The 16th Street Mall is one of those places that is designated as a tourist destination purely for the sake of being a tourist destination. Aside from Denverites who work in the tall buildings that create a canyon of the street, the place is purely for visitors, and I don't know anyone who spends much time down there. It is the most pure definition of a tourist trap we have in this otherwise amazing city and state.
But here's the thing: It works. Out-of-towners flood the mall daily, and there's no shortage of business for the chain restaurants and trinket shops that would otherwise die a quick death in any other part of town.
401 16th Street Mall Denver, CO 80202 303-534-6255 EufloraColorado.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $20/gram (shop offers a "local" discount of 30 percent). Other types of medicine: BHO, CO2 oil, kief, hash, edibles, tinctures, lotions, drinks. Online menu? No, aside from a strain list without pricing. Handicap-accessible? Yes. Recreational sales? Recreational sales only.
I have to admit that I walked into Euflora the other day already a bit miffed at the whole operation. For starters, the shop advertises on its website as being a medical shop but isn't. It's totally recreational. I realized that back in April after Euflora's grand opening, when CBS4 dubbed it the "Apple store of marijuana dispensaries because of its slick, tech-heavy decor.
At the time, the only recreational stores that could have been open were ones that were previously medical stores. Euflora was a new operation, so I figured it got in as a medical shop under the deadline and was going to be dual-use medical and rec (there wasn't a dispensary in that location before). I was disappointingly half right. Instead, the operation presumably gained approval for the location as a medical shop but never actually one to the public. Instead, the shop waited until it could open as recreational-only.
After staring at my red card blankly during my first visit, a staffer told me Euflora doesn't actually do medical, but the store offers a 20 percent discount to medical patients -- essentially removing the recreational taxes but leaving the same sales tax that medical patients would pay. Fair enough, but patients are still stuck paying the outrageously high pricing of $20 a gram or more on strains. Paying $60 for three grams of herb? No. I walked out laughing.
Sadly, it doesn't seem that much has changed. I stopped back the other day to see what was up, as I'm waiting on my new med card from the state. Bud was still priced at $20 a gram for all strains -- though, to be fair, Euflora gives a discount of 30 percent to anyone who lives in Colorado, which brought the cost down to $14 a gram. Still high, considering there don't seem to be price breaks for buying an eighth or a quarter (I can't even fathom what an ounce would cost). All of which, I assume, goes to help pay for the MASSIVE space rented out for the shop.The real kicker, though, is that Euflora still advertises as a medical shop on its website and the sign above the door. Womp.
Continue for the rest of the review and photos. Bud is displayed six strains at a time on a set of four tables set up around a central cash register stand. You can sniff the jars and look at buds through the glass containers at your own pace -- meaning you're your own budtender, really. The guys standing around with radios in their hands are there to answer some questions, but it seems they want customers to do the bulk of the work by looking at strain descriptions on small video tablets sitting next to each strain. The back third of the shop is devoted to pot T-shirts, hats and sweatshirts, while another area is dominated by edibles. Various pot foods from Blue Kudu, EdiPure, SweetGrass and Dixie sit in circular displays near a wall that features glass pipes for sale. Concentrates from TC Labs sold for nearly $70 a gram -- and while the oil looked good, the pricing was so far out there that I didn't even take the time to look at the different strains.
Customers are given a clipboard and marker when they walk in. As you walk around and see strains you like, you're supposed to write them down and the amount you want (in grams) to eventually take to the checkout desk, where employees will fill your order with pre-packed buds that may or may not look anything like what you saw in the jars. Generally, Euflora hasn't had the best reputation for quality, so I was a bit surprised to see a few decent buds on display, like a tangerine-smelling Jilly Bean, a chunky Chocolope with some interesting dark-chocolate odors and a crazy-dark Cosmic Brain with dark purple, spearlike buds. The Ultra Sonja was also interesting and worth consideration, but most everything else was pretty "meh" -- like the hay-smelling Headband and the NYC Diesel that was down to the shakey bottoms.
Considering the jar is purely for display purposes, it didn't give me much hope for the buds sent home with me. And the theme continued with an odorless Kong, a Vanilla Fire that was probably just the Jilly Bean mislabeled, and a strain called Jay Barret that even the guy following me around (I can't really call him a budtender, since I was doing all the work) agreed looked like shit and probably shouldn't even be on display -- let alone sell at the same price as the other buds around it.
However, I did bring home a sample of the stinky Bruce Banner -- probably the most odorous strain in the shop. And while I could tell you all about how it gave a nice uplifting buzz that went well after work and helped build a noticeable appetite, and that it burned down to a fairly clean white ash with a decent flavor, it won't matter. It also won't matter if I told you that the Larry OG buds I also grabbed had a decent Kushy smell to them and a perfect potency for a mellow evening and some light pain relief. Like the Banner, they burned clean, and I'll have no problem smoking the rest of the small amount I brought home and even enjoying it some.
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It won't matter because I highly doubt anyone reading this is going to shop there in the first place. But here's the thing: Even that doesn't matter -- at least not to Euflora. The fact of the matter is that the shop is going to continue to do good business and stay around simply because of its location. Because, as I mentioned earlier, Denver's biggest tourist trap is the 16th Street Mall. The place keeps the Hard Rock Cafe, Cheesecake Factory and the handful of Asian-owned Colorado trinket stores that sell Native American knockoff jewelry, cheap sweatshirts and pot T-shirts alive. It's absolutely crawling with tourists any day of the week -- even on a cold, gray day. And when a big game, conference or livestock show is in town, those numbers multiply exponentially. Despite what anyone may tell you, weed tourism is a booming business.
So while Euflora won't ever get any locals who smoke herb (aside from the street kids on the mall who spent the day scrounging up change by playing ratty guitar in order to afford a blunt), the recreational shop will continue to kill it on sales based on its address and a core customer base of tourists who don't care that they'll spend $25+ on a gram of pot. Euflora doesn't even have to improve the quality. The shop can keep on selling the same mediocre pot, and the Okies, East Coasters and Texans will still line up outside its door.