Best Selection at a Dispensary 2020 | Den-Rec | Best of Denver® | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Denver | Westword

There's nothing intimidating or pushy about Den-Rec — the dispensary's Ballpark neighborhood location offers one of the better retail experiences — but little do Denver tourists know that sitting before them are jars of rare OG strains and exclusive phenotypes of Cookies and Cake strains like Pie Face or Four Kings that routinely make the trophy stand at cannabis cups. Head grower Ryan Buffkin likes to compare his cultivation skills to that of a gourmet chef's, but what he really has is one helluva farmers' market.

For better and for worse, the legalized weed game has grown up a lot over the past ten years. Verde Natural has grown along with it, but without selling out. Branching out to a wholesale operation, an additional store in Boulder and a solventless extraction company hasn't stopped Verde from growing some of the most delicious weed west of the Mississippi. "How we grow it, the love we put into the plants — the culture of true smokers understand what true quality is," founder and grow mastermind Chuck Blackton says. "I feel like we're able to keep up with the madness, but we're not trying to over-expand and take over the world. We want to do things at the right pace."

Experienced tokers and newbies alike will find something appropriately gassy, skunky, fruity, piney and so on at Good Chemistry, but the dispensary chain's approach to strain classification, a menu addition that includes anticipated effects from sleepy, creative and energetic strains, is an easy way for less-frequent consumers to know what to expect from new cuts of weed. That way, they can be a little more comfortable trying Orange Bubblegum or Colombian Gold for the first time, and one step ahead of any anxious side effects.

Terrapin Care Station has several stores in Aurora and Boulder, but the dispensary chain's Denver shop at 1 Broadway is a perfect landing spot. Not only is the pot shop loaded with a vast variety of weed wares, but the location, right between Broadway and lower downtown hangouts, was made for a quick in-and-out to avoid the high prices you'll see at most downtown dispensaries, or for something to roll up before seeing what sights remain open. No matter which direction you're headed, you win.

There's no question that dispensaries serve all corners of society, or that stoner stereotypes are mostly out of date. There's also no question that a large amount of dispensary sales come from potheads who love dabbing wax and burning resin. Just look at the hundred-plus hash choices at Ballpark Holistic, and that's not even counting the vape cartridges. Bargain hunters, highbrows and anyone in between can find some payday fun or bulk bags of $20 grams, $40 live resin or a $160 four-gram bucket of terp jelly. Ballpark also carries full-spectrum extract for medically focused use, and CBD diamonds for one tasty CBDab. Talk about hitting for the cycle.

"There's always something stiff, rubbery and affordable at House of Dankness." Seasoned stoners won't laugh when they hear that; they'll just nod their heads in agreement. Cheap eighths of house-bred classics like Cornbread, Longs Peak Blue and Ghost Train Haze, and fairly priced grams of wax and live resin have earned the respect of longtime cannabis users in Denver, and the growers aren't afraid to dabble with CBD strains, either. You can buy edibles and pre-rolls at any dispensary, but taste a little cannabis genius — or dankness — at Denver's real house of cannabis.

Visiting a dispensary in Denver is well past the point of just being happy to be there, with many cannabis consumers choosing where they shop based on their values, such as supporting sustainable business practices or diverse hiring. Those interested in the latter should stop by Simply Pure, a foundation of cannabis and minority advocacy in Denver run by pot power couple Wanda James and Scott Durrah. Since before legalization took hold here, and now almost eight years after, James hasn't stopped fighting for victims of the War on Drugs, questioning government authority or spurring social-equity initiatives for cannabis-industry ownership at the city and state levels. And her husband, Durrah? He's just an award-winning cannabis chef and Denver City Council candidate. Stop by the Highland pot shop, grab an eighth of Flaming Cookies, and get blazed up for a better future.

Denver is awash in good weed, but some of it is still reserved for medical patients. And after smelling the Grape Dawg or Honey Cookies at OG Medicinals, you might want to break your own arm just to get access to them. Lucky for us, OG supplies some recreational stores with wholesale cannabis (at slightly higher prices), but it's good to know that patients still have first dibs on the primo stuff. A true OG move.

Not only is Stillwater our favorite edibles brand this year, but it's also partly responsible for many of our other favorite THC- and CBD-infused treats. The brand's Ripple powder — cannabinoid distillate powder — is a popular ingredient for infused beverages and foods at dispensaries across the state, as well as in our own fridges. The powder comes in 10-milligram packets of THC, with different CBD ratios available as well, and easily mixes into drinks and dishes. THC PB&J? Done. A little extra sunshine for your orange juice? No problem. Stillwater also makes cannabis teas and instant coffee for easy Sunday mornings, but we like the freedom to create.

We don't blame you if recent reports scared you away from vaping anything, especially cannabis. But those vaping-related lung illnesses and deaths were linked to black-market products, and Colorado's marijuana industry is now prohibited from using the additives vitamin E acetate, polyethylene glycol (PEG) and MCT oil. But you never had to worry about using that shit in the first place if you bought Dablogic products. A branch of Verde Natural, one of Denver's danker dispensaries, this solventless hash vaping company takes the same approach to filling cartridges with rosin as the green-thumbs do with growing terp-heavy strains like Strawnana or Tropicanna Cookies. Those terps are preserved and highlighted in each rip of Dablogic's cartridges, which feel more like a dab than a vape hit.

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