Medical marijuana dispensary review: BotanaCare in Northglenn

BotanaCare doesn't seem like a dispensary. And not in the "Oh, neat, look how they made it seem like something other than a place to buy medical marijuana" kind of way. No, it's more like, "Oh, damn, I must have walked in the wrong door." Imagine the boss of an out-of-the-way Northglenn construction company walking into the headquarters building and telling everyone on staff that the business is going in a completely new, green direction. Only BotanaCare never really got around to completing that idea.


11450 Cherokee St., #A7 Northglenn,CO 80234 303-254-4200

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $25-$45/eighth-ounce, $180-250/ounce. Members (and first-time patients) receive 20 percent off purchase. Other types of medicine: Hash, edibles, tinctures, lotions. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

The shop is tucked into the corner of an industrial warehouse center in the moving shadow of I-25 traffic, just fifty feet away. It's a pretty incognito location, and it fits in well with the commercial surroundings, for obvious reasons.

Pictures of Coors Field under construction and posters of steel framing are on the walls next to posters of weed leaves and advertisements for Twirling Hippy and Mary Jane's edibles. Industry awards from builders' associations hang next to stoner cartoons with unfunny punchlines.

The whole thing feels like the drab, coffee-stained, file-cabinet-cluttered office that nobody ever visited other than the construction-company employees who made themselves at home here. Maybe an occasional dog would wander in, but never a client. Which is the one glaring issue now: It just doesn't have a dispensary vibe.

Except for the smell, that is. It was hard to miss the aroma of the hundred or so waist-high green plants basking under buzzing artificial sunlight just through the open door behind the bud counter. It was almost as bright as the real sunlight baking Northglenn, Denver, and the rest of the concrete sprawl of the metro area just outside the air-conditioned confines of the place.

I waited for about five minutes for the dude behind the check-in counter to manually take down my information in between talking with the two older women milling behind him. Before I even saw the herb, the guy explained that if I didn't like any of it or was unhappy with what I bought, I could bring it back for a weight-to-weight exchange for any other strain in the house. Good to know. The bud bar is...never mind. There is no bud bar. Instead, you sit in a worn office chair at the front of a desk that looks as if a secretary had hastily abandoned it the day before. Amid the paperwork, pens and office electronics is a three-tiered spice rack, with a few buds from each strain in ten to twelve hinge-top glass containers.

I cracked a few open while my budtender, an older woman whom I recognized from the newspaper clippings hung on the walls as one of the former bigwigs with the construction company, spun around on her strained swivel chair and started pulling out the quarter-full mason jars full of stock buds from the $35/eighth/$210 ounce tier. While she didn't look the part, this grandmotherly figure was able to rattle off information about everything on display and how stoney each strain was compared to the other.

Most everything on display was about what you'd expect judging from the surroundings: lackluster but functional. The Golden Goat, for example, wasn't shining with crystals, and neither did it have a sunset-orange hue. At least it gave off a sweet and acrid stink, but only lightly. Same with the Sour Diesel, which looked underdeveloped and in need of a few more weeks in flower.

But BotanaCare did have a few things worth noting, like the cartoon-like Alaskan Thunderfuck with its brilliant, thick orange pistil hairs and Oscar the Grouch-green buds. I went back to it two or three times, debating whether or not I should make that selection. But I ended up bringing home the equally intriguing Flo.

Continue for the rest of the review. The Flo had the right amount of purple hints to its left-behind sugar leaves, and the smell of fresh soil mixed with a lemony after-dinner-hand-wipe scent was nose-ticklingly tart and mouth-wateringly soothing at the same time. That same fresh, focused odor came through in vapes, bubblers and one-hitters every time, and the sativa-leaning hybrid produced a heady buzz and a loosey-goosey body high. Strong but not day-ending, this was a good post-lunch smoke that tapered off smoothly. The buds were clean, too, scoping out well and burning down to a mostly white ash. At $35 an eighth for non-members, it is about as priced out as possible. But with the 20 percent member and first-timer discount, this eighth was worth the gas money.

Buds like the Cat Piss x Romulan didn't really hit the smell mark out of the jar. But the waxy, resinous buds did seem to open up more when you broke up the dense flowers, leaving a musky, hazy odor and waxy feel on your fingertips. "Stoney" is a good way of describing this to-the-couch smoker, with lasting relief for a sore back. It also worked great as a sleep aid.

While the buds weren't necessarily worth driving up from Denver, the shop is also a clearinghouse for Twiring Hippy Confections, Sweet Mary Jane and Tincturebelle Edibles -- all at reasonably low prices. For hash, the center had the little dark, semi-pressed cubes from Tincturebelle that aren't strain-specific and look like something a first-time hash maker would create with mid-grade trim. My budtender said the shop normally has BHO but was out during my visit.

In all, BotanaCare probably isn't going to make a blip on anyone's radar. It wasn't awful, and the staff was very friendly, but with other dispensaries doing the same thing better for the same pricing (or less), the people there might be better off switching back to being a construction company. Maybe this time, they can build grow operations.

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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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes