Medical marijuana dispensary review: Kindman in Denver has the kind, man

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Kindman has rebranded as the Grass Station.

Kindman is down the street from the Regency dorms, which for some reason I will always remember as the crack-palace hotel it was before it was converted to student housing a few years ago. With the hotel's 180-degree turnaround, the area doesn't seem as skeevy anymore. Industrial, sure. But it's nice to park and not worry about your car being broken into by a meth head.

Kindman 4125 Elati Street Denver, C0 80216 303-546-3626 MyKindman.com Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $8/gram $20-$40/eighth-ounce, $125-$240/ounce. Members receive 10 percent off purchase. Other types of medicine: Edibles. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

I didn't really know what to expect going into Kindman. I hadn't heard much about it online other than that the shop had cheap bud prices; I figured it would be just another discount center. Pulling up and seeing the place didn't help that impression, either. The dispensary is in a concrete, pre-fab structure painted gray, not unlike the other warehouse businesses around it. The only thing setting Kindman apart is that it has more cars coming and going from the parking lot instead of big-rig trucks.

The drab, institutional-feeling waiting room didn't help. The linoleum-tile floors echo your every shuffle and sound off the empty white walls and pockmarked acoustic ceiling tiles. It's industrial in the authentic way, not in the "let's expose some brick and HVAC work like a New York City loft" industrial way. So far, the place reminded me of those ghetto locations back in 2009 that were basically just a desk and some dude selling powdery mildew-infested bullshit. I was kicking myself and debated turning the four-page intake form back over blank and asking for my ID and red card back.

But something kept me there: It's a tossup as to whether it was the skunky smell or the fact that I didn't have time to go anywhere else this week. Either way, I sat around in the county-jail-waiting-room-like entryway until the extremely bubbly and friendly woman behind the tinted glass security window buzzed the door open and told me to go on back.

After the bleakness of the waiting room and my lingering impression of the area itself, the inside of Kindman felt like walking into Oz: green walls, bright lights and a table full of herb to check out. No decorations on the wall other than a chalk price board. The bud bars are two clean, sleek countertops jutting into the room from the walls about two-thirds of the way back. Buds can be found in display jars, while the stock is kept behind the bar in another room connected by a pass-through. It's like the pharmacy window at a hospital, or the serving window of a restaurant.

The few edibles in the shop are in a small fridge to the left, and a black wood-and-glass display case is set up with a few glass pipes, papers and blunt wraps. No hash, just bud -- which I quickly discovered was way better than I thought it would be.

My budtender, a small, dark-haired girl with a lip ring, was sitting at the lower counter on the right. So I snagged the open seat in front of her and the buds and started popping the little tin tops for better looks. Almost everything was impressive, even the lowest-tier strains like the fluffy Purple Cotton and the eye-catching Spirit of '76. Also impressive were the dense, chocolatey Bicenntennial, the spicy Durban Poison, the buttery Trainwreck and a Green Crack that almost came home with me. My ear-to-ear smile probably gave my excitement away as I geeked out on their herb for about five minutes.

Page down for the rest of the review and photos. As I browsed, my budtender rattled off strain mixes like it was her job (which is good, because it is her job). Everything is grown in a coco/soil mix, she noted. Strains are broken into three price tiers, with the $20 eighth buds closest to the customer, $25 eighths in the middle, and two or three $40 eighths along the back row. It's convenient, but I couldn't understand why the three top-tier strains were selling for nearly twice as much as the others. The solid Chem Valley Kush wasn't any more impressive than the crystal-coated Banana Kush or the stinky FU Cali, both of which sell for $25 an eighth and $180 an ounce.

The Sour D-like FU Cali was one of the first jars I opened, and I immediately set it aside to come home with me. It had a beautiful foxtailed Sour Diesel-like bud structure with chunky calyxes coated in amber trichomes. Most impressive was the sweet earthiness/fuel-like smell that instantly filled the room when I popped the top at home. The rubbery, tart taste was equally strong, which always makes medicating that much nicer. Medically, this indica-leaning strain was good for indigestion and morning cramps, but without a huge appetite boost.

Like the Chem Valley Kush, the top-shelf Dakini Kush didn't do much when compared to other, lower-priced buds, like the sugary Super Lemon Haze and the ripe, sweet Bubba Kush. Also really impressive was the somewhat rare Spirit of '76. The popcorn-sized buds in the sample jar all had a hint of purple under the slathering of sandy-colored crystals. In the shop, I got a strange, fruit-punchy Bubba Kush smell, but at home it had more of a grapey-lavender finish. Smoked, the potent little buds had a sweet, earthy taste and were great for mellowing out after a stressful day and easing anxiety. I also was struck with a mean case of the munchies soon after puffing a bowl, even if I had just finished a meal. At $25 an eighth, it was a perfect purchase this week.

The shop doesn't split eighths, but first-time patients get a discounted second eighth for $5. Grams sell for $8 and ounces are capped at $260 for the top-shelf strains, but everything else sells for a more normal $125-$180 an ounce. After about ten minutes, I made my picks, which a woman behind the pass-through then weighed out and packaged into three-inch round tins. Like a strange weed bank, your cash goes into a bank drawer in the wall behind the other bud bar, and about a minute later, your change pops back out. Maybe the neighborhood hasn't changed that much.

Read more reviews from William Breathes, Westword's medical marijuana dispensary critic and editor of TokeoftheTown.com, 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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