Stoner bus Saturday turns into restful night’s sleep, sunny Sunday


What a beautiful Sunday it has been so far.

I woke at 4 a.m. – on the nose, just like old times – feeling incredibly well rested. The last time I looked out the window it still was light out, so I know I got at least eight solid hours of sleep. I could not tell you the last time that happened.

In fact, I woke up and I felt so good that I decided to write a story for a client that’s not due until Tuesday. It feels great to be ahead of things.

And despite there being pot, pot everywhere, I did not smoke any until I got my story done.

I think just being booze-free a few days after the relapse has reminded me of just how good a body feels when you don’t put alcohol in it. But of course, the weed is nice, too.

I am smoking the different strains today trying to get a feel for what’s what. This vaporizer thing is incredible. You load the bowl just like a bong, but then the device vapes it with the this red-hot toker stick inside a large metal tube.

There is no water and no juice, but somehow you inhale vapor instead of smoke. This is how the hotel can allow smoking inside and not have open flames or have the place smell like Amsterdam.

Anyhow, after I got my story done I went downstairs for the free breakfast – scrambled eggs, sausage links, fruit, etc. Then to V.I., next door, for a cobb salad and a bowl of cream of broccoli soup. I’m ordering from a famous Denver Chinese food restaurant tonight, Pepper’s, and having it delivered.


Hell’s Angel great for breakthrough symptoms

The Hell’s Angel strain of cannabis has a THC level of 23.5 percent. I’m not sure about the CBD level. It is sort of my “go to” if I am having any sort of anxiety. For example, when we were gathering at the Cheba Hut (an incredible sandwich shop by the way…holy moly) I was getting on edge. The place was so crowded, and so noisy.

Keep in mind, we filled three gigantic tour buses. I’m glad I ended up on the bus I did. I immediately pulled out the Hell’s Angel when we boarded and then I was fine with the crowd, etc.

When I started vaping the cannabis this morning I decided to begin with Fruity Pebbles. Fruity Pebbles is an Indica-sativa hybrid that I bought at medicine man. The THC level is 26.34 percent, which is the highest THC level of all the cannabis products I purchased.

It was a nice buzz. I continued to feel very productive all morning. I did lots of organizing and planning for the week ahead and felt very calm, content and happy, just as I do now.

I’m glad to see the sun come out and the fog lift, which exposes the mountain view from my room, pictured with this blog.

It’s hard not to be content getting stoned on a sunny Sunday with the best weed on the planet. The price of the plant is so low that it allows you to smoke it as it should be smoked.

For example, all those people who think the bowl should be cashed out or you’re being wasteful? That’s not true when you’re smoking flower, hardcore bud enthusiasts told me yesterday. When you burn off those terpenes on the bud, that’s pretty much all she wrote. From there, you’re just inhaling plant carbon as opposed to cannabis’s healing or psychoactive properties.

Smoking bud the way it should be smoked

The cannabis seems remarkably clean and mild here to me, even though I wrote a story two years ago for Healthline News saying the opposite was true.

When I smoke with this vaporizer, I can taste every little nuance. For example, a lemon strain that I got seriously tastes as vividly lemon as nibbling on a lemon peel. It’s delicious.

The lemon strain makes me horny, for whatever reason. It has a THC level of 15.6 percent (low for Colorado) and a CBD level of 12 percent (the highest I’ve seen yet). THC is the ingredient that makes people “high” while CBD is better known for its medicinal properties.

I’ve been vaping the lemon strain now and then for the past few hours. It has been difficult to find recreational marijuana in Colorado that has a low THC percentage and a high CBD percentage. The lemon strain is the closest thing I have found.

Some dispensaries have different selections for recreational vs. medical customers. Medical customers pay even lower prices and can legally access even more strains. Even in a couple of the dispensaries where I saw the medical-specific selections, the CBD levels were not very high.

I’m surprised how I really have been able to think perfectly clearly most of the time considering how much cannabis I have vaporized the past three days. In fact, it’s just the edibles that sort of hit me hard. I was giggling in my bed by myself for a couple of hours last night after that edible-filled bus tour, lol.

I don’t feel ”high” with any of the strains I’ve vaped today. Just happy and calm.

The marijuana seems to wear off quickly, and then I just want to rest.

