I truly try to not pay attention to advertising in the cannabis world. I've gone so far as to put adblocker on my browser and I don't flip past the music venue notices in my own newspaper to the "green" part of the book. I know ad revenue is what butters my bread at the end of the day, but it doesn't matter who does or doesn't advertise in this (or any other) publication.
But spend enough time in enough dispensary waiting rooms and you can't help but notice the onslaught of PR that Buddy Boy Brands is putting out for the opening (re-opening, actually) of seven (soon to be eight) medical dispensaries.
4012 West 38th Avenue Denver, CO 80212 (720) 328-9971 BuddyBoyBrands.com
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range (members): $10-$12/gram $25-$30/eighth-ounce, $115-$125/ounce. Raw marijuana price range (non-members): $12-$15/gram $30-$35/eighth-ounce, $125-$140/ounce. Other types of medicine: BHO, edibles, wax. Online menu? Yes, but only pricing.. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
The company has seemingly come out of nowhere, taking over Pakalolo, Green Door Wellness, Emerald City Organics, something called Lucky 7's or Green Medicals, as well as Expanding Universe and Garden of the Gods -- this last shop being one I would prefer to forget. But times (and businesses) change quickly in this industry, and I knew that Expanding Universe and Garden of the Gods had both lost their medical cannabis retail licenses a few months back and had shut their doors at some point.
Either way, putting eight shops together under one banner took some considerable planning (and money) to pull off. All the shops have been rebranded on the outside to some degree, though the one on 38th looked like it could have used some more work on the inside, too. The bud bar is still gray bare walls and display counters are set out with vast, empty spaces behind them. But the important things are all there: bud, edibles and concentrates. There are plenty of cheapo, clean glass pipes too -- in case you happen to remember that you've got ten dirty ones at home that need cleaning. You can't miss it from the street. Just look for the brushed steel marijuana gatework in front of the glass windows and doors out front. It's across the street from Chipultapec Too -- one of the scarier daytime Denver bars to walk into, as I learned during an ill-fated ATM trek.
My mid-to-late-twenties budtender was a nice guy -- and while he may have been low-key, he knew a lot about the buds on his shelf. He said he had been with the shop since before it was Buddy Brands, adding that most of the stuff on hand came from the grow attached to the Pakalolo shop. However, two of the strains -- the Biodiesel and Master Kush -- were from Garden of the Gods' former stock. The Biodiesel was seeded and he wouldn't show me the Master Kush. They weren't worth my time, he said. Seems things hadn't changed much for that grow.
The budtender tried to give me a brief rundown on the switch, which involved the folks from Green Door merging with a Garden of the Gods person or something like that. Whatever. All I cared about was the grow. But things are different now. My budtender said that although the grows are fractured, they are all under one direction now and should be all coming up to the same quality in the coming months. I'm sure you'll see a lot of the company's stuff on other people's shelves too, judging by the scope of what is now under that one name.
Continue for the rest of the review and photos. The eight or so strains I did get to look through were better than I thought. In fact, I figured I was going to walk out completely disappointed with the place based on the folksy-homey name that implies small-time but really represents one of the largest chains of dispensaries in the state -- one that started overnight as far as the consumer is concerned. But I didn't. In fact, the buds I brought home (or wanted to bring home, more on that later) were all nice, plump buds coated in trichomes seemingly all with a light-to-medium strength strain-distinct smell. Some of the stock jars were shakey, sure, but for the most part, the buds were plump and well grown between the two tiers of pricing, which were definitely nuts. Ounces for $115 is about as low as I've seen herb sell for these days. Same goes for their top tier, going for a smooth $125 an ounce. My budtender said the prices are probably going to change over the next few months, but he expected the center to keep the ounce cost down low for the time being.
So bulk is probably the way to go here. Because otherwise, the $25-$30 per-eighth price feels steep. It's not. It's a fair price, actually, for top-tier buds. You just get more for your money by going bigger. I would have if I didn't have a few more shops to review this month on my meager budget (cough, cough).
Instead, I opted for variety (as usual) with two of the better top-tier buds I could find -- or so I thought. The first to grab my attention was Item #9, a cross of Flo and Strawberry Cough. The coating of trichomes on the fluffy, pine-forest-green buds was dense enough that it left a dusting on my desk whenever I set down a nug. The smell wasn't all there out of the jar, but the fat calxyes were dripping with THC and my budtender said it was a super energetic sativa -- the kind that usually work great with my stomach. Smoking a bowl wasn't the most flavorful experience, but the smoke was pure strawberry cough with a light, sugary/hazy smell that lingered around my backyard while I grilled up a massive dinner for my stoned-hungry ass. A good combination, but I think it could be flushed out a little cleaner to avoid the light charcoaling and improve the flavor. Still, at $125 an ounce, there's enough to enjoy for a few weeks.
I thought other strains, including the Pineapple Express and Strawberry Kush, looked okay, if nothing noteworthy. But the Stardawg was stinky, stinky, stinky with Chemdawg's pungent diesel fuel/rubber odors. The buds were somewhat shakey, but the few huge chunks in the jar looked ripe for the picking. It's the strain I'm almost positive I asked to get bagged up, but my budtender must have either grabbed the wrong jar or misheard me because I ended up with the Afgoey. Not my first choice for a second choice, or even a third or fourth choice for that matter. The strain doesn't do much for me -- or so I thought.
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The Afgoey turned out to be the stonier of the two (obviously), and the chalky white buds had a light, piney smell that blended with a ripe berry odor and came through like a skunky Creamsicle when toked out of a dry pipe. The small, dense buds burned cleanly as well, right down to a powdered white ash. Meanwhile, the tense headache I got by simply staying up late for the first time in months disappeared quickly and I was able to get back to work for a few hours with less stress and tension to bother me. For being something I wouldn't have picked, the Afgoey from Buddy Boy seemed okay. I doubt I'd go back for it again, but that's more to do with my preferences in strains than the quality. For $125 an ounce or $70 a half, you won't hate yourself for giving it a try.
Right now, there's a deal, with waxes and butters going for $20; shatter is $30 a gram. Mahatma and The Clinic's Lab were the suppliers, and I should have gone with the Clinic's. I keep trying with Mahatma, but I just can't find a concentrate that preserves any of the strain flavor -- or any flavor at all. The Sour Kush flakes I brought home were made from Buddy Boy trim, though -- which could mean they came from one of the lesser-quality grows. And by "could," I mean "must," because what I dabbed didn't taste like Sour Kush. Yes, the wax burned clean and only left a small amount of black residue on a nail -- and it lifted me like a hot air balloon caught in an updraft. But all concentrates can do that when they are this potent. I'd like them to at least have some ganja-like taste and not a generic, slightly plastic flavor. At $30 a gram, it's a fair price. I just hope the shop starts using trim from something like the Stardawg on the shelves.