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Medical marijuana dispensary review: Boulder Botanics in Boulder

I used to love the summertime in Boulder. It meant that a huge chunk of the college population went back to Connecticut or California or Texas or wherever they were from and left the tiny college town feeling tiny again. Apparently, that is no more. There is gridlock everywhere, even on random Monday afternoons.

Driving to the area is a chore now, with nearly every inch of U.S. 36 under bottlenecking construction -- and trying to get around in Boulder proper has become a joke. But the buds at Boulder Botanics make the hassles of Front Range travel all worthwhile.

Boulder Botanics

1750 30th Street Boulder, CO 80301 720-379-6046 BoulderBotanics.com

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $14-18/gram $40-$55/eighth-ounce, $250/ounce. Members receive about 20 percent off purchase. Other types of medicine: Hash oil, wax, edibles, tinctures, lotions, drinks. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

The shop is tucked into a 1950s-era (and appropriately green-painted) strip center that has been nearly eaten up by the Best Buy and mega-mall across the street. Blink and you'll miss the driveway turnoff on 30th and have to circle the block and get filtered back into bumper-to-bumper traffic. I've learned that lesson so you don't have to, friends.

While the outside looks dated, like a 1950s Buick, the inside of Boulder Botanics offers a clean, modern storefront. Couches and an unused patient lounge take up most of the space, and live plants (not of the cannabis variety) take up corners here and there next to works from local artists. Despite the holiday-traffic-like mess on the streets, I was the only person in during my visit and had the run of the place. That will likely change when the shop switches over to being a dual recreational and medical dispensary next month: People will line up for recreational herb as good as Boulder Botanics is currently selling to medical patients.

After I handed over my card and ID and signed a quick patient registration form, the receptionist behind the tall wooden partition buzzed me back to the medical dispensary. Mike, my budtender du jour, was waiting behind the brightly lit glass counters and gave me a quick first-time-patient rundown. I'm not sure if every budtender is trained in the discipline of weed nerdery, but Mike knew his strains back and forth and was rattling off lineages and effects for every single item I asked to see.

Indica flowers were on the right side of a tall display case filled with wax and shatter oil; sativa flowers were on the left. Edibles from Dixie, Mountain High, Bhang and Incredibles were kept on the far left end -- and the shop also had some papers, glass pipes, tinctures, salves and ointments to the far right. As for the concentrates, the price was $40 a gram for shatter and $30-$35 for the crumbly wax.

Shatter choices included Afghani Dream, NYCD and Triple Diesel. I brought home a gram of the last shatter. For being a sativa-leaning strain, the Triple Diesel oil was very heavy, and I found that my usual half-Tic Tac-sized dab was enough to dull even the most severe cramps this week while helping get my hunger up. More than that and I was in a stoned-out bliss for a good hour -- making me forget about time on my afternoon walk around the neighborhood pushing a stroller. The consistency of the oil was somewhat tacky, and it did leave a slight residue on my titanium nail after a few dabs, but overall it was a good buy at $40 a gram. All of the oil is made in-house, and my budtender said the strain-specific selections change all the time.

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Continue for more photos and the rest of the review. Where Boulder Botanics really shone, though, was with the buds. The twenty or so strains were all neatly shelved, with strain names and price levels labeled on the front. Everything is grown organically in coco and soil, and all of the plump, ripe buds on display had a distinct, unique smell. My eyes probably lit up after taking a look and sniff of the Grape Ape buds. I'm not a purple-weed fan, but the nearly black buds were so dark and dripping with trichomes that I had him set aside the jar for further consideration. I then did the same thing with the lemony 303 Kush and the dense, chunky Trainwreck before realizing I would take home every one if I could.

But the Peach OG, a cross of Peach Haze and Tahoe OG, was the winner. If you could photograph a smell, the image above would be spilling tart peach and skunk into your house/office/mom's basement right now. Broken up, the earthy, rubbery OG smells of the Tahoe came out and mixed to create a face-filling odor that give me Homer Simpson-esque reactions.The flavor was exactly the same: delicious. A very cool strain, for sure; it's worth even Boulder traffic to sample. While thrown in on the indica side of the shop, the buds gave me a kick of energy for the first 45 minutes before oozing down my body to mellow out the nerves. I could see this being great for improving the mood of patients who also use it for stress or muscle tension and nausea. The Super Silver Haze x White Fire OG cross -- the other strain to make it back to Denver with me -- was also insanely good. There wasn't much of the SSH in this one, other than a more spear-shaped bud structure and some lightly hazy hints in the smoke, but the smell and stickiness were all Tahoe OG. Chunky and well-cured, the buds left my fingers sticky to the touch after breaking up a small bowl's worth, and the rubbery, new can of tennis ball-funk took over the room. Smoked, the buds let out a deliciously skunky, overripe-lemon flavor with an aftertaste that lasted for an hour or more. The buzz was a lot speedier and racier than Tahoe, which can be credited to the Super Silver Haze. Appropriately, the buds picked up my appetite along with my energy -- but I mostly enjoyed them for post-work, post-baby bed/book/bathtime bowl sessions on the back patio. Bud like this is the reason that cannabis is so enjoyable and so much more than a therapeutic relief. Really, everything at Boulder Botanic was like that. Better, the pricing isn't absurd. In fact, for Boulder, it's pretty reasonable. Eighth ounces sell for $40 (except the "special reserve" buds I didn't even need to look at that go for $55 an eighth) and ounces will run you $250 out the door. Membership brings all of that down by about 20 percent, and this is certainly the type of dispensary you'd want to sign up as your primary center.

Even if it means driving to Boulder now and then.

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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