When you’re as high strung as I am, there’s nothing wrong with that.

A pub crawl, but no idiots because we’re stoned instead of drunk


I admit that it looks scandalous, but debauchery isn’t the right word for it.

It’s just fun.

I was aboard one of three luxury stoner-fied tour buses that left Cheba Hut sandwich shop in downtown Denver this morning. We embarked on a four hour and twenty minute tour (yes, 4:20).

It included a stop at a marijuana growery where the smell of the plant alone made you feel like you were walking in the clouds.

I got some incredible photos, as you can see here. I did not actually snap the photo of this bud blooming on a plant, but I watched the guy who did do it. The guy who ran the tour, Ryan, knows just how to expose the shot just right and offered to shoot it with my camera for me. Thank you, Ryan.


We also went to the finest bong shop in the world, Illuzion, where one bong sells for a million dollars and many go for a quarter of a million or more.


We also went to dispensary, after dispensary, after dispensary. And really. How much pot can you smoke or do you need?

But there’s cookies, gummies and truffles, oh my. Edibles, they told me, stick with those — they’ll get you high.

Well, in fact I did all of it, and I feel absolutely wonderful and content and calm. It’s just as it’s depicted: Tour buses with disco lights and music videos on flatscreen televisions, people getting stoned in every way possible. Bongs, steamrollers, joints; munching on cannabis cheddar popcorn and gummies passed out like peanuts and M & Ms in Red Solo cups at Thanksgiving family gatherings in the 1970s. They were the pre pre appetizer. Really old school moms used those frosty party mints that melt in your mouth with the peanuts, not M & Ms.

At one dispensary an especially charming budtender said to me, “We have one cookie here, and I ate one once, and it made me giggle so bad I couldn’t interact with the customers.”

My response? “Two of those, please.”

They’re snickerdoodles and they’re delicious!

I booked The Original Denver Cannabis Tour through Colorado Cannabis Tours. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys smoking marijuana.

The passengers were a diverse group of nice, fun people, of all ages and skin colors and backgrounds. There was absolutely zero alcohol and nobody was the least bit intoxicated.

I could never smoke as much pot all the time as I did today, nor would I want to. But it sure was a fun way to experience America in a way I never would have dreamed possible.

And in the end, as Ryan noted, it really is just a fun, responsible time, with an emphasis on responsible. He admitted we were an especially fun, cohesive, put-together bus, however.

‘If they’re not dancing they’ll turn yellow and wither’

The growery had tremendously high security. Everyone was inspected by armed guards on the bus before being allowed to enter the facility. Inside, security was similarly tight.

The CEO of Colorado Cannabis Tours gave an intoxicating scientific speech about how cannabis is grown at  Medicine Man Denver. There actually are plants that just grow stems and seeds, and they line a long hallway known as “The Green Mile.” You can see it pictured here. Many celebrities such as Nelly have come to Medicine Man for photoshoots, with the Green Mile being the hot spot.


He said that for marijuana to grow properly it must “be dancing and happy.” He said the key to good growth is having the marijuana always slightly moving in the breeze, or, “dancing.”

He said if “they’re not dancing they’ll turn yellow and wither.”

Snowy (almost) May morning as I prepare for Colorado Cannabis Tour


I woke up to a snowy morning! A “winter storm” has arrived, two days before May. This is the view standing in the carport of the hotel.

The hotel was a bit noisy overnight, but it was a Friday, and as you can imagine, there are all kinds of people staying here. I fell asleep very peacefully and woke feeling very, very refreshed. So nice.

Next, I am taking a four-and-a-half-hour cannabis tour, where a tour bus takes you to all aspects of the marijuana industry, from where the cannabis is grown to world famous dispensaries. I have an hour to kill before the hotel shuttle takes me to the restaurant where we meet for that.

I’m wearing a brand-new Jerry Garcia tie I bought last month to premier on the cannabis tour. I also was delighted to see I packed my dad’s old Chicago Bears jacket, just in case it got chilly. So, I’m going to wear that too.

Now, to prepare for “What’s Quad-City?” all day long, lol.

Have a blessed day, I sure am!

Village Inn corporate HQ, famed pot hotel next-door neighbors


“Would you like some pie with that?” beams the wide-eyed waitress, expressing joy simply in asking the question.

They know their audience.

