Stuck somewhere between being a grow supply store and a medical marijuana dispensary, the Ballpark Holistic Dispensary is having a slight identity crisis.
Location: 2119 Larimer Street Phone: 303-953-7059 Website: on Facebook Hours of operation: 12-7 Monday through Saturday. Closed on Sunday. Owner/manager: Jessica Kuhn, Charles Denver Parks Mission statement: "Our mission is to offer a very alternative way of medicating." Opened: October 2009 Raw marijuana price range: $8 to $12.50 per gram. Other types of medicine: Three levels of hash, edibles, tinctures. Handicap accessible?: Yes.
Ballpark has been around for more than a year now, and its advertisements and location, just a few blocks from Coors Field, were intriguing. For months, I figured it was another polished downtown dispensary offering the usual selection of herb and edibles. When I walked in, though, it seemed like a confused pairing of medical marijuana products stuffed into a storefront.
I stood around in the front waiting room for a minute or so before a woman came up from the back to copy my paperwork. Then it was through the locked door and into the back of the shop, which opens up into a gigantic floor plan. A massive wall that had once separated Ballpark from a neighboring pilates studio to the southwest has been removed, exposing a now-empty and unused space.
Owner Jessica Kuhn said the shop eventually plans to expand, but that changing state regulations have left things up in the air. "We are waiting for all the [state and city] rules to finish," she says. "But hopefully the store will look very different come April."
To the right is a sectioned-off room lined with shelves of fertilizer, soils and other gardening supplies; it was one of the larger grow-supply setups I've seen in a dispensary.
For a long time, Kuhn's goal was to give caregivers cost pricing for supplies in return for low-cost meds for the shop to sell -- not to supply the shop with its own grow. The grow supplies were a big draw for their client base, and the trade-off worked well for the dispensary and its patients. But state laws requiring dispensaries to grow at least 70 percent of their own meds have really hurt. "That really jacked a lot of people up," she says. "I felt like I could offer more to my patients [then]. But now, with the model of 70/30, it is a challenge to constantly keep fifteen to twenty strains at all times. Our product does turn quickly, but it has put us into overdrive."
And the strain on their strains was evident when I finally made it to the bud bar in back, which almost felt like an afterthought to the grow-supply business up front. A large green chalkboard with prices hung behind the secondhand wooden display case. Opposite that was another wall of shelves lined with grow equipment. There were roughly fifteen strains in different-sized jars in the case the day I was in, nothing more than $12.50 a gram. Some of the strains, like the Flo and the Snowcap, looked frosted and decently trimmed -- but other jars looked like they were filled with leafy shake. The Durban Poison, for example, was a leafy trimmed cut that had a strange red-wine alcohol scent in the jar.
The budtender was knowledgeable about her strains, even if they weren't done perfectly, and talked to me at length about how the strains affected her and other patients she had talked with. At roughly $43 for an eighth or less, there isn't much to complain about, and there were some decent cuts to smoke on, but strain-nerd connoisseurs aren't likely to find what they are looking for.
Kuhn admits that the herb has suffered as she finds her way amid new rules and regulations. She has wrestled with shortening curing times by as much as ten days to get products out to patients faster, and has rushed cutting and trimming on some strains simply to keep stock on the shelves. "These rules have caused more havoc and are more detrimental [than beneficial]. Now you have to rush something, when before you didn't have to."
Kuhn predicts that the dispensary will get into the flow of things eventually and that its product will only get better as the hydroponic garden setup is dialed in.
Page down for strain reviews/photos.
Poly-pak The stems didn't snap from being wet, and it was clear this cut could have used a few more days (and nights) in the flowering room. The buds were tiny and very stringy, with noticeable yellow-tipped leaves left on. I left the herb out to dry for a few hours, then capped it in a sealed jar for a week while I left on vacation. The jar smelled like the camel pen of the Denver Zoo: a mix of hay and fertilizer with that funky smell camels have. It popped and sizzled in my bowl and left a dull, ashy taste behind. I didn't really get a bead on the medical effects of this cut, but as my good friend says, "Judging a strain not dialed in is like judging a book by its cover." Snowcap I opened up this jar several times in the shop, as it had the best bag appeal of any of the cuts. The smell wasn't overwhelming, by any means, but it had a nice sugary skunk to it that came out even more after a week in the jar at home. Aside from the fact that it needed a bit more time drying, the cut is a much better example of what Ballpark's garden is capable of than the PollyPak. It had a good mix of amber trichomes among low-lying white crystals. The buzz was more potent than the PollyPak as well, with a more soaring sativa buzz that left me running my mouth to the FedEx guy about the pros and cons of studded snow tires on an SUV (I personally think that such tires are overkill). Blended Hash The shop had three levels of hash, done by price. The $10 hash was too dark, the $15 didn't look much different. There was finally a color/consistency break at the $20 hash. Still, it was wet. So wet that immediately after she put it in the tiny jar, it began to condensate. After drying out, though, the hash burned clean with a classically rich hash taste. It burned smooth rolled into a joint and helped mellow out the speedy Snowcap. Average to good for the $20 price range when they get it dried out properly.
William Breathes is the pot pen name of our medical marijuana dispensary reviewer. Read the William Breathes bio here and be sure to check out our archive of Mile Highs and Lows medical marijuana dispensary reviews.