Eight years ago, seven strangers were picked to live in a converted meat-market bar in Lower Downtown and have their lives videotaped -- and they found out what happens when people stop being polite and start being really, really bad at acting like they aren't in a reality-TV show.
I'm speaking, of course, of the Real World: Denver -- something I hadn't thought about since MTV's crew packed up and everyone quit talking about the whole thing. But something about Cross Genetics brought it flowing back to me.
2160 S. Broadway Denver, CO 80210 303-862-7689 Cross-Genetics.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $23-$33/eighth-ounce, $$150-$200/ounce. Other types of medicine: BHO, edibles, tinctures, lotions, drinks. Online menu? No. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
It's the type of shop the cast of Real World: Denver would have shopped at, complete with a starkly modern design in what was once an old throwaway building, fist-pumping EDM house music, and muscle-bound budtenders who look like they've collectively spent more time on a weight bench than lighting a bowl.
The throwaway building in question is a former 7-Eleven on South Broadway. And while the shop's owners have done a good enough job of blacking out the front windows and creating a roomy and generic waiting room where the racks of magazines and junk food used to be, a 7-Eleven is a 7-Eleven; the strangely iconic building shapes can never truly be hidden away.
The shop also kept the convenience-store's huge walk-in fridge and freezer along the back wall of the shop, viewable once you get back to the bud bar. Like the front windows, the entire wall of glass doors has been tinted.
The glass cabinets containing the bud are set up along the back wall, where a 7-Eleven usually keeps the Slurpee machine, nacho cheese/chili pump and a rack of random auto parts and supplies. Edibles are kept in a glass counter opposite the main bud bar in a smaller display.
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Prices flash by on flat-screens hung up behind the budtenders' heads. Herb is broken down into three sections spread out across the bud bar, with low-priced herb about fifteen feet away from the highest-priced herb in a completely different cabinet -- and half the time, another patient was standing in front of the middle cabinet, blocking my access. Splitting the supply up into three equal bud stations would be a far better use of CG's space and patient time. Continue for the rest of the review and photos. I started on the low end, where I found buds like the fluffy, leafy Master Kush and a bland, grass-green Juliett. Neither was all that impressive in the smell department, but at $23 for members, there's not much room to complain. On the middle shelf, the buds got slightly better -- especially fruity sativas like the old-school orange Mexican Chiclets-esque Tangerine and the mango-punch Juicy. I brought a foxtailed, crystal-covered half-gram of the latter home to sample, and I wish I had opted for more. It had an appetite-spinning buzz that really helped shift my early-morning crampy stomach into a more normal gear.
I stuck with buds out of the top shelf, though. At the budtender's suggestion for a strong indica-leaning bud, I went with the golfball-sized, sugar-leaf-wrapped buds of Kong. The smell of the huge stock jar in the shop had a much more pronounced kushiness than the single half-eighth bud I brought home, which was disappointing. So was the somewhat bland and generic taste of the buds out of a clean glass pipe. But the buzz was certainly there, and a bowl of this at the early onset of cramping this morning really helped bring down the pain, as well as the anxiety that can come with stomach flare-ups for those of us with nausea issues. The $33/eighth price for patients isn't bad, either, though the staffers could work on the flushing/drying/curing part of things if they want to entice non-members back to pay any more than that.
The same goes for the generically labeled (and generically grown) "OG." It wasn't bad, and when bulked together in a jar with several hundred buds, it definitely had a mild, earthy funk. But the two nuggets I brought home didn't really keep much of the odor until broken up, when a light, rubbery tartness came out. The flavor was hit or miss, depending on which bud I pulled from. One was sweet and fresh, the other more hay-like and less enjoyable. Either way, they were nicely loaded with cannabis goodness and worked as a great addition to the Kong in dealing with my belly (in case you can't tell, I've been having a rough go at my health lately). Like the Kong, you'll be walking out with an eighth of herb for around $33 as a member and a little more as a non-member. But unless you're around the corner from the dispensary or happen to be driving by, there's little reason to travel across town to Cross Genetics based on my visit. Overall, the buds were decent and passable and no doubt would impress the type of person drawn to the Real World:Denver. Like how they single-handedly made Snooze such a huge deal -- when there are dozens of other small, greasy-spoon breakfast joints in the city worth frequenting -- simply because Snooze had some contemporary flare (and put Crunchberries in their pancakes). Somehow I get the same vibe from Cross Genetics and its spiffed-up former stop-and-shop, which uses a somewhat flashy, club-like atmosphere to sell what is otherwise average warehouse cannabis.