I noted earlier that when I saw a Village Inn located next door to my hotel I knew that was J.C. letting me know that that is where I can go to occupy myself and write my blogs instead of the hotel bar/restaurant.

I also had mentioned that I heard it was a “training center.”

In fact, it’s the corporate by God office.

Certainly, not the prettiest corporate office in the world, pictured here, nor is it in a swanky area of Denver, but it does have a restaurant attached to it. I’m sure it’s a microscope. I remember many years ago when I lived in Phoenix that the very impressive Circle K headquarters had a store in it, sort of jutting out the side of a cool but non-descript building. I remember thinking, wow, the pressure to work in the “microscope store” of a massive company.

Village Inn was founded in 1958 right here in Denver in a store located a few miles away. It’s still up and running. Today, there are more than 200 restaurants nationwide.

I got to chatting with the restaurant manager, Paula, and as small worlds would have it, she was born in Moline. She moved to Colorado many years ago as a child.

I told her that Village Inn in Moline, 1st Street, holds a very special place in my heart as every person who works there has treated me like family for many, many years. They went through the entire journey of my dad’s dementia death with me.

I explained to Paula that the Village Inn was located next to the bus stop, and how I would take the bus to dad’s memory care facility. I told her how they used to send my dad a free piece of pie now and then.

I told her how my dad’s final meal was two bites of a Village Inn coconut cream pie.

I told her how all the waitresses chipped in and bought my lunch the day my cat died.

Then tears!

Paula said that in fact, Village Inn 1st Street Moline is the top performing store in the nation. I am not surprised. Tim Masterson and his staff are all amazing. Absolutely every person who works there has gone out of their way to be kind to me and has seen me in all sorts of situations.

And of course, dad’s former neighbor who he adored, his dear Lisa, worked there for years. What a blessing that dad got to see Lisa literally just four or five days before he passed away. She said she was walking past St. Anthony’s and had heard he was in there and thought she would stop in. Dad already had gone mute by then but the nurses said he indeed got a kick out of her.

Of course, my Village Inn love affair goes back even further than that. We would go to Village Inn with my Aunts Enid and Mary and my mom, cousins Amber, Lisa, Cindy and Monica, sometimes more aunts, uncles and cousins, every Saturday back in the olden days of the 1970s, fun with cousins while our moms talked up a storm.

I asked Paula if the president and CEO comes into the restaurant.

“All the time,” she said.

Well, I would like to tip my hat to him or her and thank him for keeping Village Inn one of country’s best diners, hands down. It’s a pleasure to be your next door neighbor this week. I’ll be in for free pie Wednesday!

Feeling a “normal” in Denver long lost: Marijuana helping with PTSD


In typical Dave Heitz fashion, I was madder than a hornet.

I had been standing outside the airport in the cold – 34 degrees, to be exact, with no coat – for more than an hour. The marijuana tour service had not shown up with the limo. When I was calling them about it, I was getting voice mails.

If you know me, you can about imagine the voice mails I was leaving!

But we worked it out. It was a comedy of errors. And what has transpired after that one short hour of standing outside an airport in 34-degree weather certainly has made it all worth it.

This is my “rehab vacation,” where I stop taking the benzos and put an end to the booze relapse that started in January. The slope was getting slippery.

When my tour guide arrived in his white Acura SUV limousine, he knew just what to do.

“Are you serious? Is this really legal?” I asked, eyeing the pre-rolled joint.

“Yes, it is, so long as you sit in the back seat,” he replied.

Ten minutes later I had told him my entire life story in one breath, adding, “I’m really not much of a joint person.”

We pulled up to the dispensary. I had no idea what to expect.

We hop out of the limo (I was in the back seat, mind you) and I then pointed my Prius remote at the Acura, clicked it, and headed for the door.

My tour guide looks at me and says, “Did you see what you just did?”

Yes! And how fun to laugh.

Inside: A security guard, a window…sort of like how a doctor’s office would be in a correctional facility. You give them your driver’s license and then they call you back.

I discussed with the “budtender” that I have PTSD and recently applied, was medically approved, and paid the state for my Illinois Medicinal Cannabis Card. I told him I was waiting for it to arrive in the mail and in the meantime thought I would come here, smoke legally, and do some research. I told him I also am a journalist and blogger.

