Medical marijuana dispensary review: Evergreen Apothecary

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A few weeks ago, I was driving down Broadway on the way home from picking my dog up at a friend's house when I realized that I didn't have any herb I was pumped to puff. But it was close to closing time at the dispensaries, and my choices were running slim as I continued north. So I pulled over at the first green cross I saw, which happened to be Evergreen Apothecary.

Evergreen Apothecary

1568 South Broadway Denver, CO 303-722-1227 www.evergreenapothecary.com

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sundays. Online menu? Yes. Other types of medicine: Hash, Co2 oil, tinctures, edibles. Handicap-accessible: Yes (but not to the bud-bar area).

Despite there being about fifteen minutes left until 7 p.m. that night, I was let in the door by a smiling receptionist, who sent me back to the budtender to save time while she copied my paperwork over to the shop's system. The selection on the racks was down to about a dozen strains spread out between $25 to $35 per-eighth ranges. But most appealing was a deliciously earthy-smelling batch of Northern Lights on the $30 shelf that sealed the deal the minute it hit my nose. (Signing Evergreen up as your primary center drops prices about $5 per tier, and sometimes down to $15 eighths.)

I wasn't planning to review the center then, so I skipped taking pictures of the herb. But the quality on that stinky, delicious NL was enough to bring me back a few weeks later to see what else on the shelves was worth putting in my bowl.

Returning patients swipe their ID on a scanner at the door, which brings up your account on the computers inside and unlocks the front door for you. It's a bit Mission: Impossible-y, and you've still got to show your red card and ID to whoever is at the receptionist desk just inside to the left, per state law. Still, it apparently speeds up the process.

That said, my second visit didn't go as quickly, as the patient ahead of me was intent on taking as long as humanly possible before ending the transaction. I could hear the budtender trying to move things along, but the patient clearly missed the cues. While they chatted, I meandered around the lower level snacking on candy left out in a jar. Aside from the green signs in front, there's a welcome lack of lime green walls or weed posters in Evergreen Apothecary. Instead, a few Eastern-looking artifacts hang on neutral beige walls, and vintage scales and other apothecary relics are placed around the shop on top of shelves and book cases.

Stools and a bar along the front windows facing South Broadway serve as a waiting room, but the rest of the ground floor is underused retail space. The glass cabinets opposite the receptionist counter housed a few inexpensive glass pipes and other assorted ganja accessories. Behind that was an old wooden bar like the ones found down the street on Antique Row. I wasn't ever in the shop pre-1284 rules, but it looks like the bar was originally used for the main display before the owners moved things to the current bud bar upstairs. So now the old wooden bar just holds racks of OrganaLabs honey oil in plastic syringes. That brings up the one glaring issue with the shop itself: In terms of access, those of you with limited mobility may have a problem due to the small five-step stairs leading from the ground-level waiting room to the bud bar.

Finally, the guy ahead of me wrapped up his conversation -- but just to be safe, I raced up the stairs and passed him walking into the dispensary area before he had a chance to turn around a second time. The two guys working the bud bar both gave me the "We're sorry, we couldn't cut him off sooner" look before welcoming me and getting down to business.

The bud-bar room is much smaller in comparison to the rest of the shop. Hip-high glass counters with edibles, concentrates and more glass pipes surround you. Bud is kept in large jars on green bookcases behind the counters, with different shelves denoting the various price ranges. The jars also are color-coded for price, but I found it easier to just ask how much each strain was selling for as I looked at it.

The two guys budtending both had great suggestions, pushing me toward their sativa shelves for the most part. The shop had several kush phenos and hybrids, all of which were good, but not the most impressive I've seen. Where the shop shined was with its sativas, like the citrusy and crystal-coated Lemon Skunk and pepper-spicy Durban Poison from the top shelf and a jar of marble-sized, floral and earthy Flo buds from the mid shelf. Also worth mentioning was a bottom-shelf Agent Orange that smelled like the rind of a tangerine and a tart Strawberry Cough with borderline pink pistils wrapping around the buds.

You oil heads aren't going to find much to dab on in the concentrate selection at Evergreen Apothecary. The owner told me on my first visit that the MMC tries to stick with natural methods of cannabis production like icewater hash, kief and CO2 hash from Organalabs, adding that the crew also dips buds to create in-house caviar dubbed "ambrosia." The selection was pretty wide in those areas, though. Loads of strain-specific bubble hash in different micron sizes selling for about $15 a half-gram, kief in as many strains as there was herb on the shelves and various containers of CO2 oil. I'm not a huge fan of the latter; it's too gooey and flavorless. But I did snag a half-gram of Master Kush bubble to see how it stacked up.

In all, I walked out with an eighth and a half-gram of herb for around $50. For a shop I wasn't intending to visit the first time around, Evergreen Apothecary has made me a repeat customer.

Page down for strain reviews and photos. Flo: $30/eighth The flowers in the jar were all about cut down to the same size and had a density similar to the ones above, with a good trim to the entire batch. In addition to the sweet soil smell Flo usually packs, the cut had a berry fruitiness that tickles the front of your nose. It was well dried and cured; the smell was instantly apparent and only got stronger broken up. I won't go so far as to say this was the most potent-smelling Flo I've encountered (that goes to my former caregiver), but it's up there. The buds were coated in amber crystals, and under a scope, a few of the trichome heads bordered on purple in color. The taste wasn't as strong as the smell, but it did leave a strong, soil-like aftertaste lingering on my palate. Well worth it at $30 an eighth, and especially at $160 an ounce. Durban Poison: $35/eighth It's probably just me, but sometimes Durban Poison buds can take on this strange, gothic structure, with long craggy fan leaves building to a sharp, conical point. That was the case with Evergreen's Durban, which was packed with pill-bottle-orange hairs fighting for space among the dense forest of calyxes and leaves. It had the distinctly Durban spiciness to it, but there were also some candy-sweet undertones, like a mouthful of mixed Nerds. Solid in the taste department as well, burning down to a nice white ash and leaving an incense-rich smoke lingering around the house for a while afterward. The Durban left me buzzing mentally and sent me off on a house-cleaning/sandwich-making mission for the better half of the morning on Tuesday. The Durban represents the top shelf for Evergreen Apothecary at $35 an eighth and $170 an ounce, but I'm assuming that is based on yield. While it was good, it wasn't noticeably better than the (enjoyable) Flo that sells for a few bucks less. Master Kush 73 micron icewater hash: $15/half-gram As happened for last week's review, I went home with some classic icewater hash for the extra boost on my bowls. But comparing the two, I couldn't find any noticeable differences -- except that Evergreen Apothecary is charging double what other shops are. It's not bad by any means -- it sizzled and melted down into the bowl when burned slowly and had a rich, thick smoke -- but it's not like it's been pushed through a sieve, dried and cured like it should be for the $30/gram price tag. The quality is there; the prices just need to come down to match it.

Read more of William Breathes's dispensary reviews in our Mile Highs and Lows blog and keep up with all your marijuana news over at The Latest Word.

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