Medical marijuana dispensary review: Green Man Cannabis in central Denver

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Not that people weren't smoking ganja at the parties I went to before, but these days it seems like everyone is pulling out a spliff of something from their new garden or recently discovered dispensary to pass around. (Yes, it is medicine, and, yes, we enjoy it socially: Get over it). Most of the time I'm fine to smoke and share what I've brought. But a friend reintroduced me to a mutual acquaintance with an impressive jar of Flo at a recent get-together, and after sampling it, I instantly knew what center I was going to review this week.

Green Man Cannabis

1355 Santa Fe Drive, Suite F Denver, CO, 80204 720-842-4842 GreenManCannabis.com

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $8-13/gram $325-$45/eighth-ounce, $180-$325/ounce. Members receive 10 percent off as well as special promotions. Other types of medicine: Wax, hash, minimal edibles, salves/lotions. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

Green Man's central Denver store is in a strip center one block from the termination of Santa Fe at West Colfax, just south of the old-school Taco Bell building that is currently home to the newest Original Chubby's (which is good, but not as good as the real original, by the way). You can't miss Green Man. It's the shop with the face of a large, green man stickered all over the front windows. Parking wasn't a problem, though I was hit up for change twice on my way up to the door (and once again when leaving).

Inside, the shop is an ADD mix of all things cannabis strewn about in a way that reminds me of the quirky, junk-filled antique shops on Broadway. The cabinets -- featuring T-shirts, pipes, grinders, cleaner, blunt wraps, edibles, vaporizers, ganja, hash and body lotions -- zigzag their way through the room, dividing the patient and staff areas. The shop also has a cabinet set up on the wall opposite the bud bar. It's stacked with T-shirts and hats, most of them herb-related, though some (like a Wonder Woman shirt) had nothing to do with cannabis whatsoever. The cabinets seemed full, so I imagine their customers are like myself and don't do much lifestyle shopping at dispensaries.

Don't get me wrong: It's clean and the staff was welcoming, cheerful and casual. But you can tell that at one point, the shop was spic, span and completely orderly. Much like my stoner apartment post-college, though, it quickly achieved a comfortable level of cozy disarray after a few hazy years. I couldn't care less, personally. But the dubstep over the radio and the lightly-foul-mouthed, tattooed budtender chicks probably aren't where you want to send your conservative, glaucomic Great Aunt Sally for her meds. (Okay, the glitchy dubsteb was a bit much even for me.)

Still, you might want to register as Great Aunt Sally's caregiver so you can purchase them for her, because Green Man was stocked with high-quality, well-cured herb, as my new friend told me at the party after we got to talking and puffing.

The paperwork for new patients is detailed, with a lot of questions about your medical needs. A lot of shops do this and then never pay attention to what you write down. Not at Green Man. I handed in my paperwork and sat in the small lobby for a minute or two while the slender blond budtender behind the receptionist glass read it over. By the time she introduced herself as Hillary and buzzed me through to the bud bar, she was already making suggestions for strains they had in stock to help with my nausea and morning cramping.

Walls were cluttered with signs and deal offerings, plus white boards with prices were everywhere. I ended up asking Hillary, who also acted as my budtender, for the prices on everything until she pointed out that each jar of herb I was looking at had the price per eighth ("PPE") written on it. As a first-timer, I could knock $5 off the prices, she said.

Which was good, considering the herb in some of the jars was priced at the $45-per-eighth mark. That's a little bit high for the everyday, non-member customer. But once I got an eyeful of the overall quality, I can understand why party pal had signed Green Man up as his caregiver. I had the budtender pull out the jars of mouthwatering cannabis flowers one by one. Not only were the buds all ripe and fully developed, but every jar I cracked open slapped my nose with a strain-distinct odor that seemed to grow more potent with each jar.

The first Mason jar Hillary pulled out of the glass cabinet was Skunkberry, and I knew it was coming home with me from the second the fruit-punch/skunk-ass smell cleared the top of the jar. My budtender said it was a knockout for nausea and a treat to smoke in the process, with a cherry/wild-berry-mix aftertaste that lasted through most of the bowl before it cashed out to a clean white ash. Under a scope, the buds looked like they had a halo of amber trichomes around each tiny sugar leaf and calyx. Dense and ripe, a tiny three-hit bowl of this potent herb was more than enough to sedate any morning sickness and get me on with my (slightly foggy) day. Pricey at $40 an eighth for non-members, but this is a shop worth making your caregiver to get the 10 percent off pricing on the reg.

We made it through a number of the twenty or so strains on the shelf -- notably, a Pine Kush that was funky and fresh all at once, like smelling your sweaty shirt after chopping firewood in the high country. There was also a jar of "Grape Cola" that was passed on to them as a grapey pre-98 Bubba Kush and renamed. While that move is questionable, the new moniker is spot-on. It was like someone took the grapey earthiness of a pre-98 and turned it up to eleven while toning back the new-tennis-ball funkiness. I was also impressed by the sour Cheesequake, discount Deadhead OG and a Super Lemon Haze that was the olfactory equivalent of a freshly opened bag of Starbursts.

Continue for the rest of the review and more photos. The most potent, sour-smelling strain on the shelf was the Headband, with its perfectly dense marble-sized buds crammed together on stalks to form beautiful, spiral-like flowers. When I cracked it open, the strength of the brand-new tennis-ball funk took over my office and put an instant smile on my face. If you're a fan of this strain, like I am (and you probably are, because who isn't?), this is the level at which you want to see it grown. Great earthy, slightly limey taste through the bowl, clean white ash to finish and a growing head buzz that starts before you've finished exhaling your second hit. As my budtender put it, this strain always puts me in happy cannabis land and is great for appetite and all-around mood enhancement. It's the type of bud that could cause world peace if everyone grew a few plants in their back yard. The concentrate selection wasn't nearly as robust and impressive as the flowers, though I did manage to find something worth bringing home in the Jack Herer BHO wax. For wax, it burned down clean after every hit off a titanium-nail setup. I preferred putting small dollops on top of bowls of herb, though, and seemed to get a better sense of the sweet Jack flavor that way. A steal at $25 a gram for wax made from whole buds, and it certainly found some rotation in my sessions this past week. But frankly, I would like to see Green Man's trim get made into some high-grade bubble hash or extremely well-made shatter-consistency oil instead. It would be worth it, based on how much I enjoyed smoking the shop's buds.

High pricing for non-members aside, Green Man is worth checking out. First-timers get patient pricing, and the quality makes it somewhere patients could easily consider making their primary center.

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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