I explained that I want to be sober (from alcohol) this entire week and simply concentrate on educating myself and finding the right strains for my PTSD.

“Hell’s Angel,” he said, without hesitation.

“That’s what you had in the car,” the driver added.

I smelled it and it smelled like what I was getting my first year sober, when things were going remarkably well.

Waking up with Greg Dutra – it’s been so long

My physicians and therapist also have been concerned about the effect smoke has on my lungs, so they have been encouraging me to go with edibles when I get the card. The budtender and tour guide also were pushing me toward edibles.

So, I did buy some edibles. My physician in the Quad-Cities had mentioned the Stern dispensary has the gummies, so I bought some of those. Everything except for one container I bought is Indica strain.

Indica apparently is to be remembered as “like in da couch all night,” yet that’s not what it does to me. It gets me going and then I tire out naturally, satisfied by living an incredibly productive, anger-free day.

I did buy one-eighth of “White Poison,” which is a Sativa strain (“a head high,” the tour guide called it) because I asked for something that might induce creativity. One of the workshops put on by the tour company is called “Lit on Lit,” and it’s for writers who like to get high and write.

I tend to prefer writing as clear-headed as possible, although unfortunately I am willing to try anything once.

Tomorrow I am going to write a blog about my obsession since childhood with morning shows. Quad-Citians, let me remind you who the Denver Fox weather stud is…The Dutra! So maybe I’ll get out the “White Poison” to write that one.

Most importantly, both the budtender and the tour guide talked to me about things I can do around Denver to busy myself with, etc. They are used to dealing with sober people who only smoke weed.

Everyone here at the hotel is genuinely concerned that I maintain my sobriety this week and they truly are just one incredible bunch. This hotel is very, very nice for the price, much nicer than I expected. The room is huge. I do look out at mountains – and a freeway, and an industrial rooftop. But absolutely no complaints.

Next door is a Village Inn, which of course, is one of my faves. I already have been there once today. I met a waitress who is two years sober and I shared my story with her. She was wonderful. Apparently, the Village Inn next door is a training center, so they are open limited hours.

I’m looking forward to feeling GOOD AGAIN at the end of this week!!!!

Can I get an AMEN????!!!!



Finally, on the issue of my lungs. I have been provided a vaporizer for my room to smoke my weed with. They cost about $350; this one is rented. But that’s one solution to the combustion/lungs issue. I did not know they had devices for which you could vape flower, but that’s what this thing does.

Judge not, lest you will be judged, as they say. I think I truly am learning what that means. There is no one path to sobriety, to happiness, so long as you don’t hurt others along the way.

We all need that reminder. To be kind. To let people be who they are. I very much feel like I have a lot of those types of people in my life right now and I am so incredibly grateful for that.

There are good people in this world. I want to thank from the bottom of my heart everyone who follows my work. I always feel like you can never really go wrong by being authentic, so that’s what I try to do.

Tomorrow I am taking a 4 1/2 -hour long cannabis bus tour. It takes you to various aspects of the cannabis industry, from growers to dispensaries. Should be interesting


Still healing from trauma, NYC book trip benched for cannabis country


I’m just not there yet.

And that’s why I postponed my trip to New York City, where I was going to meet with book publishers and get some mentoring for my upcoming novel/tell-all/screenplay. Heck, it could even end up being a sci fi flick. I have no idea.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night, giggling about how I could portray the vixen if I were to give it a sci fi tint. Could be great fun.

So, who knows.

Also, while I’m not feeling so hot this past week or so about life here in the Quad-Cities, overall things have improved tremendously in terms of my outlook about that. But understand: All the money and material things in the world – even your childhood home – do not fix the pain a person feels when people you trusted violate it. People you thought were there to PROTECT you, not HARM you.

Such people are creepy.

So, I’m trying to forget. Writing a book about all of it isn’t going to help right now, when I finally feel like things are turning to a degree of normalcy.

I’ll say this as a book teaser: I truly believe the corruption problem is so bad where I live, that before it’s all over with, even if it takes three years, half a dozen politicians and public officials from this region will be in prison. And I’m not just talking about my personal experience or my knowledge garnered from years in the news business in the Quad-cities. There are LOTS of people who have had experiences like me. And we are connecting, let me tell you.

And, yes, we ARE called “victims.” Officially.

