Medical marijuana dispensary review: Medicinal Oasis in Denver

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Being in a landlocked state, anything here that is beach-themed automatically feels campy and corny. Tiki bars, snow-cone stands, Hawaiian shirts, windsurfing -- all of it.

So needless to say, the tropical-themed Medicinal Oasis, with its Jimmy Buffet/yacht club decor, was not winning style points with me from the get-go.

But as much as I hate to admit it, I'd probably sail those green seas again.

Medicinal Oasis

6359 E. Evans Ave. Denver, CO 80222 303-756-1494 medicinaloasis.com

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $20-45/eighth-ounce, $200/ounce. Other types of medicine: Hash, infused candies. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

This branch of the shop has only been open since February. The original location was down Evans, just east of Colorado, and that's the one that sticks out in my memory. Namely, the display-window setup with fake palm trees, beach balls and sun chairs. The new location isn't as bad, though it hasn't totally done away with the nautical flair.

Medicinal Oasis has a tiny blue lobby with a long couch taking up half the room. It felt like the cramped interior of a sailboat -- though I'm not sure if that was intentional or just a by-product of a stoned contractor misjudging waiting-room space during the build-out. In the corners of the room were tiny ship models, in case you didn't get that you're leaving Denver for a tropical oasis by the sign out front along strip-centric East Evans Avenue. Appropriately, the guy behind the glass window taking the usual info was a tall, blond twenty-something surfer-looking dude. I remember thinking, "I know the business is full of Californians, but this is pushing it too far."

And then I got to the back and discovered that the shop features about as normal and bland a bud room as you can imagine. Well, okay, not every bud bar is nearly twenty feet long and loaded with more than sixty sample jars filled with about a quarter-ounce each for you to peruse at your leisure. But thankfully, the nautical theme has shipped out.

Still, I admit I wouldn't have noticed much less than a boat hull jetting into the room after sniffing at the first jar of ripe Sour Diesel.It was a good way to start my three-hour ten-minute tour of what the shop had on deck.

There are two different tiers of herb: regular and connoisseur-grade. But within those tiers, the shop also divides up the harvest of each strain into higher-quality top buds ("only taken from the top six inches of the plant," according to my budtender) and lower-quality bottom buds. For the regular shelf, that means top-quality will run you about $35 an eighth for members, with bottom-shelf at $20 to $25 an eighth. Non-members pay about $3 more for an eighth of each.

I went through most of the strains, but the ones that really stood out were a truly ripe and funky Durban Poison, banana-peel Banana Kush coated in amber trichomes, golfball-sized nuggets of Deadhead OG, and an exemplary Mendo Purps that looked like tiny sand-covered spruce trees.

Continue for the rest of the review and photos. My guide was pretty stoked on the buds, and he kept pace with me on the other side of the counter, rattling off strain lineage and medicinal qualities on each. He also suggested a few, including a heavy indica dubbed "Pickle" and some dark, pungent Chocolope.

But the cone-shaped, ripe, fruity and earthy-smelling buds of the Whiteberry called out to me the most. It had a sweet, almost grapey sugariness to it, mixed with a rich coffee-bean scent that stuck with the buds even after four days in a not-so-airtight plastic bag. The flavor was exactly what you would expect from such a pungent odor and was mouthwateringly delicious on the first hit of a green bowl. It burned down to a clean ash and was a very soothing, potent herb to medicate with, giving a near-instant full-body slowdown. I opted for the top level for this batch, bringing home three huge buds that scoped clean and made the week much more enjoyable.

At the budtender's suggestion, I also tried some Acid (the marijuana strain, not the mind-altering psychedelic wonder chemical). The funky, rotting-grapefruit-peel smell was intriguing, and the budtender gave it high marks, so I brought a discount-level eighth home for $20. While the dozens of miniature popcorn buds I ended up with didn't have high bag appeal, they were nevertheless tiny rockets of THC that packed a buzz on par with chugging a couple of grande lattes and then running laps around your block until lightheaded. Appropriately, the Acid had an acrid, hazy flavor to match the funky citrus smell in a vape and a bubbler. It was a jolting way to start the day with a huge appetite for me, and just two or three hits kept me going until well after lunchtime.

While not all of the sixty strains sparked my interest or were really worthy of bringing home, most seemed to be well done. According to my budtender, the shop mostly grows using an ebb-and-flow hydroponic system, although a few plants are run in soil -- including what he claims is real-deal Colombian Gold and Panama Red. Too bad neither were in the shop during my visit.

Sorry, dabbers: The shop didn't have any butane wax. According to the dude, the owner "doesn't believe in it." There was some mixed bubble hash at $30 a gram, however. It was above-average, crumbly hash, but not tempting enough to want to try this week, especially after making the (right) decision to go top-tier on an eighth of the Whiteberry.

While finding some decent herb was a relief this week, it does pain me to make an exception to my "no beach shit" rule for Medicinal Oasis.

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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