I'll be honest: The name Chronorado sounds like something a marble-mouthed hippie would say when telling his friends where the Rainbow Gathering is this summer. And the place isn't that appealing from outside. But lately, the shop's been getting decent reviews from people I've encountered, and I figured I could brave it even if it was run by uber-heady hippies. I couldn't have been further off in my assessment.
6625 Leetsdale Dr. Denver, CO 80224 303-951-5151
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Online menu: No. Other types of medicine: Edibles, hash, BHO Handicap-accessible?: Yes.
The lobby had an earth-toned theme going on, with dark-leather armless chairs and faux-suede couches surrounding a simple wood-and-glass countertop. The combination looked like a floor setting at American Furniture Warehouse. A huge flat-screen TV with surround sound hung from the wall over a sitting Tibetan Buddha statue, but it was turned off, and modern dancehall reggae blared from the stereo.
I walked over to the receptionist window and waited a few seconds while my budtender, Rob, made his way from the back of the shop to take my paperwork. After I spent a few minutes reading pot magazines, Rob appeared in the doorway and introduced himself with a handshake. A tall, skinny guy with gelled curly hair and a big smile, he reminded me of friends I met in Jamaica last April -- though my impression probably had something to do with the music and the clef-and-note tattoos on his arm.
The interior of the shop is surprisingly bare compared to the relatively well-furnished lobby. There's a lot of room, with a big curved wood-and-glass display cabinet in the middle of the room showcasing Chronorado's food, tincture, concentrate and herb selection. Two more huge televisions were in place above the bar. But instead of screening a pricing guide or menu, they were tuned to some movie on TBS. (The dialogue from it could be heard throughout my visit.) The rest of the space was left empty; it reminded me of moving into a new place and discovering you don't have enough stuff to fill it.
Rob gave me the quick rundown of their edibles, pointing out that the Dr. J's products Chronorado sells are nearly twice as strong as the rest of the stock but are priced the same. Aside from the the Dr. J's 250 mg muffins and cookies, the center carried a meager number of edibles from Cheeba Chews and one or two other brands. On the plus side, everything sells for $10 or less. There's also a huge grow box containing $10 and $15 clones.
The shop also featured run-of-the-mill, dried-out bubble hash, as well as a dark, amber consistency BHO made from mixed trim that had almost no smell whatsoever when I popped open the small half-gram jar. Nothing worth the money when there are better concentrates being made out there.
Herb sells for $40 an eighth and $75 a quarter including tax, plus a $25 strain-of-the-week. In the shop, with a patient behind me waiting and Rob throwing jars under my nose one after another, I have to admit that the herb I saw looked impressive. Everything is grown in coco fiber with organic nutrients, he told me, almost drooling while describing the chunky buds it produces.
I was pleasantly surprised at first, which Rob could tell; he began to get excited for me. The Hell's Angel's OG Kush had an appropriately funky earthiness, the Sour Grapes had a surprisingly sour-grape tartness, and other strains, like the Blackberry Kush and Durban, looked and smelled as they should. Chronorado also had a $25 discount shelf of strains that were considerably less developed than the other flowers contained in the small, trichome-hazy Mason stock jars. One of the most impressive strains (at first) was a White Urkle so crystal-coated that looked as if it had been left out in the snow.
But what I missed, and he missed -- and what I'm almost positive the growers couldn't have missed -- was the infestation of fungus gnats in that crystalized purple flower. Because I wasn't able to crack open any buds in the shop, I didn't notice the little fuckers tucked away in the folds of the buds near the stems, where they like to hide out.
Whoever dropped the ball and let those dirty meds go out should start actually doing his job or let someone else competent take over. Pardon the awful pun, but that shit just doesn't fly. I wasn't able to get any answers about what happened, as my calls and e-mails to the dispensary weren't returned.
Most disappointing was that, bugs aside, the buds were amazingly perfumed and potent-looking -- and for that reason I would probably have given them a second visit eventually. But the stigma of these black buggers is going to stick with me for some time.
White Urkle: $40/eighth The image the name conjures up convinced me to bring home this interesting mix of White Rhino and Purple Urkle and feed it to my bong. Big, fatty calyx development that produced chunky buds made fuzzy by some serious trichome coverage. Shining a white LED at this bud made it sparkle like a diamond in the shop. But inside my two grams were dozens (if not hundreds) of small black gnats crammed in the nugget. One or two I can understand. But this was an infestation.
At least two dozen dead black gnats in one chunk.
Now, what I found weren't necessarily bad for me to smoke, but they're nevertheless gross to find in your herb, and made me gag a bit when I realized I had already smoked several dozen of them when I blindly packed up a bowl. Shit like this is unacceptable, regardless of how well the rest of the herb was grown, and I have a hard time believing that nobody saw these things before now, let alone while the plant was being harvested. If you've got some of this White Urkle, look closer for little black stowaways and get Chronorado to replace it or refund you.
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Hell's Angels OG Kush: $40/eighth After my bug find in the White Urkle, I was understandably cautious about the other flowers I brought home. So I pulled apart the Hell's Angels OG calyx by calyx when loading up bowls and was relieved when I didn't find any bugs. Like the White Urkle, the buds were well-developed, with fat, round calyxes stacked on one another forming a beautiful pinecone bud coated in crystal goodness. I've not had this pheno before, but have heard a lot about it recently. From what I got, it seemed more earthy than other OGs without the high citrous notes and had a strong kushy flavor that lasted until after the bowl was long finished. Hypnotically stoney, the bud caused some major derailment of my train of thought for a good hour before I finally got back on track. Not something I would advise for a mid-day puff unless you've got shit else to do. But for pain relief, sometimes things this strong are necessary.
William Breathes is the pen name of Westword's wandering medical marijuana dispensary critic. Read more of his reviews in our pot blog, Mile Highs and Lows, and keep up with all your marijuana news over at The Latest Word.