Medical marijuana dispensary review: Metropolis Medical in Denver

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When medical pot shops first started popping up in Colorado four years ago, most tried hard to differentiate themselves from their competition, whether it was through a crafty spin on cannabis-related words, a dispensary with a theme or even just a personal touch to the decor.

Conversely, Metropolis Medical -- open for about six months, according to my budtender -- is about as generic as it gets.

Metropolis Medical

4600 Ironton Street Denver, CO 80239 303-373-9333 MetropolisMMC.com

Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $9-$10/gram $25-$30/eighth-ounce, $135-165/ounce. Other types of medicine: BHO, shatter, hash, edibles. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

Metropolis Medical looked more like a plumbing outlet than an MMC the day I stopped by, with pallets stacked up in the snow along the chain-link fence surrounding the parking lot and a clean white commode sitting dead center in the middle of it. A tattered string of multi-colored parking flags rings the perimeter, though the Metropolis Medical sign isn't hard to miss even from the street. What was also unavoidable was a sign hanging on the fence for CCF, a dispensary we visited in March of 2012 -- after which we walked out nonplussed.

Not quite sure what shop I was visiting, I parked and made my way into the lobby and handed over my red card and ID to the guy behind the counter. He buzzed me through the red security door into a patient lounge littered with boxes on the floor and a counter also occupied by someone's half-eaten lunch. It's clean otherwise. That is, the brand-new leather couch, coffee tables and flat-screen television weren't scuffed up and battered like used furniture. Framed close-up photos of beautiful buds were hung on the walls, reminding you of exactly what the shop is selling. Nothing exciting. Just chairs, weed pictures and a few touches of green paint here and there. It could be any dispensary.

The one thing that does stand out is the overwhelming grow-room fertilizer stink permeating the entire office. It was like being trapped in a plant nursery with no ventilation, and I have no idea how the two guys working there can stand it for more than thirty minutes at a time.

After a few minutes of wait time, I was called back to the bud bar, which (like the waiting room) could double as the set for a series of stock dispensary photos. Typical black wood-and-glass countertop set up with a price board on the wall behind the budtenders and rows of ganja in jars on the shelves below. Another display counter to the left held all of the shop's hash and concentrates. Bud is broken down into two price tiers, with a green label distinguishing the cheaper herb from the slightly more expensive red-labeled strains.

I didn't really see a difference in quality between the two levels, though. Most of the bud fell squarely into the mid-grade-generic-warehouse-weed category, regardless of the price. My budtender, a tall, nice guy, was trying to sell me on strains like the Banana Kush and Larry OG, but neither of the usually uber-stinky and distinct-smelling strains tickled my nose enough to be worth taking home. Both fell short and came across as somewhat bland, despite having a decently chunky, crystallized appearance. Same for the Blue Dream, which was missing the heavy lavender undertones that make that strain such a mellowing, wonderful treat. Continue for the rest of the review and photos. The Colombian Gold looked like a winner from outside the jar, and even the partly filled stock jar had a spicy, hashy finish to it. But the buds I brought home had the smell and flavor of old-school beasters: a dried-hay, nondescript hashiness that says, "I'm weed, just nothing special." The buzz was very speedy as promised, however, and I was able to go without coffee yesterday morning after a couple bowls of this in my pipe. But overall, it didn't seem to be worth the top-shelf designation. Of course, $30 is not an outrageous price to begin with, so I don't have much room to complain.

The Mr. Pink, though, stood out above the other strains, thanks to a purple-pink hue to the buds and a cotton-candy sweetness to the smell and taste. As my budtender put it: "If pink had a smell, that would be it." Very chunky amid solid trichome coverage, the buds broke up with a stickiness and looked clean and well-ripened under a scope. Potency wasn't super-high, but it did provide a nice, uplifting sativa buzz for an hour and a half or so. On top of that, I got an appetite uplift from it for up to three hours. My budtender said the Mr. Pink was a new strain that came with Metropolis's new master grower, and I hope the rest of the shop's strains fall in line with the quality of this one, as it's the only thing that really stood out about the dispensary.

Metropolis Medical also had a good range of concentrates, with amber shatter oil in a bunch of strain-specific offerings. I almost took home a gram of the Flo shatter until I noticed the grams of crumbly bubble hash off to the left of the hash shelf. The icewater-extracted hash had a nice consistency to it, and I was able to pair up a gram of the Mr. Pink hash with my selection of Mr. Pink flowers. Unfortunately, the hash was dried out to a crisp, and instead of melting down like I expected, it charcoaled up and burned like chunks of aged kief. The dryness also hurt the flavor, which didn't come through at all compared to the Juicy Fruit-ness of the Mr. Pink flowers. At $25 a gram, it was about $5 too much, but I have to give Metropolis Medical credit for still carrying bubble hash in these times of butane-extracted madness.

First-time patients get $10 off their first purchase over $25, bringing my total for a gram of concentrates and an eighth of herb to a reasonable $50 range. That's certainly one thing the shop has going for it: low prices. Ounces start at $135, and there was even shake selling for $90 an ounce.

But discount pricing (and one well-grown strain) isn't going to keep people coming through the doors forever. As we said when we reviewed CCF on Colfax, there's a lot of potential here; the shop just needs to maximize it.

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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