If you think the impact of cannabis legalization in the state hasn’t altered how people choose to recreate after work, look no further than the parking lot of Options Medical Center in Wheat Ridge during that time of day.
Before I got out of my car, two people parked and walked toward the dispensary and liquor store next door, but instead of going to buy beer, they went into OMC.
Options Medical Center
9085 W. 44th Ave.
Wheat Ridge, CO 80033
Hours: 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Raw marijuana price range (recreational): $10-$15/gram $35-$50/eighth-ounce, $240-$300/ounce.
Raw marijuana price range (medical): $5.35/gram $18.75/eighth-ounce, $150/ounce.
Other types of medicine: edibles, topical lotions, drinks, shatter, wax
Online menu? Yes.
Recreational sales? Yes
If I'd gone into the liquor store, though, I wouldn't have been greeted at a front desk by a security guard while another one patrolled the area behind her, as well as the bud bar beyond. They were nice, no hassles, but you don’t see security guards at small, neighborhood liquor stores all that often.
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While one took my red card and ID, a recreational customer came up behind me and handed over his ID. She looked at it and handed it back to him before buzzing him through, just like they’d do next door. Meanwhile, I had to fill out some paperwork and have the guard scan my ID and purple card. While that all seemed okay before, it seems pretty pointless now, especially when the alternative is so much less intrusive — though I doubt the law regarding patient data collection will change any time soon, given the current backlash against medical cannabis at the state level.
The shop isn’t fancy or done up. In fact, from the outside, it looks more like a no-frills outpatient drug-rehab facility than a shop that sells pot. And with the location directly next door to a liquor store, it seemed like OMC had a targeted audience. It’s probably why I’ve driven past it dozens of times by now and only recently realized there was a pot shop there.
The waiting room doesn’t get much attention. The staffers just seem to send people back to the bud bar and line them up between airport-style retractable line dividers in front of the glass bud counters. Recreational on the north side of the room and medical on the south, with the medical taking up much less space than the recreational.
But medical patients do get a priority, it seems. A redheaded Deadhead budtender finished up with the recreational customer she was helping and walked over to help me instead of taking the next in line. Options has medical shatter going for $40 a gram that looked to be clear and well-produced — both the Golden Goat and another strain that I didn’t catch the name of as the Dead played on the stereo in the background. No hash for me, though. I’m happy to trade the need for high-strength medical cannabis doses for feeling better and not needing it for nausea or my stomach recently. The edibles selection was solid, with 300 mg Incredibles selling for under $20, Dabba chocolates for $14 and transdermal patches for $15 to $22 a pop.
Herb selection on both the recreational and medical sides looked to be about a dozen strains. Rec customers are paying $35 to $50 for an eighth and $240 to $300 for an ounce. The medical side is much more reasonable, at $18 and change for an eighth and $150 for an ounce. The quality variation in glass jars filled with nuggets of herb in the display case was noticeable right away. Some were filled with shake, some were filled with plump, ripe buds like the Golden Goat, others with slightly wispy-looking ganja such as the Mickey Kush and the Strawberry Cough. The Hashberry was worth considering, as were the Grape Ape and Banana Kush. And while nothing was impressive enough to draw me back again in a week for more, the shop generally has some decent herb for sale — and walking out with a quarter-ounce for $38 makes it even better.
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The White Urkel was the most appealingto me, though it burned thick and somewhat flavorless out of a dry pipe despite a notable skunky undertone to the earthy, piney odors the buds let out. I got a decent head buzz and numbness from a few bowls, though the real potency came in the form of putting me down to sleep. I usually toss and turn for a while on the pillow, but a measly single bowl before bedtime had me out in minutes. Nothing I would seek out again at this quality, but if you’re trying to find something worthwhile on a budget, it makes more sense.
The Ogre Kush had a flo-like sweetness to the lightly grapey, sweet earthiness. But the shop did have actual Flo in the next jar that was overpoweringly lavender-sugary-sweet by comparison. Long, skinny buds, mostly, with thin, basketball-orange pistils and shiny white LED-light-like trichome crystal coverage. The buds burned clean, with a fruity sweetness and an instant head high that lasted for a good two hours before coasting downward slowly over the third. While the bud wasn’t speedy like a sativa, it was uplifting for me while helping me ease into an appetite first thing in the morning following a puff or two. After a couple of bowls, my stoned mind kept wandering to ideas of cooking a massive Mexican food feast, only to end up opting for my childhood favorite: grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. At $18.75 an eighth, the price was perfect. If I lived in Wheat Ridge, I would make this a regular stop over the liquor store next door, too.
And I’m apparently not the only one who feels that way. By the time I walked out of the shop, four recreational customers had walked in and queued up to buy buds, and another two were walking in the door as I left.
All the while, the booze store sat empty, the two "reserved for liquor store parking" spots unoccupied by cars.