This dispensary has closed.
Some medical dispensaries (and soon-to-be recreational dispensaries) are just begging for a change in laws.
What kind of change? One that would allow people to hang out and puff herb with other patients.
So far, nobody has really stepped up to take that on.
If it does eventually happen, though, I wouldn't be surprised if SOMA Wellness Lounge was leading the charge.
SOMA Wellness Lounge
1810 30th St. Boulder, CO 80303 720-432-7662 SomaColorado.com
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $7-$8/gram $25-$30/eighth-ounce, $155-$220/ounce. Members receive 10 percent off purchase. Other types of medicine: BHO, CO2 oil, hash, edibles, drinks. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
Someone spent a fucking fortune on wood in the dispensary, turning it into an uber-hip-yet-Boulder-earthy chill spot. The walls are covered in unfinished, long pine planks from the (also) wood floors to the rounded-square, Mad Men-era white ceiling tiles. The square, dark blue/gray faux-velvet couches and tiny metal-and-white plastic reception desk are IKEA-minimalistic, and aside from the light smell of cannabis, it feels like the lobby of a swank recording studio.
After handing over my card and ID to be copied, I was pointed back toward a somewhat-hidden door covered in the same pine boards; it led into the windowless, cozy confines of the bud bar. Or should I say bud lounge.
And by lounge, I mean a pimped-out pot palace of perfect smoothness. Royal-blue velvet lines the front of the bud bar, which is lit up by recessed lights under the wooden top. A few slick, molded-white-plastic-and-chrome bar stools are lined up on the equally blue carpet. On one wall, a photograph of an oddly appropriate shark seems to hover, giving the impression -- in combination with the spot lighting and deep-blue-sea flooring -- that you're actually staring into an aquarium. The place is so smooth that Al Green came on the stereo the minute I walked through the door. It was personal-soundtrack precision on par with an early Tarantino film. I have really good musical timing, though. Al Green isn't always part of the SOMA experience (though he should be).
My budtender, a slim dude named Freddie with a level of Boulder coolness that fit right in with the surroundings, welcomed me, said first timers get $10 off their purchase, and then pretty much let me run wild with the collection. I started out over in the concentrates area, where I found three huge pads of shatter oil laid out on a silicone nonstick platter. Two of the amber-looking slabs -- one the C4 I took home and the other (I think) the Death Star, looked great. But a third chunk of wax/shatter seemed as if it had been abandoned mid-process. Freddie told me the shop's extracts come from Pure Extracts, but hinted that the lounge was switching over to SevenTen Tubes.
There were other small, bell-shaped glass jars to the side of the shatter display, with icewater-extracted hash and wax, from what I could tell. Everything sold for a flat $40 a gram, though Freddie said he'd weigh it out to whatever I needed if it was less than a gram but still within reason. So I got a half-gram of what looked to be the best of the batches.
At home, it burned clean and all, but there weren't any strain-distinct flavors whatsoever -- just straight THC. No terpenes. Nothing. Just a rippingly high buzz.
Considering how lavishly done the entire operation had been, I have to admit it was slightly disappointing to pop open the first jar of Bubba Kush and not get any of the classic earthy, lightly grapey smell the strain should put out. It also lacked the pine-cone density and structure. Not awful, just not up to snuff. Same was true of the peppery, spicy and grape-less Purps and a forgettable Giesel.
But other samples, like the fuzzy, pickle-sized chunks of White Widow, spice bazaar Hindu Skunk, wild and spidery F'n Wrecked and tangy Bruce Banner #3, were worth a closer look.
A nice tip of Banner ended up coming home with me, where it was quickly smoked in my own personal subterranean cannabis lounge; it's admittedly less smooth than the confines of SOMA, but has equally smooth music. Out of the jar, there wasn't a punch-you-in-the-nose smell to the nugget, but breaking up the densely packed calyxes of the flower let out some of the interesting earthy licorice odors trapped inside. Not what I expect from the normally lemony strain, but it did have the trademark mentholated freshness to the smoke and vapor. Mellow, uplifting and around $25 an eighth at member prices, this was as good as discount herb gets in Boulder, and it wasn't too bad.
The Death Star jar was full of spindly stalks like the one I brought home, and while it wasn't the most fuel-smelling batch, it did have a rotten-lemon skunkiness to it that was intriguing. At home, the waxy and surprisingly dense buds let off some of the earthy, diesel-tinged smell. The flavor was more of the same, with a heavy skunkiness that faded to a light turpentine/soil flavor after exhaling. I always forget how stoney this strain can be, and two large one-hit bowls was more than enough to make the minutes slow down and my head start floating a few inches above my lead-heavy body. Solid for pain without fogging up the brain, though some ADD might creep into play if you're prone to such things normally, as I am. As with the Banner, it wasn't spot-on, but it wasn't bad -- especially at $25 an eighth.
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All of that leads up to the fact that if you take away the awesomely lavish mod-earthy stylings (and even the Al Green), you're left with a discount dispensary serving up okay herb that you can't even smoke in the lavish, mod-earthy stylings. The hash and shatter, however, may be worth paying attention to. Freddie seemed to really know his shit and was all about increasing the quality of the concentrates. So it is worth a stop if you live nearby or are in town for the afternoon and need a cheap bag to get you through your day in Boulder (we understand). But I probably won't be driving up from Denver strictly for the shop again any time in the near future.
Unless I can light up a spliff in that back lounge legally, that is.
Read more reviews from Westword's medical marijuana dispensary critic, William Breathes, in our Mile Highs and Lows blog, and keep up with all your marijuana news with Breathes over at TokeoftheTown.com.