Medical marijuana dispensary review: Harvesting greens at The Farm in Boulder

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This dispensary has closed.

Holiday shopping sucks. I would rather drink the water from a dirty plastic bong than walk around the mall this time of year -- which explains why I always end up waiting until the very last minute to get anything done.

Take my recent trip to Boulder: I went out with the best intentions to find my fiancée a cool something-or-other that I will later pretend I purchased to go with whatever other thing I haphazardly buy for her. Instead, I ended up pulling into the first dispensary I found to buy herb for myself.

The Farm

Location: 1644 Walnut St., Boulder Phone: 303-440-1323 Website: www.thefarmco.com Hours of operation: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Noon to 6 p.m Sunday. Owner/manager: Jan Cole. Mission statement: "Bringing the highest-quality medicine to Boulder." Opened: Nov 8, 2009. Raw marijuana price range: $5 to $15/gram. $35-$50/eighth. Ounces from $200 to $250. Other types of medicine: Hash oil, kief, large assortment of edibles

I was buzzed through the front door of the Farm by a woman in her early twenties in Ugg boots and jeans who never told me her name. Vibrant and brightly painted Phil Lewis day-glo landscapes and psychedelic nature paintings hung on the walls of the otherwise plain white waiting room of the dispensary. I debated getting one of the paintings of a swirling, colorful fox as a gift, but the roughly $400 price tags persuaded me otherwise.

I filled out my paperwork while Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)" played overhead. That reminded me of The Breakfast Club, which then called to mind that scene where Emilio Estevez fogs up a room in the library with a joint and then does acrobatics like an idiot through the bookshelves. (Everything relates back to marijuana for me.)

After finishing up, I was escorted back to the very large and uniquely shaped bud bar and lounge. In less restrictive days, the owners said, they had a Volcano vaporizer out in the thrift-store couch lounge for patients to puff on, but now only a few High Times magazines and books sit on the coffee table. Across from that was an open hutch filled with Farm shirts and assorted paraphernalia. The rest of the room opened up into a large, chilled-out, Boulder-esque lounge of all things marijuana and cannabis culture. Persian rugs were on the floor, and various bits of psychedelic artwork decorated the walls.

I followed the unnamed woman who I now realized was to be my budtender back to the mirror-backed bud bar, which doubled as a small bookstore. Owner Jan Cole said she tries to keep around sixty titles in the dispensary for sale, many of which she says are hard to find. I spied a few '60s-rocker biographies and books by Hunter Thompson on the shelves. Good stuff, but nothing I could give as a gift that wouldn't say "Merry Christmas, honey, I bought this as an afterthought at a head shop".

The Farm had a huge selection of edibles, a large portion of which were made by Sweet Grass Kitchen, another Boulder company. Most everything was some form of a cake, cookie or sweet, and because I was a first-time customer, I was given a free chocolate chip cookie to take home. Unlike at other dispensaries, most of the ganja here isn't on display. The books take up the space where gallon tubs of cannabis would sit in other dispensaries. Instead, just a few dozen jars were out to peruse.

The herb selection was sativa-heavy, with a dozen in-house strains and about eight strains from vendors. I opened up every jar of the herb Ms. Ugg Boots said was in-house, including Cheese, Blueberry, White Queen and Purple Satori. Everything looked decent, with no glaringly awful cuts on display -- but nothing looked mind-blowingly good, either. On the phone later, Cole said the house strains were all grown organic in soil.

Ugg Boots was friendly and answered my questions, but she otherwise spent more time talking with another budtender and a vendor who had walked in the store behind me. I made my picks and was handed a receipt and pointed over to a small window opposite the bud bar, where a woman sat with a gun safe and a shelf full of different sized jars filled with meds. All of the strains are pre-weighed into grams, eighths and quarters that are kept in a separate pharmacy room. I still fail to understand the benefit of that, but Cole says the pre-weighing helps keep the herb fresh and sanitary. "I did the little containers because I was a little sketched out by people putting their hands into our jars," Cole said. "Secondly, it was producing an enormous amount of shake because it was drying out. That was my main reason."

