It wasn't a complete shit-show for weed everywhere in Colorado yesterday. Aside from a handful of phone calls about whether or not the shops were selling recreational weed and the occasional stop-in from a confused would-be recreational buyer, regular medical marijuana dispensaries had a slow, normal New Year's Day (if they were even open).
Such was the case at Good Chemistry on Colfax, where there wasn't a line of people out the door or bags of herb selling at nearly three times what they should be going for.
330 East Colfax Avenue Denver, CO, 80202 720-524-4657 GoodChem.org
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $8/gram $25/eighth-ounce, $200/ounce. Members receive $150 ounces and discounts on hash and edibles. Other types of medicine: hash oil, edibles, hash Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
We first reviewed Good Chemistry nearly three years ago, in March 2011, and not much has changed since then at the thin, narrow Colfax storefront with the frosted glass and New York-style retractable metal security gate hanging above the entrance and huge front window. The tiny reception area/waiting room is a little bit more weathered, and there's a new, pretty awesome oil painting of a Cthulhu-esque octopus creature that the owners managed to match up with the red vintage theater seats they've had since day one.
The receptionist, a stylish tattooed woman in her twenties who seemed about ready for the end of her day, checked me in and buzzed me through the security door to the warm confines of the bud dispensary. The same scientific glass artwork is on display in what feels like an old hair salon or fancy barbershop, with antique checkered tile floors and marble countertops.
The shop is starting construction in anticipation of recreational sales; my budtender said Good Chemistry is eventually going to transition to a dual-use shop. So for now the project involves minor stuff, like adding a second video monitor to the wall behind the budtenders that will show recreational prices. That's probably the biggest change in the shop since our first review: When we first came by, it didn't have flat-screen TVs for its menu, and the back wall was loaded up with jars of cannabis.
These days, the herb is all pre-packaged into thick plastic zip-seal baggies. For the time being, the menu is printed out on a piece of paper and you've got to ask to see each strain you want to check out, since there weren't any sample jars on display. Bud is packaged into bags as small as a gram, and patients and first-timers get four grams for the price of an eighth ($25 members and non-members) -- so bringing home a few testers won't cost you a bowl and a one-hitter. The only issue I found is that the tight little baggies pressed all of my buds into odd-shaped hockey pucks that were perfectly flat on two sides.
Selection wasn't huge, with probably ten or so strains all listed under indica or sativa categories. I started with the budtender's suggestion of Juicy Fruit. The strain lived up to its name in smell, with a fruit punch punch to the smell of the spear-shaped tiny buds in the baggie. Up next was the Good Chemistry-signature strain, Ingrid. This cross of Dixie Crystal and Stonehenge had a stinky, rotten grape funk to the dark-green and orange-looking buds. The flavor was more hashy, and with a slight haziness underneath the rich, thick smoke. Heavy on the indica side, this was a total relaxer from the top of my shoulders down to the bottom of my sore feet, which lately have been adjusting to new snowboard boots.
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The True OG wasn't the prettiest OG example, and the buds I saw in eighth-size baggies all looked slightly undergrown and wispy, with a wild, Bubblegum-like appearance. Broken up, the buds had a very light, rubbery Kush aroma, but nothing very strong -- same for the taste, which was underwhelming and hay-like. At $25 an eighth and $150 an ounce for members, this was not overpriced -- but the batch I saw could have been grown better. Same for the Romco (which I think should be "RomKo," for Romulan x Korean Big Bud). A near-perfect mix of both strains, the Romulan comes through huge on the smell with a blast of fresh, almost mentholated baby-powder funk, and the buds themselves are chunky and fat. The potency wasn't too much on this heavy-hitting indica, and a bowl's worth for aches, pains or general stress wouldn't put you down for the count.
Standing head and shoulders above the other strains, though, was the sugar-coated Lamb's Bread. Despite the dryness of the buds and the unintended squishing from the packaging, the small gram I brought home could be one of the better versions of this strain I've had. Not that I've ever seen great examples of it to begin with, though. Still, the cut that Good Chemistry has smoked incredibly smooth, with the same wet red-clay skunkiness as the smell came through with the first few hits in a bubbler and dry pipe. A great overall hybrid balance, this strain was a pick-me-up for my appetite above anything else (including a very enjoyable buzz). Like everything else, the buds go for $25 an eighth and $150 an ounce to members, plus tax.
And apparently those prices aren't going to change, even when the shop goes recreational. My budtender didn't have a timeline, but he said the owners were letting everyone else rush to open on January 1 and wouldn't jack up prices on pot like other stores. He pointed out that Good Chemistry was one of the first shops (if not the first) to offer $25 eighths across the board three years ago, before it became commonplace around town. No telling what a move like $25 eighths would do to the recreational market and the many shops selling herb at $50 an eighth or more, but hopefully it would help bring those prices back to normal -- fast.
For now, though, medical marijuana patients can get the same herb sans excessive taxes.
And hours-long waits.