Image via CNN

On December 31, while most of the country snuck their tokes from one-hitters and vape pens, Denver went all-in. Cannabis Tours — the first company to sell guided adventures to potheads the world over — teamed up with CNN for the network’s New Year’s Eve celebration with Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen. While they manned the desk in New York, correspondent Randi Kaye ventured onto the tour company’s Canni-Bus in the Mile High City to relay all the action.

Things kicked off with joints, bongs, and water bottles being passed around by tour guides Mike Eymer, Heidi Keyes, and Lady Ganja, and tiaras, shiny cone hats, champagne, and noise-blowers were also included in the tour package.

Then, around 6:30 p.m., CNN went live in Denver for the first time that night. “I’m trying to remember where we are,” Kaye said live on-air. “Where am I?”

CNN correspondent Randi Kaye on the Canni-Bus; photo by Randy Robinson

We were at Medicine Man, one of Denver’s biggest dispensaries. This was my first excursion with Cannabis Tours (although I’ve known Eymer personally for a while now), so I let the newcomers go ahead of me. Riders could pop in to the dispensary to grab some herb before we took a stroll through the facility’s state-of-the-art large-scale grow. Kaye didn’t buy any, probably because she didn’t need it. Back in 2014, when Colorado first launched legal recreational sales, she apparently caught a contact high after riding in a clambaked limo. Her confession became international news.

Kaye said while giggling during her 2014 exchange with Anderson Cooper, “I think I need to come home.”

No wonder she signed up for Colorado’s NYE in 2017.

As the night went on, CNN kept returning to the Denver segment, since — to be fair — we were the only featured city partying like we were erasing the clusterfuck that was 2017 from our collective memories. And the night just got wilder: while also streaming on Facebook, Eymer ghost-faced a bong gas mask for the uninitiated;’s Alice Moon and Ashley Manta a.k.a. the Cannasexual shined like diamonds in their red-carpet dresses; Michael Cassini rolled joints on the Blazy Susan all-in-one stoner tray; and Lady Ganja introduced the Incredibowl steamroller to a nation finally easing up to the prospects of legal weed — all live on one of the country’s biggest cable networks.

The party rolls on; photo by Randy Robinson

Some commenters on Facebook complained about CNN taking such a chill approach to banging bowls. Even Fox News snowflaked over it the next morning, probably because CNN trounces Murdoch’s fake news network in the ratings every New Year. Smart Approaches to Marijuana, otherwise known as SAM, called the feds on CNN for god-knows-what. But seeing as the DEA never showed up on our bus, I guess even the mirrorshades don’t give a damn about people having some good ol’ fun. Other commenters and outlets weren’t boofing broomsticks, as they praised CNN for its coverage.

The tour’s final stop was Puff, Pass, & Paint, a painting class where toking is encouraged. Everyone was supposed to paint a champagne bottle popping its cork, but some of us were too tore up to follow instructions (read: me). Other painters were instructed to create watercolor portraits of the CNN hosts, with surprising success.

At one point on the bus, someone passed Kaye a lit joint, and she hit it. The bus exploded in cheers. Because that’s how we roll in D-Town.

Here’s to the next New Year’s Eve seeing more weed tours in newly legal states; that gives CNN’s reporters another 12 months to work on their tolerance game.

Photo by Randy Robinson