In "Mile Highs and Lows," Westword offers a no-holds-barred look at what goes on behind the locked doors of marijuana dispensaries, whether they resemble swanky bars or a dope dealer's college dorm room. See our dispensary list here, and keep reading for William Breathes's review of Pure Medical Dispensary.
Pure Medical Dispensary 1133 Bannock Street, Denver 303-534-7873 (PURE) www.puremmj.com
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 6 p.m. Sunday Owner: Frank Quattrone Owner's statement: "Life shouldn't have to hurt, and with medicine that we have here at the shop, we hope to help people cope with everyday life and bring up the quality of their lives." Opened: February 2010 Raw marijuana price range: $20 a gram/$50 an eighth, tax included Other types of medicine: Edibles, concentrates, tinctures Patient services and amenities: Grow classes in the works Handicap access: Yes
Our take: The word "simple" came up again and again when talking with owners and budtenders at Pure Medical Dispensary. They keep the decoration simple. They keep their advertising simple. They keep the ganja bar simple. And most important, they make it simple for patients to understand the herbal medicine they are buying.
In keeping with the art-district surroundings, Pure's interior is artistically minimalist. The waiting room is enormous and sparsely furnished, but space doesn't feel wasted so much as purposefully left plain. Nor does it feel uncomfortable or cold, but rather soothing and warmly lit. A three-piece contemporary oil painting hangs above mod green, blue and white molded chairs and a very low, surfboard-sized oval coffee table. Cork floors help keep the noise down in the otherwise bare white cinderblock waiting room. "We are trying to put forth more than just the norm," owner Frank Quattrone says of the atmosphere he has created at Pure. "Some places are doing it the real easy way, and it's just clear that it's not all about it being medical."
After filling out my paperwork to some low-volume Bob Marley, I was buzzed back. The massive dispensary room maintains the same art-gallery vibe as the waiting room, with bare white walls and a stained concrete floor. The front half is taken up with a birch-fronted bud bar angled across three-quarters of the space. Quattrone says they plan to turn the back half of the space into a commercial kitchen where they can manufacture all of their edibles.
It was early in the day, but already it had been a hectic one, according to the budtender. Still, he was quick to ask my general medicine needs and give me a breakdown of the strains. Everything was kept at eye level in display cases, which made me realize how often I have to lean over or bend down in front of a glass counter. The shop had fifteen strains -- all grown in-house -- on the shelves the day I was in.
Nearly each cut had a small card in front that gave the genetics of the strain as well as test results from Full Spectrum Laboratories, including THC, CBA and CBD levels. Quattrone says the labeling can help patients easily find what levels help their medical condition. For example, strains high in CBD content can help more with nausea than other strains.
"What is in the medicine is what should matter, not really the name on the card," he explains. "Once you find the ratios that work and make you feel better, you can stick to those zones and you can shop other strains more wisely."
Pure is currently growing everything in organic soil, and Quattrone makes a point of noting that the curing process is at least two weeks long. This work shows (and smells).
I went through roughly eight different jars with the budtender, and each time, there would be a new and distinct smell when he popped one open. Most looked very well done, including the house strain, Stevie Wonder. Like craft beers, I think certain strains are going to make dispensaries more notable than others. For instance, I head back to Delta 9 when I can for Bruce Banner, I'll grab my Cough at the Clinic and buy Bio-Diesel at Denver Relief. Now, I'll likely be adding this Stevie Wonder to that list.
Not everything was great -- the NYC Diesel and Sour Diesel looked stunted -- but nothing looked generic or mass-produced. That is one good thing that has come from recent legislation: Dispensaries are forced to showcase their work honestly, for better or worse.
Since everything was grown in the Pure warehouses, I figured getting a smorgasbord of cannabis would be a good test, and I walked out with three different strains and some bubble hash. Pure's entire herb selection is priced at $50 an eighth with tax included for non-patients, and each strain comes in a glass jar.
Page down for the ganja reviews.
Stevie Wonder (sativa) Very fragile, chandelier-like nuggets that had an instant lemony-haze smell when popping open the jar. Breaking open the nuggets revealed a blast of spicy berries. Well-dried and cured, the herb smoked clean and, just like its namesake could do with music, left a sweet funk lingering in the room. It helped some with morning nausea, but I found it to be more mentally stimulating -- which is also good for focusing on something other than feeling sick.
Barry White aka White Berry (indica dominant) Since the house strain is Stevie Wonder, the guys at Pure took the liberty of changing the White Berry strain name to Barry White when it's on their shelves. I grabbed three healthy green little popcorn nuggets that had a piney scent out of the jar and a blueberry-floral smell cracking it apart. It had a lingering light, fruity taste with an indica-heavy head buzz that lasted for 45 minutes before mellowing out into a relaxing sedation.
Sour Grapes (sativa dominant) At the budtender's suggestion, I grabbed a gram of the Sour Grapes. This cross of Purple Elephant and Sour Diesel came as grape-sized, light-green nuggets with hints of light purple and smelled like the inside of a grape-juice box. The taste was dull, though, and the herb could have used a better flush: It was only after finishing the bowl that I recognized a faint spicy Sour Diesel flavor. Still, it was uplifting and settled my stomach by the third hit.
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Bubble Hash (blended strains) The budtender said the gooey, amber-colored hash was tested at 55 percent THC. This hash was very gooey, and was best kept in the fridge so it didn't melt in the container. It had a strong floral smell to it, with little burning plant matter, and was strongly sedative, though it also did well to stimulate appetite.
William Breathes is the pot pen name of our medical marijuana dispensary reviewer. You can read his bio here.