Medical marijuana dispensary review: Metro Cannabis on Colfax

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Metro Cannabis isn't really known for much. It is generally seen by patients as a warehouse shop with warehouse-quality buds and nothing to really offer someone who wants true variety and well-grown herb. It's a low-rent shop set up along a rough stretch of Colfax that relies on walk-in traffic from the neighborhood.

All of that may be true, but none of it seems to matter. People were lined up inside to buy what Metro Cannabis had to sell anyway.

Metro Cannabis

8151 East Colfax Avenue Denver, CO 80220 720-771-9866 MetroCannabis.org

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $9-11/gram $25-$35/eighth-ounce, $200-$225/ounce. Non-members pay about 10-15 percent more. Other types of medicine: BHO, CO2 oil, kief, hash, edibles, tinctures, lotions, drinks. Online menu? Yes. Recreational sales? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

The shop is dual-use and the bud bars aren't separated, which means patients under 21 are going to have to go elsewhere. But that doesn't seem to be affecting business.

The day I was in the shop, it was loaded. There was an older man dressed way too fancy for the middle of a hot summer's day, a scruffy kid with a red-and-white flat-brimmed hat in the waiting room with me, and two other guys who showed up as I was leaving. My favorite people-watching involved three middle-aged ladies from Illinois (my second run-in with Prairie Staters in as many weeks), who were shopping across the tiny room from me -- and I could hear their squawks and giggles every time the budtender pulled out a new jar for them to sniff. Recreational prices are notably higher here, as well, with eighth prices as much as $20 more than on the medical side of things -- and that's not including state tax. I think I overheard one of the woman forking over $160-plus for her state-limited quarter-ounce of bud and maybe two edibles. I'd have paid about half that amount as a medical patient for the same herb.

That is, if there had been anything worth grabbing in a quarter-ounce quantity. Instead, the buds I saw were all dull, shwappy examples, with one or two take-homes out of about two dozen. Some jars were full of wispy little pieces of buds, others with buds undergrown and slightly smelling of mildew, like the Quantum Kush. Others, such as the Sour Diesel, missed the mark entirely and looked like they were pulled weeks too early.

Continue for the rest of the review and photos of the buds. My budtender, a friendly older dude with a thick, generically foreign accent, was nice -- or at least tried hard to play that part. But every time he pulled up a new jar for me to examine, he gave me a look like, "Let's move this along." I got the impression that most people on the medical side come in, point at a strain and buy it without much discussion or consideration. On the recreational side, the budtender was hamming it up for the ladies from Illinois, who were loving every minute of their first legal pot experience and were so blown away by each jar that they would then spend two minutes discussing it. Strains like the not-so-purple Purple Maui were pot heaven to them, mediocre medical to me.

I ended up with the two strains that, in comparison with everything else, were worth bringing home. The Cherry Durban Poison was among the "top shelf" buds, which included offerings like Green Crack and Grape Louie -- neither of which offered all that much more quality than strains on the bottom shelf. Maybe a few more buds in the jars and less shake, but as you can see from the photos, not too many more buds.

The CDP jar in the shop had a sweet cherry finish to an otherwise bland base smell, but I figured that broken up, the buds would let out a few more scents and subtleties. That wasn't the case, though: They took on a more generic, fruity hydro stink, but absolutely no Durban whatsoever. Same went for the flavor, which was smooth and borderline sweet instead of having any spice to it. The buzz from the buds was pure sativa shock, though. And admittedly, they were more potent than I guessed them to be. A small bowl did me well for the mornings to ease upper-GI issues and give me the push to eat breakfast. But it wasn't worth the upper-end pricing. In fact, none of it was. There is no upper tier at Metro Cannabis, really. Just more expensive buds ($35 for members and more for non-members).

The Kosher Kush was the only truly odorous Kush phenotype on display, and that probably has more to do with the disgustingly stanky genetics than the growing, based on everything else I saw. The rubbery, lemony-tart finish to the smell made it an instant standout either way, and I wasn't all that disappointed with the buds. They burned with a slight crackle but held their flavor decently and left me with a goggle-eyed buzz. Yes, the half-bag of shake and larf was disappointing. But at $30 an eighth and way out on the far end of town near the medical-cannabis wasteland of Aurora, it is about as good as you're going to get.

I realized after I left that I had visited a Metro Cannabis location in 2010, though I'm not even sure if the two shops are related at this point. It doesn't matter. A century's worth of rules and regulation have passed in the four years since. At the time, it was still quasi-legal to sell Mexican brick weed -- and they did. But that was then and this was now. No brick weed, but then again, nothing I'll remember. Or at least not nearly as much as the three clueless tourists from Illinois.

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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