Medical marijuana dispensary re-review: Denver Patients Group

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This dispensary has closed.

Re-reviewing Denver Patients Group is purely a function of its location. That is, I drove past the air-conditioned shop right as the Easy Bake oven that is my AC-less car had started to give me borderline heat stroke. Some people go to shopping malls or movies to cool off in heat waves. Why not a dispensary?

Denver Patients Group

2863 Larimer St. Unit B Denver, CO 80205 303-484-1662 www.denverpatientsgroup.com

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Online Menu? Yes. Other types of medicine: Butane hash oil, edibles, tinctures. Handicap accessible? Yes.

Denver Patients Group hasn't moved from its 29th and Larimer Street location, though according to one budtender, it has changed hands in the last year since our visit. There are a few more green crosses here, a flickering neon sign there, but overall, the outside of the squatty, tan building with iron security bars and doors is pretty much the same as before.

Just walking from my parking spot across the heat-radiating pavement of Larimer Street made my T-shirt stick to my chest with sweat. I almost turned around when I first hit the waiting room up front and found it was only slightly cooler than outside. Two people waiting for friends buying bud inside looked like half-melted snowmen lumped into the chairs lining the walls. But behind the safety glass of the window, a receptionist was sitting in temperature-controlled bliss. Cold air blew through the hole where I handed her my card.

The room itself hasn't changed much, either. The chintzy little TV is still in the same corner it was a year ago, the plastic and metal chairs haven't been upgraded, and aside from a few new Bob Marley posters, the place is still as bare-bones as it was last time. While she copied my paperwork, the receptionist buzzed me back to the dimly lit bud bar, where the AC was blasting so hard that it gave me goosebumps as the door shut out the sauna behind me.

I did notice some alterations at the bud bar -- small things like the way herb is set out in different glass counters and the amount of edibles the shop carries. DPG has also done a good job of making the otherwise loud, clinical space feel homier by adding curtains to the windows and switching out industrial fluorescent tubes in favor of spotlights hung on a track. Otherwise, the counter layout is the same, with small glass cabinets lined up in an L-shape parallel to the back and left walls when you walk in.

What really changed are the prices. In March of last year, the shop was still charging $50 for an eighth of herb. Granted, the top-shelf strains were definitely well-grown, but nothing should have fetched that price at the time. Within a few days, however, the shop had lowered prices, and now top-shelf buds are capped at $30 an eighth and $200 an ounce, with sale strains going for as low as $150 an ounce. I checked out the Old School Skunk on sale, and while it was leafy and slightly underdeveloped, it had a light skunk smell and a sugary coating of trichomes underneath.

Apparently I wasn't the only person cooling off in a pot shop. A tall dude with a flashy chain and crisp New Era hat was taking his time going through a few strains with the lone budtender on the left half of the long counter. So I started going through the twenty or so jars that were piled up on the counter in front of me. Though some were clearly more cured than others, most were enjoyable in their own way, and the selection was great. Lots of OG mixes and phenotypes, including Private Reserve, Alien OG x White Fire, Taho OG and a chunky Kings Kush x White Fire. A kids-breakfast-cereal-sweet Dairy Queen also stood out. On the mid-level shelf, strains like the Zeta Sage and the Shaman weren't given as long to dry and cure properly, but they were definitely smokable.

I even got a few suggestions from the guy shopping before me, including the Purple Diesel, which he enthusiastically told me was the shit. I'm not one for purples and didn't end up taking it home, but I can see why he grabbed an ounce due to the chunky buds, whose odor was like sweetened purple Kool-Aid mix. Best of all, the shop had El Diablo OG on the shelf, this time not ridiculously overpriced at all, but marked at a solid $30 an eighth. More on her later.

Wax and hash were kept inside one of the glass cabinets, with a few strains put in a cabinet apparently meant for members only. Still, my budtender pulled out a few of the strains for me, including the Blue Dream wax that she said the shop has become known for. Like the four or five other waxes I checked out, the Blue Dream had a bland, kief-like smell, but the tan color and flakey consistency were enticing enough to bring home a sample.

I also took some time to check out the edibles selection, particularly a $10 tub of spiced and medicated peanuts from Headibles and a single-serving bag of Cheetos Puffs-like corn chips infused with (you guessed it) marijuana. Next time I'm out for medicated bar food, I know where to stop. DPG also had some pretty inexpensive glass pipes and vaporizers, ranging from a few hundred on the high end down to $5 cheapo pipes.

After spending about twice as long as I needed to so I could absorb the cold air, I wrapped things up. For being somewhat of a first-time patient, I got a $5 discount on my purchase, bringing an eighth and a gram of wax to just over $53 with tax out the door (and into the searing heat).

I'll be back to Denver Patient Group Again for the El Diablo alone, but DPG also has some issues I hope staffers take care of when it comes to at least one other strain....

Page down for strain reviews and photos. Durban Kush: $30/eighth The buds had similar wild red hairs to the Durban, but a more compressed, kush-like cone appearance to the flower structure itself. Smell out of the jar was a mix of the peppery Durban with very faint hints of earthy OG near the end. Unfortunately, there was also a slight fungus funk to the bud after a few days sitting in the container I brought home, and I found spots of powdery mildew on the tops of large leaves left behind in the trimming. I noticed this after I had already smoked a few bowls -- and it's not going to kill me or anything like that. But it does indicate some issues in the grow when it is this noticeable. From the small samples I did burn, the mix with the kush didn't do much to alter the Durban flavor, and it had a surprising, strain-distinct kick to the flavor, blending some of the stoney, body-buzz effects of the kush to the otherwise mental freakout that Durban can produce. Nevertheless, the 1.8 gram chunk I brought home is still sitting pretty much un-smoked on my desk as I type this up. El Diablo OG: $30/eighth El Diablo! The name conjures up the image of a masked Mexican wrestling champ for some reason, which is appropriate, since El Diablo took the title for most appealing strain in the Denver Patients Group. A few of the other OGs were decent, but none came close to this in bud development or smell. Small orange hairs peek out behind the folds of calxes coated in sandy-colored trichomes. Unlike the Durban Kush, the leaves left behind on El Diablo had only one or two questionable spots on the dozen different leaves I checked. More important, it smelled exactly how it should -- like a latex glove with a tennis ball stuffed in the palm buried in fresh-turned soil. Smoking the savory little nuggets was equally as senses-pleasing, with a full, rubbery, tart taste through the greens of the bowl that left my head floating and body pain-free for a solid two hours. Well worth the low, $30 price tag for an eighth of quality OG. Blue Dream Wax: $25 This wax had the consistency of brown sugar after it's been left in your pantry for a few months; at first, the pieces rattled around, but after squishing them up, the moisture leeched out to the surface and they became pliable. Smell wasn't on the lavender mark for Blue Dream. Instead, it was a hashy, straight-THC smell. It burned clean enough on a nail, melting down before vaporizing in a flash to a bland, lackluster-tasting hit. The wax was potent enough, though, and within a minute, the strain had put me at ease mentally without making me physically want to take a nap. The wax was good for post-work relaxation and at $25, it's got a good price. But it's not anything I would drive back across town for.

William Breathes is the pot pen name for Westword's medical marijuana dispensary critic. Read more of his reviews over at Mile Highs and Lows and keep up with all your cannabis news at The Latest Word.

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