'Twas a few days before Christmas and all through the town, there was a lot of medical herb being sold -- likely a few pounds. People were stocking up, patients like me -- to deal with our in-laws as stoned as can be.
4601 East Mississippi Avenue Glendale, CO 80246 303-386-3185 www.NaturesBestAlternativeMedicine.com Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $20 to $45/eighth, $150 to $275/ounce. Other types of medicine: Kief, hash, wax, edibles Online menu: Yes. Handicap-accessible:: Yes.
I'm no Scrooge, but I could give or take the holidays. I love my family and don't need an excuse to tell them that; I'm too old to be bribed by an imaginary fat man in a red suit; and I can buy myself any gift I want when the prices aren't jacked up. And then there are the traditions that grow increasingly strange as I get older. Like hauling a dead tree into my house where it becomes even more dead over the course of a month, then having to haul it back out, leaving a trail of pine needles from my porch to the dumpster that lasts until summer.
But for all the things I don't like about this time of year, there is one thing I do truly welcome -- and it far outweighs all of the negatives: eating as much delicious, rich, fatty food as possible. In order for a skinny guy like myself with a chronic stomach ailment to take full advantage of the smorgasbord of delights through the month of December, though, I require some good, old-fashioned medical munchies.
I wasn't the only person with that idea, it seems. Pulling up to Nature's Best Alternative was like pulling up to the grocery store for that bag of flour you forgot to buy for your wife just minutes before the store closed for the holiday. People were ahead of me and behind me in line, with more cars pulling in as I left.
The shop is located in an old Glendale strip center now dwarfed by the massive field complex across the street. Apparently rugby is really big in that .6-square-mile town. Nature's Best occupies what formerly was a laundry, with the long shop converted into a waiting room, small receptionist's office and adjacent bud bar. It's not a fancy spot, and though there are signs on the walls proclaiming things like "I'm a cancer patient and I found relief in cannabis" and "I'm an MS patient who can function because of marijuana," the pot flags and Bob Marley shirts for sale give the place a counting-down-the-days-until-it-can-apply-for-a-recreational-retail-license feeling.
Paperwork involved a staffer copying my ID and medical marijuana card, and then I was ushered back into the relatively small bud bar. More Marley shirts were hanging behind the glass display counter with all of the indicas, and pot posters decorated the rest of the room. A second glass counter with all of the sativas and concentrates was set up to create an L with the indica counter; there was a cash register between them. Two budtenders were taking orders: a woman probably in her mid-twenties who looked like she really enjoyed the indicas, and an older guy with an Ivan Drago-like accent who was racing around trying to pick up the slack. Both were friendly, and the guy ended up giving me a brief tour of the place, which involved me turning my head while he pointed out that "indicas are over there, sativas are right here, edibles are over there." Pot foods included chocolate bars from Dabba, Healthy Creations brownies and snacks, and candy from Dr. J's. Nature's Best also had Mile High Ice Cream, which I can't imagine sells all that well as temperatures drop outside.
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For concentrates, the shop had loads of strain-specific kief for $12/gram; a step above -- or better -- were the rock-hard chunks of dark bubble hash selling for just $3 more per gram. For the price, you can't expect much more (though my Festivus wish would be for everyone to use a screen mesh to break their icewater extractions down while still wet, to allow them to dry and cure better). Nature's Best also carried in-house caviar, but the $20/gram, rock-hard chunks of oil-browned ganja were not appealing. At $30/gram, the shop also had "earwax" hash -- and without even taking a close look, I could hear these bright-orange, shiny/waxy chunks sizzling on my skillet.
Instead, I snagged some of the Sour Diesel for $35/eighth, mostly because it's a given that I'm going to get an appetite from a bowl or two of this strain (not to mention get talkative enough to be around young cousins who want nothing but your attention for the entire dinner). But it also was really well-grown, with long, teardrop calyxes coated in tan-to-amber trichomes and basketball-orange pistils. I did see one immature "banana" seed in there, but looked for more and came up empty. Otherwise, it was rubbery, like a can of new racquetballs in both smell and taste.
In the jar in the shop, the White Russian had a powerful potpourri odor coming from spear-shaped Christmas tree buds; it was lime green, with a dusting of sandy crystals that gave the folds of the leaves a tan color. It became more flowery broken up, and burned with an enjoyable sweetness to the smoke. Strong, but not too strong, this balanced strain was perfect for that spot between dinner and dessert, and made room for pecan pie and fresh whipped cream. Afterward, it mellowed everything down with a sedative buzz that teetered out after about an hour and a half.
Nature's Best was giving away a joint with purchases over $35, and first-time patients get a little gift pack of a thin, Chinese-made glass pipe, lighter and a pre-rolled spliff. It wasn't a great pipe, but as with most holiday gifts, it's the thought that counts. As I was finishing up, I could hear the buzzer on the store entrance dinging. There were a few more strains I wanted to check out, but I didn't want to be the guy holding up everyone who needed to get stoned and forget about the holidays too.