L'Eagle
Lindsey Bartlett

Our publication is no stranger to L'Eagle: The dispensary has won numerous awards in our yearly top-ten lists and Best of Denver editions for its talent in the grow room. But the shop also claims one of the finest budtenders in town: Courtney Clark. A pot encyclopedia packaged in a bubbly, pint-sized sweetheart of a woman, Clark can talk shop with master growers or make nervous first-timers feel comfortable about strains and pot products they've never tried before. "I know quite a bit about cannabis, but I still ask Courtney what I should take home with me," says L'Eagle co-owner Amy Andrle. Clark's knowledge and love for her shop's products is hard to put a lid on as she describes Strawberry Cough or indica baklava bites, leaving you smarter — and smiling — on your way out.

Almost every dispensary in Colorado has some sort of promotion or daily deal that promises you a sweet price on eighths, grams of wax, pre-rolled joints and so on — but none of them have been as clever as the promo by the Grass Station and Oskar Blues. Shortly after the release of Oskar Blues' Pinner Session IPA — an IPA with a pot-inspired name, full hop flavor and less alcohol than usual — the Grass Station began offering one-cent pinner joints to customers who brought in an empty can of the beer, which just happened to have "Sip. Sip. Give." on its label. The pinner-for-a-Pinner deal didn't last long, but it will forever stay in our memory as yet another ingenious marketing strategy by the Longmont brewery.

Good Chemistry

Not that there aren't plenty of dispensaries in Denver that do a great job of making first-time pot shoppers feel comfortable (there are), but Good Chemistry's welcoming ways are tough to beat. Thanks to dimly lit boutique interiors that are hip — but not too hip — and employees who are happy to talk about strain genetics and personal experiences, few demographics would feel sketchy in either of its two locations. In fact, after reading through one of the strain-effects charts that Good Chemistry provides for shoppers' information, you're apt to feel much more comfortable than you did before you walked in. With symbols for words like "amplify," "relax," "relieve" and "sleep" next to each strain, the charts provide a more personalized — and detailed — shopping experience.

Lightshade 6th Ave.
Scott Lentz

Everyone loves cheap weed, and if that cheap weed happens to be good, then all the better. Unfortunately for us, those two qualities don't usually go hand in hand at a dispensary. Lightshade is the exception to that rule. The Denver dispensary chain has found a nice balance of potent strains and low prices, with skunky cuts of Juicy Fruit, Orange Herijuana and Primus OG at $9 per gram and $30 per eighth — and those aren't daily specials or discounted strains. Every day and every strain will hold the same resin-glazed price tag — no coupon or positive Yelp review necessary.

Best Dispensary to Impress Your Pot-Hating Father

The Clinic

The Clinic

Your old man is in town and disapproves of your newly found freedom, and you don't want him to continue living in the dark. What to do? Go to the Clinic. On top of award-winning strains and some of the most knowledgeable budtenders in town, the Denver-born chain is known for its charitable contributions, which includes hundreds of thousands of dollars given to the National MS Society since 2010 and annual donations to Colorado's PrideFest. If the pot-for-a-good-cause route doesn't work, take him to the annual Clinic Charity Golf Classic to hit some balls after a joint of the clinic's barrier-breaking Durban Poison. There's not a man out there who hates both weed and golf.

If not by virtue of being one of the only cannabis-friendly classes to stay around longer than six months, Puff, Pass & Paint's award is easily earned by the warm, funky vibe created by local artist Heidi Keyes every Thursday and Saturday as she walks students through a self-described experience of "Canvas and Cocktails, but with a cannabis twist." Keyes will take you on a step-by-step journey to a trippy painting as you consume as much (BYO) pot as you choose, but if the haze inspires you to go off on your own, she's just fine with that, too. And if you want to do more than smoke and paint, keep an eye open for periodic Bob Ross-themed classes, Puff, Pass & Pottery sessions, and cannabis-oriented cooking classes.

2087 S. Grant St.
[email protected]
puffpassandpaint.com

Unless you grew up in Denver, the name Pig 'N Whistle may not evoke much nostalgia as you drive by the medical dispensary on West Colfax Avenue. But anyone who remembers boxer Eddie Bohn's famous complex — a motel, barbecue joint and lounge on the Fabulous 40 strip patronized by such celebrities as Jack Dempsey and Roy Rogers — can't help but appreciate the skunky-smelling homage sitting right where the original Pig once did. Sadly, Bohn's place burned down in 2010, but the pot shop that rose from its ashes remains committed to keeping the Pig's memory alive — as well as doing a little burning of its own.

Readers' choice: The Giving Tree of Denver

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