Lengthy, expensive process applying for Medical Cannabis Card

Now, where I won’t play the victim is in the truth that I have been sliding back down the alcohol slope. So that is why, today, in part, I just landed in…(drum roll, please, cue “Rainbow Tour” chorus)….DENVER!

Indeed, the mile-high city. And of course I’m going to get high. Well, not high, I’d rather say “treated.” In a very serious, controlled manner with strains specifically used to treat chronic PTSD. That diagnosis recently allowed me to apply for my Illinois Cannabis Card after consulting with my therapist, my doctor, and a physician in Chicago. I had two visits with the Chicago physician, who reviewed records provided by my therapist and doctor in the Quad-Cities.

It’s an expensive process. The card, valid for three years, was $300 in and of itself, paid to the state. There also are fingerprinting fees, and of course all the doctor’s fees.

The Chicago doctor spent quite a bit of time with me and asked several questions before qualifying me. He enjoyed hearing about my trip to the American College of Physicians conference in San Diego last month and said he went to it a few years back.

He also was glad to see I have had 100 psychotherapy sessions and continue to be in therapy, now for two years. I get professional psychotherapy for an hour twice a week at SouthPark Psychology in Moline.

While SouthPark Psychology does not take Medicare/Medicaid, I urge anyone with any sort of struggle to seek out their therapists if they have private insurance or can afford to pay out of pocket (which I did for a long time, and considered it money well spent). The place offers a level of mental health care that is just miles above the “big two” in town. I feel sorry for people who “give up” on getting better due to the poor care they receive from substandard Quad-City healthcare providers.

The dishonesty from hospital officials over the proposed Bettendorf psychiatric hospital is appalling. They are denying sick people who need immediate care, and they should be fined by a government agency.

Or, let the free market fix it — give people more choices. The local hospitals’ crafted, nonsensical explanations for opposing this hospital is not fooling one. single. person. Not one. Well, maybe their employees, who I’m told are bullied to support the propaganda.

I understand the hospitals are in a bind due to the state of Illinois not having a budget in nearly two years. That’s not the free market’s problem, nor is it the problem of people suffering from mental illness. They deserve choices in healthcare and the best healthcare they can find.

Shame on both local hospitals.

‘Marijuana maintenance’ kept me sober first year

I have been writing about medical marijuana since way back in my Healthline days. In the beginning, I was very much on board with it. For my first year of sobriety, I did do what is known as “marijuana maintenance” for 9 months after 90 days completely sober from everything but caffeine. But then I quit the marijuana, too.

At first, I feigned for it. Then I got over those feelings (because don’t kid yourself, marijuana IS addictive) and I especially enjoyed having clear lungs and a sharper mind. That said, I was getting some medical marijuana off the street during that year that did not make me the least bit high, dull my sharpness or cloud my mind. What it did do was turned my mind down to a normal level, allowed me to focus and just sort of surrounded me with quiet, if that makes any sense. I would love to find that exact strain again.

The problem with getting marijuana off the street, beyond the legality part, is that you just don’t know what you’re getting. All these different strains of marijuana are like pharma drugs, in a way. You’re not going to give an upper like Ritalin, for example, to a kid with a heart condition.

Marijuana and mental illness in general really don’t seem to go well together, research has shown. And yet most every state that has approved marijuana medicinally for PTSD, which is technically a mental illness.

I have a contact in Maine, Dr. Dustin Sulak, who is sort of “the national authority” on medicinal marijuana. I have interviewed him several times and he is very knowledgeable. He created a website called Healer that I wrote about not too long ago.

Taking a cue from fellow PTSD sufferers, addressing booze issue

Between my Facebook groups and all my recent traveling, I have met so many people with PTSD who are saying they have found relief with medicinal marijuana and are thrilled to be off the benzos.

The benzos. Yes. I’ll be thrilled to be off them, too. They’re just harsh. And sometimes I wonder if they led me back to booze, as they are alcohol in a pill, after all. PTSD and alcohol notoriously are a common, horrible mix. Like “throwing gasoline on a fire” a cop told me once.

I’ll end with a little something about my drinking. While I did get back on the wagon when I returned from Florida, I fell off it again in Savannah, Ga., and again in San Diego. And then I took the bold move of going to bars a few times in the Quad-Cities and even buying beer and Rumplemintze for at home.

