Medical marijuana dispensary review: Lotus Medical in Denver

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It has been more than three years since we were last at Lotus Medical, in the Elephant Corral building on the western edge of downtown Denver.

But unlike a lot of shops that have either changed hands or simply changed decor over the past few years, it seems that Lotus had things down early on and hasn't had to switch around much, aside from dropping the prices and improving the quality of herb on the shelves (even if it isn't from the center's garden).

Lotus Medical

1444 Wazee Street, Suite 115 Denver, CO 80202 720-974-3109 DenverLotusMedical.com

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, noon to 5 p.m. weekends. Raw marijuana price range: $15/gram $40/eighth-ounce, $250/ounce. Members receive about 25 percent off non-member prices. Other types of medicine: Shatter, wax. Edible companies offered: Cheeba Chew, Dabba, EdiPure, Colorado Cannabis Co., Incredibles, Beyond Mars, Green Hornet, Canna Punch, Keef Kola, Dixie. Online menu? Yes. https://weedmaps.com/dispensaries/colorado/denver-central/denver-lotus-medical Handicap-accessible? Yes.

The shop still feels like an upscale oasis geared more toward the forty-plus crowd, with a setup not unlike the rec room of a Cherry Hills mansion -- lots of overstuffed couches and chairs to recline on while catching up on SportsCenter on the high-def flat-screen hung on the exposed brick walls. There are books on cannabis as well as other topics (like the history of baseball in Denver) on the bookshelves. But the entire vibe feels like someone had a decorator from American Furniture Warehouse come over and put on the finishing touches, like the beige lampshades and the artistic photographs of mountains and water that line the walls.

In short: this isn't the type of fancy-ass place that most of you oil-heads and $125/ounce people visit on the regular. Lotus is offering a lifestyle here, can't you see? Only there's not much of a lifestyle to be had. Back in 2009, when the shop first opened, it could be operated as a medical cannabis lounge that allowed cannabis consumption on site. But that isn't the case anymore, and what was once geared to be a hangout now seems like a lot of excessive decoration for people who just walk in, buy their meds and leave.

But then, a little bit of upscale is what some patients are looking for. There's nothing wrong with that -- and they'll find it at Lotus. From what I could see, the shop still has a massage room, as well as a chair in the main lobby used for occasional back massages for waiting patients. To be fair, those types of dispensary offerings never were all that popular for any MMC, and I wouldn't doubt if it was kept up mostly for show at this point.

The bud bar remains in the rear of the shop, with the same simple bud display in the same glass countertops and the same zen-like emptiness to the gray walls compared with the rest of the homey/cozy shop. A fridge in one corner holds the drinks and cold edibles from Colorado Cannabis Company as well as Lotus's offering of shatter oil. The thick, tarry sap was dark, but thinned and scoped; it had a clear, oily consistency, with just a few chunks holding minuscule bubbles of trapped air inside (which some people say contains increased levels of solvent gas).

All of the flavors had pretty much been purged out at this point, and the hash wasn't even strain-specific to begin with, so there wasn't much to report by way of flavor other than a generic, burning THC hashiness. But it worked wonders potency-wise, and I wouldn't be surprised if it had noticeably high percentages of CBD, considering how much it eased the burning pain I get in my chest and stomach muscles after the major stomach flareup I had earlier this week. (It put me in the emergency room -- again.) Living with pain is no fun, but thankfully, medicine like this can make things tolerable while giving you a nice "fuck it all" buzz for about an hour or so the process.

There was also some yellow wax in small pre-packaged containers in the fridge, but the oil was the right way to go, even at $35 a gram.

But the oil was the only thing in the shop that was actually from the Lotus garden. According to my budtender, the shop is in the process of securing a new grow facility and hasn't been able to put out product from the center's own garden over the past few weeks because of that. So everything on the shelves during my visit (and likely yours, if you go in the next month or so) was purchased from outside sources.

Continue for the rest of the review, including more photos. That's not to say the herb quality was subpar. In fact, it was more impressive than I remember it being in 2010, and my budtender said it was on par with what the shop normally would stock. I hope so, as dispensaries should be able to grow better cannabis than the 30 percent they can purchase from other sources to add to their inventory. Still, everything was run at full price, from what I could tell. For members, that isn't so bad, as you're only paying $30 an eighth and around $200 an ounce. In contrast, non-members are charged $40 an eighth and $250 an ounce for another shop's fluffy, ripe Fucking Incredible or spicy New York City Diesel. Either way, I enjoyed the Flo I brought home, regardless of who grew it. It had that uniquely light, soil-like lavender creaminess to its smell that a good Flo should have, and the ripe buds had little hints of purple here and there scattered through the light-green calyxes. Ground up and vaped in small amounts, it had an incredibly full flavor; I tend to prefer that method for this strain rather than smoking it out of a pipe. This ended up being a good one for me post-hospital due to the physical and mental calming it provides. At member prices, Lotus is doing well to keep people stocked with meds like this for a value while the new space gets up and running.

The Bruce Banner in stock was a phenomenally chunky specimen, with pod-like calyxes fighting it out for space. It had a heavy dusting of dark amber trichomes as well. But the looks couldn't overcome the lack of a good curing job, and the buds lacked the menthol-like freshness to the smell and flavor that Banner gives off when done really, really well. It was nevertheless potent, with those amber trichomes melting into my brain stem quickly. It eased away any stress and pain and helped to curb nausea after just a bowl. Again, at member pricing, this wasn't too shabby a purchase. But paying the non-member, $40-plus-tax would be stretching it.

I doubt it will be another three years before I go back to Lotus, if only for more of the high-potency shatter oil. But I'm also curious to see what's on the shelves once harvest time rolls around.

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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