Medical marijuana dispensary review: Medicinal Wellness Center in Mountain View

The name of Medicinal Wellness Center sounded so generic that after I noticed it the other day online, I couldn't recall if I had been there before, a long time ago, or hadn't been there at all.

Turns out I was right on both fronts, sort of.

Medicinal Wellness Center

5430 West 44th Avenue Mountain View, CO 80212 303-333-3338 MedicinalWellnessCenter.com

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Sunday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $10/gram $30/eighth-ounce, $200/ounce. Members receive 10 percent off purchase. Other types of medicine: BHO, CO2 oil, kief, hash, edibles, tinctures, lotions, drinks. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

What the generic name didn't tell me was that MWC was the sister store of Medicinal Oasis, a shop I visited back in May of last year that -- despite the nauseatingly Jimmy Buffet-esque nautical theme -- was stacked with strains worth bringing home. But while Medicinal Wellness Center's layout is almost an exact clone of that of Medicinal Oasis, my experiences at the two were wildly different.

One of the biggest differences is that Medicinal Wellness has gone dual-use. That alone was worth seeing, because while the bud I brought home was decent, the real highlight of my trip was watching two guys fresh off a plane from Illinois nervously approach the receptionist, hand over their IDs, then high-five each other as they were buzzed back to the recreational side to pay as much as $120 for an eighth of ganja before tax. The woman behind the window told me that they see tourists like that every day now, likely due to their location right off of I-70 between Harlan and Sheridan.

After watching them get buzzed back, I was sent on through to the medical side -- though prices for non-members aren't much different from those on the recreational side. I had to wait a while for the three patients ahead of me to finish up, but I took the time to meander around and get a look at the 35 or so strains on the shelf. These days, a selection of about two dozen strains is sufficient for most shops -- but Medicinal Oasis, apparently, is not most shops. Instead, there's is a grocery store's worth of cannabis strains in tall glass jars, all labeled with lengthy descriptions and colorful artwork. The bud bar is nearly identical to the one at Medicinal Oasis: long and custom-made. Also on hand was the signature joint rack featuring Mason jars filled with finger-length joints rolled from buds.

Concentrates were available, too, though everything was either CO2-extracted or icewater-extracted -- and still no butane or alcohol extractions (last time I asked, I was told the owner didn't "believe" in those types of hash extractions). The shop also carries some awesome, no-frills, blended icewater-extracted hash in several different micron sizes. I opted for the 70-micron blended and was glad for it. At $30 a gram, it's not inexpensive, especially compared to butane-extracted wax and oils selling for nearly as much elsewhere. But the crumbly quality and bubbly, melty consistency under a flame was worth the coin. Tiny screened bowls of the skunky, rich chocolate crumbles were brain-buzzingly strong, and capping an entire bowlful of herb was trance-inducing.

Medicinal Wellness also sells the Aspen vape, which is an absolute horrible name for a vape pen containing a brown, gooey liquid. Someone really dropped the ball on naming that one, unless scatological humor was the intent all along. If so, well played, I guess.

Continue for more photos and the rest of the review. If you really took your time, you'd be in here for an hour looking at all of the ganja-related offerings. Instead, I had it narrowed down to about ten strains' worth, getting a closer look at them by the time my budtender finished with the woman ahead of me. Each strain has two price tiers, and frankly, they make little sense and are each about 10 percent too high. The connoisseur grade sits on the top shelf and starts at $40 an eighth for members and $45 for non-members. The inappropriately named Top Shelf buds sit on the bottom shelf of the display case and sell for $33 an eighth for members and $38 for non-members. Several of the strains didn't look any different between the two tiers, and a few of the conniseur-level jars were down to unappealing shakey ends. I'd probably opt for the top shelf on 99 percent of what MWC offers. The best bet here is ounces, which sell for around $200 for non-members -- or else show up during the "happy hour" that runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every day. That'll get you $5-$7 off per eighth.

What I do remember from Medicinal Oasis is that all of the jars were filled with stinky buds with distinct smells and characteristics. That wasn't necessarily the case this time. MWC still had the Acid and Whiteberry strains I picked up last year, though the Acid buds didn't look much better than the shakey example I brought home last time. The Whiteberry was well grown and much chunkier this time around, though, with big, plump juicy buds floating around in the stock jar like green cotton balls.

Others didn't have much of a smell at all. I expected a lot from the White Rhino, but really just got a lightly fruity hay smell. Same with the Cherry-Lime Ricky and the Cherry Skunk. Others fell somewhere in the middle. The Golden Goat didn't look amazing but had a crazy-potent smell. Meanwhile, the Sweet Skunk looked phenomenal but smelled like a skunk in a hay bale.

The Pickle, though coated in trichomes and dried and cured well, didn't really let off anything but a dried-cut-lawn scent, like the few grams of cheap Mexican buds I picked up last time I was in Playa del Carmen. I don't really get "pickle" from it, but whatever.

Broken up, though, a tart, potent, piney-earthy scent poked through, and the buds mystically turned into something much, much better than what I thought I had brought home. Sadly, it was somewhat overpowered by a harsh fertilizer smell that should have been flushed out in the last few weeks of the plant's life. The buds did burn somewhat roughly, though with the unexpected fullness of (for lack of a better descriptor) pickled Flo. It was like someone took the sweetness of Flo and soaked it in vinegar. Incidentally, smoking it was like putting my brain in vinegar for a few hours. Very sedating mentally and physically, and it was all I could do to keep from falling into a narcoleptic nod after the first few bowls until I got used to the effects. I also think I had back pain before smoking it, but can't remember -- both things I can attribute to the buds. It would be a great strain to seek out if the staff flushed out the Home Depot plant-section smell next harvest.

The Pineapple Chunk I brought home was noticeably more appealing smell-wise out of the jar in the shop, with an old-school Creamsicle sweetness that filled my entire nasal cavity with an ambiguous citrus odor. The pineapple came out in the smell of buds crushed up for a bowl, and, lightly in the thick, hashy smoke. A much more tolerable indica-labeled strain, in my opinion, the Pineapple Chunk laid the smack down on neck and head tension without putting me out for the count as well. It didn't do much for my stomach pain in the morning, however. I don't know if I would seek it out again, but it was worth trying once.

That is, if I can even remember the name of the shop to get over there.

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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