Medical marijuana dispensary review: Lincoln Herbal in Denver

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This dispensary has closed.

If there were ever businesses open to the public even though the public clearly didn't want them to be, they'd have to be the few remaining Blockbuster Video stores that have limped along through the past five or six years. With a selection of ten DVDs from the 1990s and a three-year-old expired pack of tropical-fruit Skittles, such shops no doubt have even employees questioning their continued existence.

I hadn't thought of Blockbusters in years until I walked into Lincoln Herbal the other day.

Lincoln Herbal

424 Lincoln St. Denver, CO 80203 303-955-0701 Facebook.com/Lincolnherbal

Hours: 10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $20-30/eighth-ounce, $200/ounce. Members receive extra discounts Other types of medicine: edibles, CO2-extracted oil Online menu? No. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

Inside, Lincoln Herbal has an industrial/modern/stoner vibe, with purposefully unfinished particle-wood walls set up between the comfortable, pot-scented waiting room and the back of the surprisingly roomy building. A loud, lengthy buzzer on the door announced my entrance, and after a few seconds, my budtender could be seen bopping up through the security window in the wall divider. It's a great space, featuring plenty of room for merchandise or even just more lounging. But most of one half of the room seems to be designated as storage.

After filling out some paperwork, my budtender buzzed me through the security door and led me back to the bud bar. More of the same back there: unfinished wooden walls, exposed HVAC and painted brick. Like a lot of things in the shop, it works in theory and probably looked pretty cool when it was fresh and new -- but with some aging and loads of pot stickers and pot posters everywhere, it felt makeshift, like a pop-up clothing or sneaker store on Broadway.

Edibles were kept in one half of the glass display case with the usual suckers and candies, while the other case was filled with cheap glass pipes and portable hash-oil vaporizer pens from Cloud and Atmos.

What few strains the center had on hand were kept on a wooden shelf mounted on the wall behind a custom glass-and-particle-wood countertop. From the looks of the six or seven stock jars, I could tell I probably wasn't going to leave satisfied. It's like the people at the shop stopped caring, or at least trying to supply buds.

I asked the budtender when he thought another harvest would be in to replenish, but he said he didn't know. The owners wholesale most of the herb to dispensaries and "patients with increased plant counts," and the shelves have stayed disappointingly bare for walk-in customers lately, he said.

I eyed the best-looking buds, but only made it through five, including a dull Blue Dream and an embarrassing gram of stringy Master Kush, before I decided to cut my losses and stop searching for something I wasn't going to find.

Page down for the rest of the review and photos. The jar of Romulan was by far the most appealing, with spear-like buds coated in fuzzy orange pistils and a dusting of shiny, silver trichomes. The herb also had a distinct Romulan strawberry/Creamsicle haziness to the smell. I dig this strain for the mellowing effects it can have, especially at the end of a stressful day. And in truth, this wasn't a bad batch. Just not that great. At $25 member pricing, there's actually not much to complain about. But this was as good as it got during my visit.

The wispy, underdeveloped and early harvested Jack Frost I brought home, sporting still-white hairs, was pretty representative of the overall supply during my visit. The buds had the flavor of wallpaper in a joint and tasted like burnt popcorn out of a vaporizer. The boring buds had a dull buzz that required maintenance hits within a half-hour to keep things going. I grew better pot than this in high school under a 150-watt work lamp, and even then I would have been too embarrassed to sell it to anyone.

The shop is probably best known for its pot cigars, according to my budtender, a modern, human equivalent of Norville "Shaggy" Rogers. The tiny, green cigar-looking joints (dubbed "magars") come in $16 half-eighth, $30 eighth and $50 quarter sizes. The concept is great, and I think we've all had the marijuana cigar fantasy at least once in our lives. The cigar is often seen as the premier way to enjoy fine tobacco, so why not ganja?

But what sounds phenomenal in theory doesn't work out well in practice -- mostly because this isn't a real cigar. It's a regular, paper-wrapped joint rolled into a nice circular shape that is then double-wrapped in a fan leaf. You know, the fat leaves with nearly no THC that most growers throw out with the trash? And the herb inside wasn't any better than you'd find in any random pre-rolled joint from another dispensary. I cracked open half of mine and found inch-long stems inside.

It didn't taste any better than a random pre-rolled, either, and I stubbed the thing out about halfway through in order to light up a bowl of truly flavorful Ghost OG from a friend to get the charcoal taste out of my mouth. I'm sure these are great for some people (rappers, generation X-ers with too much money on their hands), but I think most cannabis users would get more for their money buying a bag of well-grown herb and rolling it up themselves. If you really want the flavor of the Magar, load an unrolled RAW rolling paper and fan leaf into your bowl and light it up.

For now, it doesn't seem like any of the quality and quantity issues at Lincoln Herbal are going to change. Even my budtender seemed resigned to the fact that his bud bar would remain half-stocked, playing second fiddle to bulk purchases and wholesales while he watched DVDs on the TV above the bud bar.

Hopefully he's got Netflix, though. There aren't any more Blockbusters open for miles.

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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