RiNo Supply Company has a pretty ambiguous name, which is good considering how few people in the River North (RiNo) neighborhood seem to favor medical pot. But instead of getting kicked out, such places should be embraced.
Location: 3100 Blake St. Hours: 11 a.m to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Phone: 303-296-2680 Website: www.rinosupplycompany.com Manager/Patient specialist: Chantel Kitchen. Opened: December 2009 Raw marijuana price range: Ounces from $100 for outdoor to $300 for top-shelf. Price breakdowns based on ounce prices (an eighth of $200 herb is $25) Other types of medicine: Bubble hash, butane hash, co2 hash, minimal edibles. Handicap accessible? Yes
Like its neighborhood, RiNo Supply Company has changed rapidly in recent years. Formed in December 2009 as a wholesale operation back in the pre-Romer "Wild West" days, when such operations were still legal (or more legal than they are today), the shop now operates as a legitimate dispensary while still growing a shit-ton of weed they sell at wholesale-ish prices to patients and other dispensaries. From the outside, the building's authentically flaking green plaster and exposed brick looks exactly like the expensive finishes people in the lofts a few blocks down Blake Street pay big bucks to replicate.
The first lobby through the glass and red wooden front doors is a bit too industrial: chipped linoleum, whitewashed walls. At the end of the hallway, there's also a huge wooden security door and faux-finished brown stone wall that's been closed off; it's likely guarding the grow facility in the back, judging by the sound of running fans and the dispensary's large clone operation. However, a small sign in front of the door directs patients down the hallway to the right, toward another huge wooden security door that looks straight out of a castle dungeon.
Budtender and grower Mike let me in after checking my red card and had me sit down to fill out the standard dispensary paperwork. As hodge-podgey as the entryway decoration was, I wasn't expecting much more from the dispensary. But the shop itself is surprisingly high-end. Tan walls with dark-brown baseboards and ceiling panels warm up the open space. Oddly shaped, chocolate-colored suede couches cozy up to a wall-mounted flat screen with surround sound, and the lounge has a cigar-bar feel to it, minus the stank-ass tobacco smell. Behind the sitting area is a dark table with a massive wooden rhino statue standing atop it. Otherwise, decoration is minimal, with a few houseplants in pots on the sepia-stained concrete floor. If the line gets long, there's also a Takamine guitar on a stand by the TV and ample Westwords on the ottoman.
There wasn't anyone in front of me the day I was in, so I was led back to the bud room as soon as I finished my paperwork. The bud bar is more of a bud consultation room. I sat down on one side of a wooden desk opposite a set of three wooden shelves with more than two dozen massive cereal tubs full of buds. In a strangely nondescript European accent, Mike gave me the history of the place -- he said there's roughly sixty years of combined experience among the growers -- and noted that they grow organically in soil using a worm-castings-rich mix of their own. The shop is still producing commercial-size runs of herb, Mike said, but that doesn't mean the quality is commercial-grade. Granted, the Sour Diesel looked a bit small and foxtail-like, but it had an impressively rich smell and sticky feel. I also liked the Banana Kush I saw, and the Durban Poison had a body-odor funkiness that would turn heads burned in a crowd. Mike was very knowledgeable, and I spent nearly a half- hour talking ganja with him.
Herb on the back shelves ranged from $200 to $350 for an ounce, and prices on smaller amounts were based on those prices. After a wedding and honeymoon, I really liked seeing the low prices. One gripe was that there didn't seem to be any way to tell which strains were at what price levels -- or if there was, it was never pointed out to me. The shop also has a deal on mixed ounces of shake buds ranging from $100 to $150 an ounce, and shake is a pretty loose term considering the sizable buds I saw in one of the jars he handed me to check out. Also impressive were the several strains of outdoor Colorado herb the shop had bought from another wholesaler. Mike said they would have some of their own outdoor product soon, adding that they always try to keep the low-price alternatives around for patients.
I sniffed my way through all price ranges of herb and ended up on two of my all-time favorites to smoke for medical reasons, as well as for taste and smell, plus some outrageously Kush-smelling wax. Mike also kicked me a half-gram of the shop's Strawberry Diesel bubble hash for being a first-time customer. In all, I walked out with a split eighth and a gram of concentrates for just over $40, though they've changed pricing on the OG Kush since my visit. The herb isn't going to win awards for looks, but it's probably head and shoulders above the cut-rate herb being sold elsewhere in Colorado and on par with what some shops sell for top dollar. All said, the slick atmosphere, wholesale pricing and solid quality of meds I saw would be enough to bring me back again on my more budget-conscious weeks.
OG Kush ($350 ounce/$43 eighth for non-members) Mike told me they paid thousands of dollars for the "real" genetics of this plant. True or not, they do have a stinky cut of kush on their hands. There were a few banana leaves and immature seeds here and there in the buds, which didn't have the connoisseur-level candy structure. But overall, the yellow-green fade on the sugar leaves was beautiful, and the tennis-ball-can funk of the herb was impossible to pass up, especially after two weeks of smoking uncured outdoor herb in Jamaica. Under a scope, the big fat trichome heads could have gone another few days to get more amber. Otherwise, though, the bud looked clean, and burned clean as well, with a full Kush flavor through most all of the bowl. As Mike and I discussed in the shop, this strain gives a very complex and rich high that is great for just about all times of the day for me currently. I can wake up with a bowl of this for a creative (albeit stoney) morning, or use it as a nightcap when going to bed. At $43 an eighth, this is one of RiNo's most expensive cuts.
Super Silver Haze ($200 ounce/$25 eighth for everyone) I've said before that certain phenotypes of this strain have been responsible for me taking on entire pizzas Man vs. Food style -- and as such, it's one of the most medically beneficial strains I have found for increasing my appetite. It also is great at reducing nausea when coupled with a warm shower; I have an SSH-resin-only pipe just for that occasion. In short, this is one of my favorite strains, and RiNo did not disappoint me. I've passed on this strain a lot in shops because it failed to meet the proper haze level in smell. When Mike opened the jar under my nose at RiNo, my face was engulfed in spicy sativa goodness. I knew Mike and I were on the same level when he mentioned how proper hazes have a strangely buttery smell to them that gets stronger the better they are -- exactly the term I tend to use to describe this cut. Flushed, dried and cured well, it burned clean with a hazy taste down to the white ash. Not super-potent, but a few bowls before a ravioli dinner and I was mopping the leftover sauce off of my empty plate with garlic bread remnants before my wife finished her salad.
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OG Kush Wax ($50/gram non-members, $40/gram members) Having been away from concentrates for two weeks during my vacation, I was pumped to reload my medicine cabinet (aka my office drawer) with some hash, waxes and oils. Mike showed me a few of the waxes they had on hand, but suggested this OG Kush for the flavor and smell alone. The consistency was still jelly-like, though more due to the waxy oils from the herb and less from the butane, judging by how it smelled both in the jar and burned on a skillet. Amazingly strong Kush smell that left my mouth tasting like I had been chewing on a Dunlop tire, though in a good way. One dab would be a perfect way to end your day, which is exactly what happened when I woke up with three dabs Wednesday morning. After a hearty bowl of Cheerios and several strips of bacon (breakfast of champions), I was down for the count on the couch watching SportsCenter cycle through several times before anything productive came of my day. Moderation is key with wax, kids.
William Breathes is the pot pen name of our medical marijuana dispensary reviewer. Be sure to check out our archive of Mile Highs and Lows medical marijuana dispensary reviews.