In every city, there are buildings known for being complete black holes for any restaurant or bar that tries to open. I can think of a few in Denver off the top of my head, including one at the corner of 11th and Lincoln, where dance clubs, mescal bars and wanna-be hipster hangouts have burned out within a year, if not a few months. Similarly, over the last five years, I've seen the same thing happen in the medical marijuana world in Denver, at the South Broadway storefront currently occupied by the Green Depot. But this center may have finally found the formula for breaking the curse.
The Green Depot 2020 South Broadway Denver, CO 80210 303-728-9962
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 6:45 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $25-$35/eighth-ounce, $150-$245/ounce. Raw marijuana price range (non-members): $25-$45/eighth-ounce, $150-$280/ounce. Other types of medicine: BHO, CO2 oil, hash, edibles. Online menu? No. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
At one point during the early 2000s, the storefront was home to a motorcycle garage specializing in custom choppers that likely sold to men in a midlife crisis who watched too much Orange County Choppers. Best I can remember, it sat dormant for a little while, and then the pot-storefront boom of 2009 started the string of shops that operated out of it.
Frankly, I can't even remember all their names, although I blame that less on pot smoking and more on store names that probably sounded the same -- some variation of "cannabis" or "medical," or maybe a not-so-clever working of THC into a shop-name acronym. Never did any of the centers seem like places worth visiting, and most of the time they had huge signs up advertising rock-bottom prices to compete with the bulk-warehouse pricing from Walking Raven and Little Brown House directly across Broadway.
On top of that, I saw an MTV True Life special about two former street kids who made gnarly organic pot bars, and it showed the two of them walking into whatever dispensary was operating there at the time. The whole interaction was enough to turn me away for good.
Half-gram of blended icewater hash from the Green Depot.
But times change, and I decided to let go of my quirky reasons for not wanting to visit certain shops, including my ban on another South Broadway dispensary that has been dunked in green paint and was (at one time) guarded by a shady junkyard dog. You know which one I'm talking about.
Anyway, the Green Depot has a massive, unused waiting room out front that, again, was formerly the showroom for custom Harleys. Now it's just begging for something like a huge display of cannabis cultivation for the world to see -- if only that was legal. I was the only person there during my visit, so my check-in went quickly, and the guy behind the counter had me headed back to the bud bar in a few minutes. Compared to the front of the store, the bud bar feels like a closet: It's cozy and narrow, putting you right up on the glass display counter filled up with clear Mason jars full of cannabis.
The receptionist-turned-budtender entered my info into the system and let me go at the sample jars up on the counter. Off the bat, I was surprised at how well-grown the Sour Diesel was. I consider it the fast-food cheeseburger of strains: Everyone does it, it's just who does it well enough to buy again and again. By that standard, this was up there with In-and-Out quality.
Legend of '91 from the Green Depot.
Strains were separated by patient pricing: $25 eighths up front and $35 eighths on the back row. First-timers also get the discount, though returning to the shop jacks the prices up $5 on the low end and $10 on the top shelf. All of the strains seemed similarly well-grown, though, so I didn't immediately feel the need to jump to the top tier.
The lower-priced Moonraker was a great buy, in fact. The buds looked like little pieces of sugar candy, with huge, fat orange pistils wrapping the bud like woven net. There were a few purple streaks through the buds, but they were hard to pick out underneath the dusting of silver trichomes. Broken up, they had a dark cherry stink that came through mildly in the otherwise earthy and sweet smoke. My budtender promised a relaxing buzz more on the indica side, but "brighter." We'll have to disagree on that one, as I found myself needing naps about an hour and a half after toking a large bowl to help with back-pain issues.
I ended up spending more time than I thought I would checking out each of the Green Depot's strains. The center had a spot-on Flo, a Tangerine Haze that smelled like a rotting navel orange and a few variations on the Chernobyl, including a batch of Fusion that smelled just like a vegan vanilla milkshake from WaterCourse (so much so that I went to WaterCourse afterward for an actual shake). My second strain choice was the Legend of '91, however.
Moonraker from the Green Depot.
This cross of Chemdawg '91 Skunk with Legend OG and Killer Chem from New House Seeds had such an otherworldly strength to the funky smell out of the jar that it had to come home with me. The buds were slightly wispy, but still managed to be extremely appealing, with an amber dusting over the tops of the pine-cone-shaped nuggets. The thin, narrow sugar leaves covering the buds left my fingers sticky to the touch and stinking like I'd been trying to glue lemon slices back together with rubber cement. In a good way, that is. Aside from being an enjoyable herb to puff and vape, the buds slammed my cerebellum and left me floating stress-free through my afternoon. Stoned, but not sluggish -- the buds actually were the perfect pick-me-up for post-holidays house cleaning. Worth it for sure at member pricing, and I'd have no problem heading back and paying the full $35 for an eighth.
For $30, patients could take their pick of shatter, wax and bubble hash by the gram. I've been seeing more quality solvent-produced concentrates lately, but not enough good-old icewater hash, so I was instantly drawn to the mixed-bud bubble hash on display. From the photos, it's hard to tell, but the hash had a fresh brown-sugar appearance in the soft spots, and I could tell without touching that it was worth a shot. At home, the hash crumbled down with a little heat from my fingers and did a melt-burn-sizzle atop a bowl of flowers. It was good and enjoyable in the classic, old-school hash way, but considering that other shops have much more refined, strain-specific icewater hash going for the same cost, it's overpriced at $30 a gram.
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SHOW ME HOW
My budtender says the Green Depot is going recreational. The bad news is, that might take a while: The crew is shooting for a March 1 opening.
And the good news? The shop will probably be right there in the same spot.