Except for the beach, rum punch and occasional hurricane, Denver and Jamaica have a lot in common. We both boast great scenery, weather, music -- plus, ganja is an integral part of our marketplaces. And though Denver doesn't have a third-world economy (yet) or slums completely overrun by drug cartels, we do have a dispensary named after one.
Trenchtown Medical Marijuana Center
4166 Tennyson St. Denver, CO 80212 303-495-3531 www.trenchtownmmj.com
Hours: 10 a.m to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Owner/managers: Grant Harden and Daniel Diaz. Raw marijuana prices for members: $25 to $45/eighth, tax included. Raw marijuana prices for non-members: $25 to $45/eighth, tax included. Members get 20 percent off purchases for first two months, then 10 percent off for the rest of the year. Online menu: Yes (Hard to tell when last updated, though.) Other types of medicine: In-house-made butane hash oil, edibles. Handicap accessible? Yes.
The shop is in a 1940s-era strip center on Tennyson, just on the cusp of the construction work that has been plaguing the street for months. Street parking is much nicer than before, though, and finding a spot out front wasn't a problem during a midday/mid-week stop.
By most standards, the center would be considered tiny -- but in comparison with the Highland/Berkeley neighborhood, it's seems like a quaint, cute boutique. That's not to say the herb was quite at the level of what people consider to be "boutique grown." However, that's not entirely fair to say, since the shop was between harvests and relying on ounces purchased wholesale through another dispensary, like a lot of places I've visited in the last month or so.
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Part of me expected to walk into a thumping, dancehall-like atmosphere, complete with Afrocentric artwork, Lions of Judah on the walls and what I assumed would be an obligatory Bob Marley poster on the wall. And that part of me was excited. I love Jamaica, even dragging my family down there for a ganja-filled wedding celebration earlier this year. Any chance I can to get a small taste of the island, I take.
Instead, bass-filled but low-volume hip-hop rumbled out of a retro-styled boom box on the countertop to my left and killer Japanese-style cartoon graf work done on canvas hung to my right on the wall and around the back by a built-in bench that serves as the waiting area. It felt like a vintage Nike Air Dunk store, minus the Dunks.
But true to the roots in Trenchtown's Jamaican-inspired name, the L-shaped bud counter was made of dark-stained rough wood planks and corrugated tin. It was a subtle nod to the shanties, cold beer joints, and jerk chicken shacks that dot the island. Although it the didn't have the complete irie mood my inner-Rasta secretly desired, the shop clearly gave off an island-simplicity vibe.
Owner Daniel Diaz said he recently purchased the center with his business partner, Grant Harden. The two growers were tired of being contract workers for other dispensaries, he says, and decided to take over a storefront themselves and carve out what they saw as a less-corporate, more roots feeling shop. "We have a passion for music, art and love -- all of which inspire our cannabis," he points out.
The counters have glass counter-tops displaying a few medicated candies, chips and drinks. There was no hash around the day I was in -- just some in-house-made butane hash oil in syringes. Generally, if the butane oil is still so viscous that it needs to stay in a syringe, I stay away from it. Besides, the small vials were selling for $20 for three-tenths of a gram, which is getting to be on the steep end of the rapidly falling solvent-made concentrate market.
Bud was broken down on the back shelves by a three-tier system, with top shelf selling for $45, middle-shelf at $35 and bottom shelf buds going for $25 -- although the latter was out of stock. The dozen or so strains avilable between the $35/eighth and $45/eighth level represented a decently broad selection, from heavy indicas to heavy sativas. My budtender was quick to point out which strains were done in house and which were purchased wholesale from another shop. She explained that the dispensary had recently come under new management and the transition had left the new owners with only a small crop of their own. Diaz says Trenchtown primarily runs a hydro setup and sticks with Advanced Nutrients for his additives.
Buds like the Killer chem, Vortex and Dairy Queen had a hydroponic sparkle and the candy-like smell that soil-free buds get. At the other end of the spectrum, the shop had brought in organic soil cuts of Skywalker OG, CheeseQuake, DeathStar and Ft. Collins Cough. The soil strains were about the same quality as the in-house hydro -- nothing offensive, but nothing centerfold-worthy, either.
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Still, my review of the shop probably won't resemble the place in the next few weeks if any of you head over there. According to my budtender, an issue with the lease means the actual dispensary will move to the back part of the property this week, and it will only be accessible through the alley off Tennyson. The owners hope to keep the storefront on Tennyson open if they can, likely turning it into a community center or lounge for overflow patients.
In general, the place is worth a stop if you're in the neighborhood and are looking for some mid-range priced herb. But I'd have to see what the Fall harvest looks like before I'd suggest trekking from across town just yet.
Page down for this week's strain reviews and photos. Ft. Collins Cough: $45/eighth The buds in the shop all had the strain's signature cotton-boll look, but also showed signs of a sloppy chop job in a machine trimmer. Plenty of broken trichomes and pieces of broken leaves on the outside of the bud I brought home, which isn't that unexpected considering it was bought wholesale to keep the shelves stocked until the next harvest comes along. It's kind of shame, because cracked open for a better look under the scope, the fat yellow trichome heads on the long, slender stalks looked like thousands of small balloons tethered to a green lawn. Not a very strong taste from this cut, though -- or at least not near as strong as this strain can normally have. In a spliff, the haze came out strong in the second-hand smoke drifting around the room, but the joint burned harsh, with only a mellow skunkiness to the taste. It also left me stoned as a rock, as this strain tends to do. Mind-wanderingly mental but with a soothing body relaxation even when it's grown at warehouse quality, this Colorado strain is enjoyably intoxicating. Was this sample really top shelf? Not really. But I'd smoke it again if you passed it to me. Dairy Queen: $45/eighth This was the best of the in-house strains Trenchtown had to offer during my visit. The grapevine shaped buds all had a similar delicateness to them, well preserved with a good trim and a fair amount of sugar leaves left on for good measure. Nice color as well. Fresh, green sugar leaves, mostly crystal trichomes with patches of amber in the crevices of the calyxes. I sometimes get a mentholated Golden Goat-like smell out of Dairy Queen (due to the Romulan in both, maybe?), but this cut had a sweetly funky Cheese smell in the big jar in the shop. After a few days in a jar on my desk, the bud took on a peppery, musty smell. It could have been the drying out that happened due to my stoned ass leaving the jar half unscrewed for two days, though, because the intriguing sweet, minty and moldy cheese smell came back when broken up. It burned easy, with a subtle light, fruity taste -- like drinking a glass of water poured from a carafe with a slice of lemon floating around in it. Comparing the Dairy Queen's eye-opening and ADHD-killing focus to the Ft. Collins Cough was night and day and a good example of how two hybrids generally considered being about a 60/40 split can have a completely different effect. Another top shelf strain for $45, and overall it wasn't too bad despite being about 10 percent overpriced from my broke-ass perspective.
William Breathes is the pot pen name for Westword's medical marijuana dispensary critic. Check out more reviews from him in our blog, Mile Highs and Lows. While you're at it, catch up on all your ganja news over at The Latest Word.