Denver Post weed critics smoke and tell

Jake Browne is a paid pot critic.

Just as a wine critic can tell a Cabernet from a Merlot by sniffing, he can do the same with marijuana, reports CBS News' Barry Petersen.

"You are also going to have visual cues from marijuana whether it's dense, or does it tend to grow a little bit longer, different colors, all those things help you make that full diagnosis," Browne said.

So before you send in a resume, make sure you know the difference between OG Kush and Deadhead OG, because Browne does without looking.

Browne writes his reviews over coffee in public, but he heads home to his back porch to smoke in private, as required by Colorado law.

He took a hit and gave his first impressions.

"Nice, a little hashy, but it tastes like a clean flush," Browne said. "It's almost kind of a movie theater popcorn flavor, which is nice. Like a really quick, uptake and heart rate. You know, a little bit of pressure in the face."

In Colorado, recreational pot became legal in January. Browne's reviews run in TheCannabist.co, a web site run by the Denver Post about all things pot.

Its editor, Ricardo Baca, looks for critics who are experienced writers and smokers. That experience makes them authoritative on the topic.

"You know, it's a squandered youth," he said, laughing.

Reviewer Ry Prichard might agree with that. He started smoking and studying pot as a teenager, and focuses on how different strains can help different medical problems, from easing anxiety to easing the pain of terminal diseases.

"It's not my favorite type of flavor, I guess," Prichard said, smoking marijuana and assessing. "It's a little neutral for me, but it's clean, it's clean. It's good, you know, good medicine from the sense that it is grown cleanly," Prichard said.

His reviews are both informative and technical.

"Basically what gives cannabis its flavor is terpenoids and flavonoids," Prichard said. "There's terpenes that smell dead on to lemon peel and lemon zest. There's some, like I said, that smell like skunk and death. So you really have the entire wheel."

It's an acquired taste, he said.

Perhaps it was inevitable that the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use would spawn a new kind of journalism in which even the pot critics are still getting used to their new careers.

"I mean, it definitely wasn't where I saw myself. My dream job was to be a lawyer," Browne said. "Now I just hope I won't need one."

And who knows? Someday there may even be a Pulitzer Prize to light up and write up.

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