Best Dispensary Waiting Room
Scott Lentz

Dispensary waiting rooms wouldn't exist at all if it were up to us. State laws mandate some sort of waiting area as budtenders serve one customer at a time, though, so props to the Herbal Cure for making the time fun and comfortable. The dispensary's saltwater fish tank is large and lively enough to keep you occupied for a few minutes, and if that's not enough, there's a stack of coffee-table books about everything from dogs to street art that will pique interests. With any luck, the wait won't be that long for some of south Denver's best cannabis, but if you do get stuck there on a Sunday, you shouldn't have any problem getting cozy.

A Cut Above
Google Maps screenshot

It's best to check out A Cut Above's menu online or make a to-do list before going into the dispensary, where you'll find more flower than at a Home Depot nursery. In fact, this place has more options than an Instagram model, and each one looks just as good or better than the next. Denver's premier growers like to release their newest strains and harvests at A Cut Above, and eighths and quarters are always priced ahead of the curve. Few dispensaries in Colorado can match A Cut Above's mix of exclusivity and affordability, and that's why it stands out among dozens of dispensaries — despite being nestled in the inner corner of a parking lot on South Broadway's Green Mile. Just have your cash on hand, because chances are you'll leave with more than you intended.

L'Eagle
Lindsey Bartlett

There's no dip in quality here just because the names aren't new every week. Classics stay classic, and L'Eagle keeps growing them really, really well. Operated by John and Amy Andrle, the Denver dispensary isn't afraid to put an Apple Fritter, Ice Cream Cake or one of their own new creations on the shelf, but they also know how to play the hits. Blue Dream, Grape Ape, Green Crack, Strawberry Cough and John's favorite, Sour Diesel, are all fixtures at L'Eagle, and they're some of the best takes on the strains you'll find. Seeing one of those names on a dispensary menu is rare nowadays; five is a miracle. And that's just a portion of the throwbacks you'll find at L'Eagle, where Bruce Banner, Grand Daddy Purple and Pakistani Chitral Kush also make regular appearances.

Standing Akimbo
Thomas Mitchell

Recreational marijuana buyers would likely be jealous if they saw the prices that medical patients get at Standing Akimbo, but we're not sure the north Denver medical marijuana dispensary could handle any more customers. The parking situation leaves a lot to be desired and the line tends to meet the sidewalk, but since Standing Akimbo has virtually unbeatable prices on popular edibles, flower and concentrate, deal-hungry patients argue that the wait is well worth it. Considering medical marijuana isn't covered by health insurance, those cost cuts can make all the difference.

Higher Grade
Clara Geoghegan

Flash deals and coupons are great and all, but it's nice to know that there's always a bargain waiting for you at Higher Grade. The growing staff operates one of the better dispensary cultivations in Denver, and the stores — two medical-only and a recreational pot shop in Denver — like to pass the savings on to customers. Even with popular in-house flower, Higher Grade's wholesale selection from growers like Cherry, Cookies, Green Dot Labs and Veritas are priced competitively and are eligible for weekly deals, which span everything from edibles to rosin. Sign up as a Higher Grade member to order online and get an extra discount on purchases (on top of daily deals). Enjoy the rollbacks.

If we're measuring cannabis breeders based on how many of their strains reach users, then it's tough to beat Ethos Genetics. Since launching in 2017, the Littleton-based seed company has continually appeared at Colorado dispensaries and beyond, and there's no sign of that spirit letting up. Citradelic Sunset, Citral Flo, Colin OG (named after founder Colin Gordon), Lilac Diesel, Member Berry and perhaps the company's most popular creation, Mandarin Sunset, are just some of the strains birthed by Ethos Genetics. We can't wait to puff what it comes out with next.

ethosgenetics.com

The Big Tomato was helping home growers long before the dispensary boom, selling indoor gardening supplies for over two decades. Now owned by Schwazze, a Denver-based cannabis corporation, the Big Tomato still offers the same friendly service for newbies and regulars, but now has even more of a cannabis focus — and an online shopping option, to boot. For beginning green thumbs, finding a trustworthy growing store is like searching for a new mechanic; more cynical shops can take advantage of that lack of experience by suggesting unnecessary lighting equipment and nutrients. That's not the case at the Big Tomato, so don't be afraid to ask questions.

With so many dispensaries in Denver, it's only natural that we have plenty of head shops to choose from. A few minutes south of the Green Mile of dispensaries, you'll find the best of them: Positive Vibes. The smoke shop and glass gallery has become a staple on South Broadway, holding down a spot on the block just north of Hampden Avenue for almost seven years now. A top-tier glass gallery with a long list of artists and an extensive stock of affordable pipes, bongs and dab setups bring the best of both worlds together inside this store. The work of over 150 artists, local and national, is displayed at Positive Vibes, which also sells pendants and smokeable art online. The staff doesn't care what part of the cannabis journey you're on, either; expert or neophyte, it's all warm vibes here.

Tetra Private Lounge and Garden
Jacqueline Collins

Anyone trying to legally light up outside of a private residence still has a tough time in Denver, where only three businesses are currently licensed for social cannabis use. And of those three businesses, only two are open — and of those two, only one allows smoking. Despite the slim pickings, Tetra Lounge tries hard to make a comfortable space for tourists and regular visitors, offering a welcoming lounge for anyone 21 and older who wants to smoke weed outside of the house. Owner Dewayne Benjamin had previously operated Tetra as a private club and still keeps the same atmosphere, with regular yoga classes, video games and budtender appreciation nights to go with daily hangouts. Tetra can't sell you any herb; you pay a fee to enter and smoke or dab your own stuff, so there's no need to pay a bar-like markup to consume. Simply pop in the RiNo club, spark your joint, and then get back to business — or don't. That seat's not going anywhere.

A relatively new line of infused products, Betty Essentials sells everything from gummies to sex lube made with different cannabinoid mixtures. Our favorites are the Cannabits, mints and tarts with various combinations of THC, CBD, CBC CBG and CBN intended to help with relaxation or reaching certain energy levels. Flavors like matcha mint with CBC, lavender pomegranate with CBN and peppermint with CBD come with no more than 2 milligrams of THC per serving, helping increase the entourage effect of the lesser-known cannabinoids without the intoxicating effects associated with edibles.

bettyessentials.com

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