Medical marijuana dispensary review: DenverDam

Remember when you'd go over to your friendly neighborhood pot dealer's house and he would only have one strain of herb to offer you -- but, hey, it was weed, so it didn't really matter? Me, neither. It's been way too long since that's been the case, considering the hundreds of ganja varieties for sale here. Which made it all the more bewildering when I visited DenverDam to find one strain of herb on the shelf and no hope for more until the next day's harvest arrived from the grow house. And apparently, that can happen daily.


4571 Ivy St. Denver, CO 80216 303-951-1480

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $10/gram, $35/eighth-ounce, $160-175/ounce. Members receive $25/eighths and discounted ounces. Other types of medicine: BHO, ISOHO, EHO, kief, hash, edibles, tinctures, lotions, drinks. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

DenverDam is up north of I-70 in the warehouse district I most associate with large pot operations that move herb more on a two-ounce-max-per-transaction level than a per-eighth level. That is apparently the case, as my budtender -- a tall, red-goateed dude named Joe -- told me the shop has a hard time keeping its shelves stocked. He added that there's a rush in the morning to buy up the two or three pounds that arrive each day.

Inside is what I imagine a lot of the coffee shops in Amsterdam are like (minus the haze of actual ganja smoke in the air): slightly run-down, cluttered with branded pot products and full of mid-grade buds. Or, in my case, not full of bud at all. So maybe DenverDam is a fitting name after all. The day I stopped in, the shop only had about an ounce left of some Grape Krush. The dozens of other strain-labeled, shoe-box-sized plastic tubs stacked on a shelf near the bud counter were empty.

On the bright side, I didn't have to spend my time rummaging through containers of warehouse pot to find the one strain to bring home this week. The selection was already made for me (again, something I haven't had happen in a long, long time). The wispy little buds were underdeveloped, but still left a sticky coating of trichomes on my fingers when breaking them up. The flowers did let off a fruity, grapey smell when cracked open, but it hardly came through in the otherwise charcoalish flavor. Potency wasn't amazingly high, either, though that's not necessarily a bad thing when you want to ease stomach cramping and pain but don't want to go through the morning in a stoned fog. In general, though, the buds weren't anything special; they were what I would expect out of a wholesale shop that sells an eighth for $25. Non-member pricing brings the price of an eighth up to $35.

While DenverDam was otherwise out of herb, the shop did have about five or six different types of solvent-extracted hash from several different vendors. There were generic waxes for $35, including grams of "caviar." Most interesting, at least in theory, was the ethanol extraction from Canyon Cultivation, which also makes the Lick-It dissolvable THC strips. The chunk looked more like dark, icewater-extracted bubble hash than waxy budder, but my budtender told me it wasn't going to full-melt. For full flavor, he suggested I try Dixie's foray into concentrates: the (reportedly) ISO-extracted "Prime" Diesel shatter.

The dark-red grains of hash were the most appealing out of the entire selection, despite the fact that the packages were sealed and I couldn't get a whiff of the gram before I bought it. At home, though, I was severely let down. My first dab on a titanium nail left an inexcusable amount of black, chunky residue -- more like the gristle off a barbecue grill than hash ash. If it had been in a vape pen, it would have easily gunked up the works after two or three loads. The flavor and smell of the burned pellets was closer to a burning plastic bag than anything marijuana-related. This stuff shouldn't be sold at all, let alone for $30 a gram. I really hope this isn't the hash being used in Dixie's edibles.

As for the lack of selection otherwise: Selling out of herb now and then isn't a bad problem to have, but when it becomes a regular occurrence, there's a problem. Or maybe not. Maybe the folks at DenverDam don't care about turning off potential new customers who, for one reason or another, can't make it in before 3 p.m. every day to buy their meds. That's their call, I guess. They may even have some really good herb on the shelf (when it's there); I just won't be gambling my time and money swinging by again to find out any time soon.

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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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes