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