Naming a Denver medical marijuana dispensary "Denver Dispensary" probably seemed like a good idea at the time: any random toker searching search for "Denver dispensary" will see their website first and likely click on it.
But the generic name has had the opposite effect for me.
I hadn't heard of the place until stumbling across it while avoiding traffic on I-25 north the other day.
4975 Vasquez Boulevard Denver, CO 80216 303-308-1111 MedicalSmoke.Net (website was down as of 9/5/2013)
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. Raw marijuana price range (for everyone): $125/eighth-ounce, $135-$170/ounce. Members receive additional discounts. Other types of medicine: Edibles, lotions, tinctures, vape pen refill cartridges, shatter oil, BHO. Online menu? No. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
Denver Dispensary is in a double-wide construction trailer set in the middle of a huge empty blacktop parking lot deep in the triangle warehouse district, wedged between Brighton Boulevard and interstates 70 and 270. There's enough parking for a fleet of cars in the space, but according to my budtenders, there will be greenhouses spread out across the property soon.
The inside of the trailer was very, well, trailer-like. Walking in the door puts you in a small, secured reception area that looks into the cluttered, dirty staff office through a thick plate of security glass. I actually half-expected the room to be unused and was waiting for someone to open the security door and simply take my card, but sure enough, my budtender -- a short, smiling woman in jeans and a tank top -- scuttled around through the boxes of crap, took my card through the slot at the bottom of the window and buzzed me through to the dispensary itself.
Denver Dispensary has a more subtropical climate due to the rooms full of herb being grown, not to mention the massive grow tent setup in the hallway leading to the bud bar. There's also the constant hum of fans and the lingering smell of plant fertilizer, though nowhere near as bad as my visit to Karmaceuticals back in July.
The bud bar is in a long room at the front of the trailer. Windows look into an adjacent room full of lanky, flowering cannabis plants growing in coco fiber and all connected with snaking hoses to a massive vat of water and fertilizer tea. Another woman behind the counter -- a tattooed rock chick in a one-piece jumpsuit -- told me staffers try and keep things as organic as possible. She also pointed out that the shelves were low on product because the small grow rooms are stretched to the max by demand, which explains the plan to add a few greenhouses to supplement the stock.
The bud room was more of the same mess as the rest of the shop. Junk laying around everywhere on the counters behind the bud bar and random posters and pictures stuck to walls with push-pins and Scotch tape give it the feel of a teenage stoner guy's bedroom. At the least, the place could use a little cleanup: Throw out some of the trash, dust a few counters, vacuum the dingy carpets and sweep the off-white faux-marble floor tiles. I did like the use of industrial grow light vent hoods as lights for the shop, however, and can't believe I haven't seen other shops do the same thing.
Continue for more photos and the rest of the review. Bud is kept in long glass and oak-colored veneer counters that cover the middle of the room, separating the budtenders from the customers. Herb was kept in display jars with indicas on the left side of the centered cash register and sativas on the right. Edibles were inside the glass case under the indicas, while smoking accessories like Cloud vape pens, bongs, pipes and papers were mostly kept under the sativas. Prices on the vape pens were actually pretty good, with Cloud pens selling for $40 and Atmos Genies going for around $50. Aside from a few pre-filled CO2-extracted oil vaporizer cartridges, the shop was out of hash and concentrates and wasn't expecting more for at least a week.
Fittingly for the jumbled-up shop, the mason jars full of herb all seemed to have two different strain labels on them -- the correct one on the side and the incorrect, older sticker on top. As a result, I wasn't always sure which strain I was checking out. While a few of the more naturally odorous strains, like Bubblegum and Blue Dream, had distinct smells, many more had a generic, dried-hay skunkiness to them. That includes the spindly Sour Diesel and the leafy Blue Goo, as well as the Great White Shark and Casey Jones I eventually brought home.
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Despite the lack of aroma, the Great White Shark caught my attention mostly because I don't see that classic strain around all that often anymore, and the leafy buds looked like they had a decent dusting of trichomes. Broken up, the fluffy, cottonball buds did get slightly more sugary in smell, but the underwhelming curing job wasn't enough to save the flavor. Burning the bud left a predictably bland, charcoaled flavor behind -- which sucks, because the potency was there even for underdeveloped flowers. Some more TLC during the process and Denver Dispensary could have some out-of-sight cannabis.
Proof of that was in the lanky, stretchy sativa, Casey Jones. It had the appearance of a spear-shaped Super Silver Haze: The frosted, BB-like calyxes that never grew far from the stalk reminded me of high-quality outdoor herb I purchased in Jamaica. Unfortunately, it also recalled the outdoor Jamaican herb in that it smelled more like the baggie it came in than any specific strain of herb. It didn't burn with much more taste -- just a slight, buttery Trainwreck flavor. Still, it got me buzzed up like a hummingbird after a bowl, even pulling me out of an indica coma one morning like a cup of coffee before a 4 a.m. flight.
Both strains were pretty representative of everything Denver Dispensary had on the shelf. For the $25 member pricing and ounces at $130-$150, there's really not much room to complain here: You get what you pay for. Plus, my budtender was fantastic and the other woman behind the counter was great at answering my questions. They were beyond friendly and really worked to make me and the other patient shopping at the same time feel at home. They just need the dispensary and the cannabis to match their personalities.