Medical marijuana dispensary review: Best Colorado Meds in Wheat Ridge

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Best Colorado Meds is an orphan from Fort Collins, left to fend for itself in a partially hidden Wheat Ridge location after being ousted due to a dispensary ban. My budtender told me the owners hope to reopen in the Fort and keep the Wheat Ridge store running, too -- likely a good move considering the northwest metro dispensary desert between Arvada and Boulder.

Best Colorado Meds

4800 Lamar Street Wheat Ridge, CO 80033 720-205-5414

Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. Raw marijuana price range (members): $10/gram, $27/eighth, $180/ounce. Raw marijuana price range non-members: $10/gram, $30/ounce, $190/ounce. Other types of medicine: BHO hash, edibles from Blue Kudu, Cheeba Chews, Growing Kitchen, Mountain High. Online menu? Yes. Handicap accessible? Yes.

Finding the shop is easy: It's in an industrial building pretty much overrun with cars in various states of repair, thanks to the auto shop next door. I actually pulled up into the garage and parked next to a bitchin' '80s Pontiac before I noticed Best Colorado Meds' parking lot just around the corner, set off by by green concrete planters.

There's a small security room on the inside where I handed my red card and ID to the woman behind the safety-glass partition before being buzzed through to the long, skinny bud-bar area. Before she put my information into the system, she gave me a quick tour of the shop -- which required me to stand in one spot while she pointed out edibles, pipes and accessories, hash and buds scattered beneath three glass countertops.

Edibles seemed to be a big seller at the shop, as my budtender took an extra minute or two to talk about their selection of pot-infused cookies, brownies, chocolate bars and candies. Most of their selection came from Cheeba Chews, Mountain High, Blue Kudu and the Growing Kitchen -- the latter also making Best Colorado's butane-extracted concentrates.

The place isn't fancy. There's no interior design, just a dark, cozy shop with some hip-hop blasting from a back grow room sealed off from public view by a closed door -- though not sealed enough to keep the glare of several thousand watts of artificial light from seeping through the cracks. Another room off to the side held a few rooted clones the budtender said were starting. Nothing for sale, though. It was all going into the garden to beef up the selection.

Which Best Colorado Meds kind of needs. While I don't mind a small selection of buds most of the time, this felt more like the shop was falling behind than being a connoisseur center that focuses on limited production. If BCM could get four or five more strains on the shelf at the quality of what I saw in my lone visit, things would be great.

The organic, coco-fiber-grown herb is kept in large glass jars in the bottom of the counter closest to the cash register on the right side of the room, with small sample jars set on top and a representative sample in each. I took a seat in a swivel chair in front of the bud case and went to work checking them out one-by-one while the budtender entered my information into the computer. It's a casual approach, and probably my favorite.

Instead of having to ask a budtender to see each and every three-ounce every time you want to check out a strain, you can go at your own pace. For the few strains I wanted to look at more closely, she would pull up the larger stock jars so I could get a good whiff and peep what I would be taking home. First-timers get patient treatment, with outstanding prices on eighths ($27) and ounces ($180). The two out-of-shop strains sold for $3 to $10 more, depending on the quantity. Non-members are capped at just $30 an eighth and $190 an ounce (the shop is actually running a special today for $165 ounces for everyone).

Though the selection was slim, what the center had on deck was all surprisingly nice. I started things off with the True Sour, the shop's name for its cut of Sour Diesel. Nice stinky, sour flowers with b.b.-like calyxes all balled up into marble-sized buds. The single nugget in the sample jar was sufficiently pungent for me to take home.

Breaking up the True Sour for a bowl left my hands waxy and tacky from the greasy oils. The crumbled buds let out a crazy fennel scent that came through on the very tail end of the first green hit out of a dry piece. Otherwise the buds burned clean to a white ash, with the right level of Sour D tartness. Speedy and cerebral for the most part, this strain also worked great to kick-start the appetite in the morning, when I needed it most. Good quality herb for a good price, this would be worth going back for more.

Continue for the rest of the review. Also worth checking out was the sugary, floral Sweet Afghani and the grapey, eggplant-toned Purple Urkle, though I'm not a fan of the sleep-inducing effects of the latter. Best Colorado Meds also had two strains of "imported" haze-related buds from another shop (as my budtender put it) -- a hazy but very premature C-13 Haze, and a jar of Sleestack that was really the only underwhelming strain of the bunch.

That's especially true when contrasted with the Banana Cream, which stood out the most in the shop. The spear-like display bud was nearly identical to the chunk of tan-colored THC-laden goodness that I brought home. Under a scope, the crystals (actually glands, but that doesn't sound as appealing) were fighting for space like trees in an overgrown forest. A forest that smelled oddly like an ice cream shop. True to the strain name, the cracked-open flowers smelled like a banana smoothie. The buds burned clean like the Sour D, but with a much more expansive smoke that caught me off guard on the first puff. Whereas the Sour D was like a cup of espresso perfect for the start of my workday, the more mellow Banana Cream was a good-for-lounging-in-the-backyard-and-enjoying-the-nice-weather strain.

The only thing I didn't really enjoy was the sativa-blend butane hash, made from Best Colorado Meds trim by the Growing Kitchen. From what I could see of the sealed containers in the shop, the concoction looked like flakes of shatter-quality hash. A bit dark, but I figured that was just the packaging and the low light in the shop. Wrong. The flakes were more like a taffy consistency with a really generic, musty hash smell and a color like used motor oil. Dabbed on a nail, the hash burned without any sizzle, but it smoked harsh and with an acrid, low-grade taste on my first and only hit. I know wax is all the rage, and at $25 a gram, I'm sure it sails out the door. But Best Colorado Meds is really doing good buds like the Sour D and the Banana Cream a disservice by sending trim off to be processed like this.

In all, Best Colorado Meds was worth the tip. If you're up in Arvada or Westminster and have been driving down to Denver or up to Boulder for your bud shopping, this is a much closer (and probably cheaper) alternative.

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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