado: a little bit of luck, and a lot of good, old fashioned gumption. Is this the Colorado’s next Gold Rush? Green Rush? I suppose we’ll have to wait until a history text book designates us, but the parallels are certainly there.
If you get an opportunity to visit Kine Mine of Idaho Springs, Colorado, let them know you heard of them through the Dope Directory, and please give them a rating.