The recent floods in Boulder had one positive effect: The University of Colorado football game was canceled last weekend. I know it's selfish of me, but Boulder is much, much easier to get around without thousands of people masquerading as fans for a subpar college football team and using it as an excuse to get drunk.
Without the traffic, getting up to North Boulder Wellness Center from Denver was a (slightly humid) breeze.
North Boulder Wellness Center
1495 Yarmouth Ave. Boulder, CO 80304 720-328-0118 NorthBoulderWellness.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $9-$13/gram $30-$40/eighth-ounce, $175-$225/ounce. Taxes not included in pricing. Other types of medicine: shatter, hash, wax, edibles, tincture, lotions. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
Beware: The MMC isn't the most obvious. I drove past it twice, assuming Siri and Google were conspiring to sidetrack me before realizing that the slate-roofed, pink retirement-condo-esque townhomes I was passing were actually businesses. Parking and entrances are in a lot behind the building.
The shop shares an entrance with what looks like a holistic healing center, though it's easy to figure out which is which when you walk in via the required locked entrance. I rang the buzzer and stood around for a minute while one of the women working the bud counter walked barefoot over to the door to let me in. There were two patients ahead of me, so I snagged a glass of water and took a seat in one of the two vibrating massage chairs on site.
The waiting room felt like the living room of pot dealers I used to use in the past. Not college-hippie pot dealers, but the post-graduate bachelors with nice apartments who sold pot on the side to supplement their income. All of the furniture felt like a single man had walked into an American Furniture Warehouse store with his credit card and walked out an hour later with his living room.
After about ten minutes of reading magazines while having my back artificially karate-chopped in the chair, it was my turn to head back through the arched doorway to the tranquil, roomy bud bar.
A long, black-wood-and-glass display case is set up around the space, with bud in the cabinet facing the door and accessories and vaporizers in the case to the right. Whompy electronic music thumped from a stereo nearby, echoing around the tall, angled ceilings. The space was lit solely by the huge windows, emphasizing the relaxed, Saturday-morning vibe of the place.
My budtender was a laid-back college student, happy to show me buds and offer her commentary on them -- which wasn't ever anything more than "That's one of my favorites" or "That's a good strain." Based on the center's menu of interesting genetics, a slant toward OG varieties and high marks online, I figured I was in for a treat.
Unfortunately, everything on the shelf I checked out looked like it was harvested prematurely or didn't get enough nutrients during flower. The strains had a light, fluffy appearance and the same dried-green-tea smell to them regardless of which of the three price tiers they were set at. No strain-distinct odors from cuts of OG Cheese, Power Kush, Trainwreck, Blue Dream, Kandy Kush x Dark Star, Hell's Angel's OG, OGer and other normally funkadelic strains. Total letdown.
After fiddling around with about six or seven of the strains, I made my mind up on two of the best-looking jars in the shop: Kandy Kush x Dark Star and the OGer. Neither were what I would consider textbook examples, but both had a few redeeming qualities.
The Kandy Kush x Dark Star had tiny little calxyes that were coated in enough silver trichomes that I figured it was worth a shot. Unfortunately, the wispy, underdeveloped buds felt light and spongy, like cotton balls, in my fingertips. Even at the shop, they lacked a strong, Kushy smell, but I figured it might come out when I broke up the buds. Wrong again. Doing so just made the dried-hay/teabag smell more pronounced. Smoked, the buds burned well, but with a generic, smoky flavor, down to a nice white ash. Basically, the weed wasn't finished. At $30 for an eighth, I didn't feel too ripped off. But if this is what is regularly served up at North Boulder Wellness, then I'd probably shop elsewhere.
The OGer flowers I brought home were more developed than the Kandy Kush x Dark Star, but they still felt puny compared to OGer bags I've had from other growers. They also lacked any unique smell out of the jar, with a blandness that was disappointingly typical of all of the jars on the shelf during my visit. Broken up, the buds let out a light skunkiness, but the lack of a strong curing time on the harvest was evident. Smoked, the buds had a murky, smoky taste but packed a surprisingly solid buzz. Very calming physically, but with an almost speedy mental thing on the side. At $35, this wasn't awful. But don't go expecting to find anything much better right now, even on the $40 top shelf.
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For concentrates, North Boulder Wellness had $50 grams of shatter oil from Herbal Sacrament, $30 grams of wax and $20 grams of regular pressed icewater hash. I kept it old-school this week and went with the bubble hash, mostly because the center didn't have half-grams of solvent-extracted concentrates for sale, and I didn't want to gamble $50 on a gram of oil. Anyway, the classic hash was exactly what you would expect from dark-brown pressed and dried bubble hash. It burned rather than boiled or melted and added a thick, clay-like earthiness to the smoke. My favorite way to consume this stuff these days is to heat it with a lighter and crumble it into joints. And for $20, it was exactly what I needed. Knocking $5 off the asking price would be better, as that seems to be the going rate in Denver these days. But overall, this hit wasn't a miss.
Based on reviews I've read online and photos I've seen of past harvests, the shop seemed to be in the midst of a bad few weeks or was harvesting early to keep up with demand. Given their genetics, I could see why the MMC comes so highly recommended. Still, I would wait a few months for things to improve to that level before stopping by.