We’re talking full-blown booze relapse. Who am I kidding.

And I’m done. Day 1 of sobriety began at midnight this morning. I always said I don’t believe in “turning back the clock to zero” on sobriety after a relapse – I did have almost three years of sobriety after all – but the fact is, I need to look at the booze as the ugly problem it is.

I make it no secret I’m not a fan of AA, but that’s mostly because I don’t like the meetings. There’s a lot of brilliance in the Big Book. And I always said, I NEVER had a moment’s hesitation with step one: I am powerless over alcohol.

At least once I drink it. So, I can’t.

How about some prayers that I make it all the way through my Denver trip without even taking a sip? I think it’s going to be easy in cannabis country and there should not be any excuse for it to happen even once.

I can do this. Again.

I’ll keep you posted, and I’m going to be completely honest about it.

Use social media if for no other reason than to ‘Rebut all the crazy anti-vaxers’


Dr. Kevin Campbell is giving his fellow doctors a lesson so many of us need: Social media is your friend and it is very useful in business. It even can improve your health.

Campbell (@DrKevinCampbell), Dr. Jay lee (@FamilyDocWonk) and Ravi B. Parik (@ravi_b_parikh) gave a crowd of more than 100 physicians some Social Media 101 Saturday at the American College of Physicians Conference in San Diego.

Many doctors – about half — indicated they already are on Twitter and Facebook and were avidly tweeting, posting and writing blogs at the conference.

But the other half essentially remained silent, and Dr. Campbell and the others offered the basics course that anyone who does not use social media every day needs. He had us all take selfies to Tweet with the program hashtag, which I haven’t done yet. I only brought my phone to this session and I uninstalled social media off my phone long ago. I must set limits! While some do nothing with social media, others go overboard.

Campbell brought up a common concern cited about some doctors about why they stay off social media and don’t discuss their work: HIPAA. But the truth, Dr. Campbell explained, is that privately messaging a colleague about a patient does not violate HIPAA. “HIPAA is the elephant in the room,” he said. “You can’t talk about a patient in an open forum unless you change the sex, age, etc. You CANNOT be able to make that person identifiable.”

I always like to throw in that an extremely successful medical malpractice lawyer in my town always used to tell me, “There’s no such thing as HIPAA.”

Campbell even spoke of how social media software could catch key phrases from people tweeting and posting on social media to determine whether patients on certain medications are experiencing certain side effects.

For sure, it’s big brother. But if it’s your good big brother and improves your health, that’s just called technology.

“Use this tool as if this is your stethoscope,” he told his colleagues. “We really believe social media can be a boon to your practice and your patient’s care.”

Just how powerful is social media when it comes to disseminating information and influencing our world? Campbell cited an incident in 2013 in which the Associated Press’s Twitter account was hacked. The Tweet was that the White House had been attacked and it was unknown whether the president was dead or alive, Bloomberg reported.

Use social media to ‘rebut all the crazy anti-vaxers’

One thing doctors have used social media for is to remind patients of important public health events, such as when it’s time to get an annual flu shot.

Campbell pulled no punches on why doctors need to post on Facebook and send out tweets, “flu shot, flu shot, flu shot!”

“We need to rebut all the crazy anti-vaxers with the credible scientific evidence,” Campbell said.

But he also spoke of a special relationship he developed via Twitter with another doctor in the Philippines. He met @GiaSison via the global exchange of ideas known as Twitter as she was seeking some cardio expertise.

In the South Pacific, diabetes and hypertension rates are through the roof, Campbell explained. He offered her some advice on how to make things better for her patients. Now, they have such a special professional relationship that she was direct messaging Campbell on Twitter as she was in fear for her father’s life during a cardiac event. Campbell helped her through it.

“Engaging with physicians in the Philippines, to see the struggles they have, makes us appreciate being able to practice in the U.S. albeit we have tons of problems,” Campbell said.

He noted that with so much misinformation on the web, doctors need to be out there policing it and making sure their patients know fact from fiction.

“(Social media) affects politics, it affects the market, and our patients may be out there being harmed if we’re not speaking out on things that are untrue or important.”

The ACP released official numbers this morning on conference attendance. Close to 10,000 people participated, including 7,766 registrants for the scientific program. About 800 doctors from foreign nations attended.