Medical marijuana dispensary re-review: Fall harvest at Grassroots Grown in Sunnyside

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Grassroots Grown has been on my radar for a fall visit since an ill-timed drop-in this past spring to the greenhouse-only dispensary.

And it was well worth making a return trip.

Grassroots Grown

4379 Tejon Street Denver, CO 80211 303-420-6279 www.grassrootsgrown.com

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Sunday. Raw marijuana price range (members and non-members): $20-$25/eighth, tax included. Ounces, $140-$180. Other types of medicine: Hash, BHO, edibles.
 Online menu: Yes.
 Handicap-accessible?: Yes.

I didn't originally stop by for a review, I just happened to be in the area and remembered someone telling me that the shop's fall harvest was finally starting to come in. And for Grassroots, that's kind of a big deal. Colorado may be known for herb (especially now), but we aren't necessarily known for our outdoor herb.

Most places here grow their cannabis indoors using thousands of watts of lights (and energy, and natural resources, and... well, you get the point). But everything at Grassroots is grown on a 70-acre plot outside of Boulder. The word "outdoor" isn't exactly accurate, though. Grassroots grows its crops in massive greenhouses that allow the farmers to control variables such as temperature, water and even light.

A quick junior-high-level science refresher: Most marijuana varieties in the world go from their growing, vegetative state to a flowering state based on light changes from season to season. Generally, that's why herb planted outdoors in the spring starts to change after the summer solstice, when the days begin to get shorter and shorter. In more equatorial climates, that doesn't change as much. But as you move north, our sunlight time dwindles to about nine hours and twenty minutes in the middle of winter (compared to eleven hours in places like, say, Jamaica).

Last winter, the owners of Grassroots used light deprivation on the greenhouses -- which is a fancy way of saying they pulled dark tarps over the top of the clear buildings to trick the plants into flowering. But that produced the meager and at times unimpressive harvest I saw back in April. The owners recognized that, too -- and since then, they have focused on cranking out two harvests of organic, solar-powered herb worth smoking to maximize the shorter grow times we have in Colorado.

Grassroots has also solved its other little problem since our last visit: a letter from U.S. Attorney John Walsh claiming that its old Tennyson location was a criminal enterprise because it operated within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare center. Another, even more intensive change: The center has essentially moved into a fully functional dispensary previously occupied by Cannabis and Company, a shop police say was actually just a front for lots of marijuana moving out of state.

Hopefully, Grassroots brings some needed good mojo to the space. But for now, the staff has not done too much to alter the former storefront, even keeping the massive lime green wall outside. The new Grassroots doesn't have the knick-knack charm its old two-story house did. No more bright wood floors, quirky paint job on the inside and huge coffee-shop style lounge set-up for patients. But function wins out over décor, and the space clearly works for what Grassroots is doing now.

Staff was still just as great as before, and the manager on duty was pumped to be showing off the fall harvest; he let me take my time with everything. The bud bar is a few glass cabinets, with buds on the right side and edibles and concentrates on the other. Buds were on the counter when I stopped by, each labeled with the strain name. Simple. Easy.

Continue for the rest of the review plus photos. Buds included a killer 707 Headband/Maui cross just pulled out of the locker the day I stopped by. The fluffy, round nuggets had a fruity, buttery smell, with hints of the Headband rubberiness broken up. Though the buds looked somewhat dull, they were anything but. Smoking and vaping out of clean pieces brought up some amazing earthy sweetness and a powerful Headband aftertaste. The flavor lasted most all of the bowl, then tapered off into a pleasant and almost sweet aftertaste before burning off as a fine, white ash. The buzz was outstanding and really helped lift not only my appetite but also my mood this week after an unfortunate hospitalization last weekend.

The thing that fascinates me with outdoor herb is how it loses the artificial sheen of cannabis grown indoors under perfect conditions. The sun is much more powerful than those HPS lights ever could be and the plants react accordingly. Buds like the Blue Dream looked a bit darker in color, and the usual lavender smells mixed in with a natural, clay-like hash scent. I also dug the stinky Skywalker OG and a sweet Juliet.

Like any harvest, some buds were better than others, and things like a generally dull Pre-98 Bubba just didn't do it for me. The center also had a few seeded strains selling at a discount for $20 an eighth and $140 an ounce. If you're not opposed to the old-school requirement of breaking up your herb in a box top and picking out beans, strains like the seedy Sour Tsunami actually weren't half-bad.

The Vortex was the Belle of the Ball (jars) as far as looks, with a wild, stacked sativa spear shape and a dark, suntanned glow to the fat calyxes and brick-red pistil hairs. It reminded me of well-kept outdoor herb I've had from Jamaica, even to the point of being a little bit moist -- which gave it even more of a farm-fresh appeal rather than being a deterrent. The strain brought back fond memories of outdoor "high grade" in Jamaica in a lot of ways. The Vortex had a waxy, dark lemon scent, like someone put Country Time into an old tin of Turtle Wax, although the flavor wasn't as strong when burned. I'm a big fan of racy sativas like this for getting an appetite and then having my puff double for a cup of coffee at the same time.

The shop also had a few different varieties of Essential Extracts hash, including a cool whole-plant extraction for $30 a gram that was so waxy it might have melted if I looked at it hard enough. I opted for the $14/gram middle-of-the-road Lemon Dream hash mostly for the Lemon dryer-sheet freshness of the smell. It had a sugary, refreshing lemonade flavor by itself and burned extremely clean and quick, leaving little pellets of white ash on top of a half-cooked bowl.

Pricing is great at Grassroots: Discount sells for $20 an eighth and everything else is $25 an eighth. Ounces are capped at $180. The budtenders told me they have been welcomed by the neighborhood and world-of-mouth on their herb has kept a steady flow of customers coming in for Colorado sun-grown cannabis.

Read more reviews from Westword's medical marijuana dispensary critic, William Breathes, in our Mile Highs and Lows blog, and keep up with all your Colorado marijuana news over at The Latest Word.

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