Medical marijuana dispensary review: Colorado Harvest Co. in Denver

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With all of the mergers, acquisitions and buyouts in the medical industry over the last year or so, it's hard to keep up with who owns what.

Not to mention where all of the bud that's supplying these stores is coming from.

As such, Colorado Harvest Company ended up being a re-review of a new shop for us. But the buds were from a garden we've found and enjoyed in the past.

Colorado Harvest Company

1178 Kalamath St. Denver, CO 80223 303-777-1840 ColoradoHarvestCompany.com

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Raw marijuana price range: $25-$35/eighth-ounce, members pay one tier less; $159-$179/ounce, members pay $10 less. Other types of medicine: BHO, shatter oil, icewater hash, edibles, tinctures, lotions, drinks. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

Other than the skunky odor wafting around the sidewalk out front, the green awning at Colorado Harvest is the only real indication that the tan building is a grow facility and dispensary. The rest of the block is equally nondescript and industrial: An auto salvage yard sits across the street, and the shop is flanked by the Talking Book warehouse on one side and a gas/fire-extinguisher-tank fabrication shop on the other. There's little drive-by traffic, let alone foot traffic, which is nice if you're still looking to be discreet about where you go for your pot.

Even so, the second I walked up to the door, another patient cruised up behind me and walked in at the same time. I should have let him go first, because I don't like feeling like I'm holding someone up with my extended shopping. But I blanked on it and handed my card over to the receptionist sitting just behind a raised countertop to the left of the door. The dude behind me sidled up to one of the bar-height tables stacked with pot magazines and fliers.

This was my first time in Colorado Harvest Co., but surprisingly, I was already in the center's system because I've shopped at its "sister store" on South Broadway, Evergreen Apothecary. While I vaguely remembered the layout of Evergreen, I distinctly recalled waiting on a patient ahead of me to finish his conversation, plus a well-done Flo on the shelves. So I figured it was worth sticking around Colorado Harvest Co. for the review.

A woman behind the receptionist desk to the right took my paperwork, scanned me in and sent me back through to the dispensary itself. The bar is an L-shaped counter topped in stainless steel and faced with corrugated tin that gives the shop a cool, clean feeling when juxtaposed with the cold gray paint on the walls and the dozens of spotlights illuminating the room.

There are two stations, with one on either end of the bud bar -- and there were two budtenders working the day I was in, as well, although only one was actually working with patients. The other was twisting up pre-rolled joints, which meant the patient behind me was kept waiting. Considering I spent an annoying amount of time waiting when I was at the sister shop, it's not something I wanted to pay forward while at Colorado Harvest Co.

Thankfully, all of the herb is laid out on the counter in sample jars, and my budtender, local hip-hop musician Jahni Denver, told me to have at them at my own pace. He told me that indica-dominant strains were on the left side and sativas on the right before going back to clicking around on the Mac in front of him.

Continue for the rest of the review and strain photos. Unlike Evergreen (which we were told sticks to concentrates made by natural methods), Colorado Harvest Co. carries butane-extracted concentrates like wax and shatter produced by Bakked. They were on display just behind the bud bar in a tall, sunglasses-kiosk-style glass display case divided into half-gram containers selling for $12.50 each, and I snagged a coffee-colored sample of the Sour Alien like a kid grabbing candy at the grocery checkout.

The shatter turned out to be less appealing when vaporized on a nail, leaving a funky charcoal in the titanium cup and a sharp, burned-crayon smoke in the air as the nail cooled off. It was really the only disappointment of the visit, as the quality of the shatter just didn't match up with the level of the buds for sale.

All of the herb is pre-weighed, which I've never really liked, because you don't necessarily always get what you see in the store. But everything I brought home looked as good as the buds in the sample jars, so I won't harp on that too much. CHC had close to forty strains on display, and the shop does a good job with a lot of them.

But of course, I ended up going with the Flo again, and by comparison, it was just as enticing and delicious as it was in July 2012 from Evergreen. The baby-carrot-sized buds had a ripe lavender smell to them that hit the nose instantly, followed by a hashy undertone. Broken down, the silver-trichomed buds scoped clean and left a dusting of crystals behind on my table after I broke them up. Smoked and vaped, the buds had a smooth, full flavor and a mellowing potency that was enough to arouse an appetite while still helping me maintain enough mental energy to get through the day. There were a few other sativa strains on par with the Flo or even better, in some cases (like the tangerine-scented Red Diesel), but at $30 an eighth, the Flo was the most reasonably priced strain for my money.

Worth a return visit would be the Vanilla Kush, which smelled like an old-school orange Creamsicle, and a skunky, fruit-punch Hawaiian Diesel that had just a minor diesel-fuel undertone. I also dug the lemon-rind Lemon Kush and the shop's Cindy '99. Not everything was great, as you would expect with such a huge selection. I passed over a few so-so examples, like the Bruce Banner and Grapefruit. But for the most part, the bud wasn't disappointing. Also worth pointing out were the $15 clones of seven or eight different strains, for those of you looking to grow your own.

The Purple Kush was the first jar I picked up in the shop, and the stinky, grape-colored and trichome-slathered buds stuck in my mind the entire time I was browsing. Uncorking the jar let out a Welch's-juice-meets-fresh-tennis-ball funkiness that blended in the perfect way that only cannabis can manage to make appealing. The smells came out strong in a vaporizer and bowl as well, though the buds didn't necessarily burn down to a fine white ash like they should have and instead were charcoaling up in clumps after three or four hits. Still, they scoped clean, and the buzz was a slam dunk in terms of minor aches and pain relief without keeping me from the normal winter routine of scraping and shoveling the sidewalks and walking a finicky dog in single-digit temps.

In all, I shopped around for maybe eight minutes total. I could have stuck around for ten more minutes looking through all of the jars, but by that time, I realized that the other budtender wasn't going to be helping the dude behind me, so I made my selections and cashed out with a quarter of bud and a half-gram of shatter for just under $60. Colorado Harvest Co. also plans to open up to recreational sales as well, so non-patients will have a chance to check out their gear starting sometime in the new year.

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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