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Burn one down at Tokers Lounge


Tokers Lounge owner Mitch Papers opens a mesmerizing bar and marijuana café in the outskirts of Des Moines.

Tokers Lounge owner Mitch Papers opens a mesmerizing bar and marijuana café in the outskirts of Des Moines.

At first glance, Tokers seems like a run-of-the-mill hippie bar one might stumble into unknowingly while visiting San Francisco: Bob Marley on the jukebox, bearded, dread-head patrons chilling in their grandpa’s Grateful Dead T-shirts under flannel button ups. Within the cloudy haze of euphoria, regulars lazily smile, eyes glassy, sipping on Absinthe, joints ablaze like an opium tent straight out of the Old American West. Ah, breathe in the air, because, despite the poor ventilation, there’s just something refreshing about Iowa’s first marijuana café.

Tokers is anything but your average hippie hangout, though. Here guests can actually buy and smoke weed (almost) legally. Before the blunt smoke settles into your pores, you may wonder how this is all possible.

“I bought this property a couple years ago from this guy — it was a real shady deal to be honest,” admitted owner Mitch Papers. “I discovered that the land is not technically on U.S. soil, so I don’t have to follow bullshit prohibition laws. These three acres are actually ancient Indian burial grounds that some Norwegian immigrant bought for dirt cheap and built a bar on it.”

Upon making this surprising discovery, it only seemed right that Papers opened Iowa’s first sanctioned marijuana café, modeled after those popular in Amsterdam.

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“Law enforcement isn’t happy about it, but there’s nothing they can do,” he said, nodding toward a federal parchment framed on the wall next to a Cypress Hill poster that laid out his legal exemption.

Papers makes frequent visits to California and Amsterdam looking for the best seeds in order to give his customers high quality products. He grows and cares for the plants in a greenhouse on the property until they are ready to be harvested. After autumn harvest each year Papers plans to use the plants to sell a plethora of different products, a selection of edibles or packs of pre-rolled joints and lids sold by the gram.

“The packs of joints are easily my top seller,” he says.

Papers carries classic strains like Purple Haze, White Widow and Kush, but also has the rare Red Dawn. Having the top names in marijuana isn’t enough for Papers, though, who for the past six months has been developing his own, very powerful, hybrid strand of weed called Blue Ivy, named after Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s daughter — a tribute to his idols, he said.

“I can’t tell you how I did it because the patent is pending, and I don’t want anyone to steal it,” he said. “All I can say is it’s the best thing to happen to weed since Maui.”

Papers guarantees that one puff of Blue Ivy is all a smoker will need to let reality and all its worries fade away. The new flavor will debut on April 20 with a public tasting. Papers is expecting a large crowd of stoners, young and old, and encourages pre-ordering your tickets. Tickets are $80, which includes a three-gram sample, and go on sale on April 6 at 9 a.m. online at APRIL FOOLS


420 High Street, Bondurant
877-WEED (9333)
Hours: Every day, 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Happy Hour: Weekdays 4-5 p.m.
Capacity: 100


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