It's also a good way to stretch out herb and charge more per gram. For example, the $16-per-gram Blue Dream I purchased sold for $50 an eighth. Broken down, that's about $1.75 more per gram. Since everything is pre-weighed and splitting an eighth isn't really an option at the Farm, you have to pay more if you want to get just a few grams of variety. Cole said she has dropped prices in the last two weeks or so since my visit, though, capping grams at $15. With a 10 percent first-timer discount, I walked out paying roughly $64 for three grams and some oil.

I left, got in my car and started to head to Pearl Street to continue shopping. But the thought of dealing with the fleece-lined crowds of Boulder freaked me out, and I turned around to head back home to Denver. I still have yet to get any gifts purchased, but at least I've got herb to get me through the shopping when I actually get around to it.

Page down for reviews and photographs of the medical cannabis.

Sweet Grass Kitchen Chocolate Chip Cookie (free for first-timers) Not really much going on here that Nestle doesn't teach on the back of a bag of chocolate chips, aside from the green hue from the ganja butter. The cookie was soft and buttery, with a strong hashy flavor that mixed well with the chocolate. I was warned to only eat half of the cookie, so I ate the whole thing and had a relaxed, mellow buzz about me. It was strong enough at lunch to keep me from having the urge to smoke before dinner, but not so powerful as to put me down on the futon. Blue Dream Well-formed bud -- a good specimen not unlike the last one I saw. The smell out of the jar in the shop wasn't all that impressive, but the gram I took home had a pleasant fruity scent to it. Amber crystals from the naked eye with Broncos-orange hairs poking out from the light-green bud. The piece I took home was dried and cured well and gave off a light lavender aroma when I crumbled it in my hand. There was a fresh, grape-like taste to this strain in a cone, and despite the Farm's website description, which says this herb has intense body effects, I felt it mostly in my head. I left me focused on getting things done, and two hours of work seemed to blink by in ten minutes. Sour Diesel This cut wasn't as well-developed or cared for as other Diesel strains I've seen in recent weeks. The smell wasn't overpowering, by any stretch, though it did have the familiar Diesel funk to it. It had a strong, rubbery punch to the scent when broken up that got my entire office smelling like a bicycle shop, but it failed to live up to its odor, and the taste was more dull than I expected. Not bad, but not as much tangy sourness as I like from my chem varieties. The potency matched the look and flavor, and because of that, this particular cut of Diesel was good to puff mid-day for a buzz before eating -- and it didn't make me zone out on my food. Dream Diesel (Blue Dream x Sour Diesel) Since I had both of the parent plants of this cut, I figured: Why not grab the offspring? Darker color and thicker leaf structure than the Blue Dream, but with a similar dull lavender quality to the smell. I'm not a breeder, but it looks like this got a lot more body from the Diesel end of things without getting much of the other Diesel characteristics, like smell. It had a slight ChemDawg rubbery taste at the start of the hit, but it was overwhelmingly cotton-candy fruity to finish. Mildly strong, the strain produced a borderline psychedelic mental-stoney buzz that was good for anxiety and tension-releasing as well as giving me a tortilla-chip-destroying case of the munchies. "House" CO2 hash oil ($20/half gram). Couldn't pass up $20 for a half-gram of Co2-extracted oil. What I got was a tiny, dark-brown glass vial full of gooey, motor-oil colored extraction with the consistency of egg yolk. After icing down the oil to solidify it, I was able to goop up a large hit (the one in the picture) and put it on a titanium skillet plate, where it popped and sizzled and left a mist of sticky oil over my desk and bubbler because there was so much water left in the extraction. Otherwise, it had a light pine taste and was potent, though I spent much of my buzz cleaning my keyboard with alcohol wipes. Cole later told me that they just started doing CO2 oils and said the problem came from not drying out the herb well enough before running the extraction: "When it goes into the machine moist, the product is going to be moist."

William Breathes is the pot pen name of our medical marijuana dispensary reviewer. Read the William Breathes bio here and be sure to check out our archive of Mile Highs and Lows medical marijuana dispensary reviews.

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