I’ll give Rocky Mountain High some credit: A vintage-clothing shop that also sells pot sounds like a good plan. Maybe not a great one, but one that might work well in a place like Venice Beach. To that point, it never seemed like a good fit for Denver to me, where there’s a plethora of true thrift stores out there. Judging by the sparse selection of T-shirts hung around the shop on my recent visit, my assumptions are correct.
Which means that somehow, RMH is getting by mainly on cheap bud sales.
Rocky Mountain High
1233 W. Alameda Ave.
Denver, CO 80223
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, noon to 7 p.m. Sunday.
Raw marijuana price range (recreational): $17/gram $30/eighth-ounce, $200/ounce.
Other types of medicine: Wax, hash
Online menu? No.
Recreational sales? Yes — dual-use medical/recreational.
Rocky Mountain High was originally located in Cherry Creek, but being a stone’s throw from a nearby elementary school meant it had to relocate. These days, the staff calls a red cinder-block building on Alameda home, as does a musical-instrument rental shop next door. The company also runs shops in LoDo, Durango and Edwards, as well as the Grass Station in the Ballpark neighborhood in Denver. The other locations have seemed well-stocked with gear when I've visited them over the last few years — making the shop on Alameda feel even more like an afterthought.
During my recent stop, the Alameda shop had plenty of pot-related stuff, but somehow still felt empty, like a Halloween costume shop in a shuttered, failed big-box store at the end of November. Pipes and bongs filled one cabinet in the entryway, but otherwise, there wasn't a receptionist area or check-in station. You sort of just stand there. The walls of the place are lined with track shelving left empty and the few vintage pieces of furniture are scattered around. It was reminiscent of the end days at an antique shop on Broadway, especially since the shop seems to have largely abandoned the idea of selling retro duds and wares.
I walked in at the same time as a hipster wearing a Jamiroquai-esque buffalo hat, and the two of us were met eventually by the lone budtender working the shop. I figured the hipster was meaning to go to the music shop to rent a theremin or banjo or whatever his indie-folk outfit requires him to play, but he pulled out his ID as the budtender approached. She thanked him, then turned and asked if I was recreational or medical. After I told her I was there for MMJ, she said medical patients could only purchase ounces for some reason related to their back stock. Nothing smaller. But eighths of recreational pot were only $30, tax included. Not bad pricing — lower than some medical shops I’ve visited lately — so I figured checking out the buds was better than walking out empty-handed and wasting my day trying to find another shop. She glanced at my ID, handed it back to me and walked us back to the bud bar.
The bud room is like the waiting room: sparse and echoey and empty. The medical side was wiped clean, while the recreational one had more to offer. For concentrates, the shop had grams of wax for $30 a pop. Like the bud, it was hardly worth considering for purchase. The six to eight different strains of buds on display were hardly the best examples I’ve seen and all seemed to have the same dull hay smell to them. I made it through five before giving up hope and opting for an eighth of the budtender’s selection, Blue Dream. I could have spent a few bucks more and purchased two grams at $17 apiece, but I couldn’t find anything else I really wanted to try.
There was a dead Deadhead OG with decent bud structure, but its musky hay smells weren't appealing. Same for the Flo, a strain that normally has a distinct icy-earthy-soil funk. Rocky Mountain High’s was a low. And the Chem 4 had none of the usual chemmy/Sour D-like fuel smells.
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SHOW ME HOW
Even the Blue Dream I brought home just didn’t have the usual lavender sweetness to it. Broken up, it just took on a more general piney smell, rather than anything strain-specific. The buds I brought home did look better than the ones on display in the shop, however. Generally, the sample had a nice bud structure with a light snowfall of amber trichomes on top for good measure. But the dried-out buds lacked any flavor. They burned clean, but with a dullness that left my mouth smoky and charcoaled. Potency was okay, and it definitely worked to chill me out and ease built-up neck and back stress for an hour or two, though it tapered off quickly after that.
But at $30 on the recreational side, it is good pricing and that might explain why three people were in line behind me by the time I was done. As much as pot nerds like me who obsess over well-grown pot hate to admit it, cheap bud sells in this town — especially to recreational customers.
For a medical patient, though, the shop had little to offer.
Even if you were in the market for a vintage T-shirt.