The Cheech and Chong stickers on the windows of the former head shop next door are actually the most pot-related thing about the place. Otherwise, the simple, dark-green "MILE HIGH DISPENSARY" sign with two green crosses is about as low-key as dispensaries get these days.
Of course, at this point, everyone in Colorado knows what discreetly named places with green crosses on their signs really are.
1350 South Sheridan Boulevard Lakewood, CO 80232 303-934-6337
Hours: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. Raw marijuana price range: $7/gram $25-$35/eighth-ounce, $140-$160/ounce. Non-members pay about 10 percent more per purchase. Other types of medicine: Wax, shatter, edibles. Online menu? No. Handicap-accessible? Yes. Recreational sales? No.
Inside, the waiting room was clean and empty. Except for the inlaid-tile marijuana leaf in the floor, the shop has a generic casual-commercial feel -- like a real estate agency, a dentist office or an acupuncture clinic. The Grateful Dead piped out from a back room. My budtender was running the shop that day and was in the back, so I waited around for a minute watching a muted rerun of Bewitched on the flat screen before he returned, said hello and asked for my card and ID.
Mile High Dispensary's space is tiny, and the bud bar itself is actually a small nook in the back of the lobby. The setup is slightly antiquated, with the patient sitting area directly in front of a glassed-off budtender room, like the visiting area in jail (albeit much, much cleaner and far less institutional-feeling). A small countertop rack with fist-sized glass sample jars sits on the other side of the glass, and patients have to ask to have each jar passed through a small cutout at the bottom of the partition window. It's a secure setup, but since the budtender kept the door between the two areas wide open, it negated the only purpose and wound up feeling cumbersome instead.
The bud on display wasn't anything particularly exciting. Strains were mostly average dispensary offerings like Golden Goat, Bubba Kush and a purple strain here and there for good measure. Everything seemed to be grown well enough, and I didn't see any schwappy shake jars or anything like that. Still, every single jar I popped open (with the exception of the Golden Goat) smelled nearly identical, lacking strain-distinct odors. Waxes and shatters were on sale for $30 and $40 a gram, all produced by either Love's Kitchen or Mahatma. I mostly pass on waxes these days, as the general quality around town is never all that great, and I can't escape the idea of coating my lungs in high levels of vaporized plant wax. De-waxed oils (shatter) are more desirable, and the Mahatma line that Mile High Dispensary had in stock certainly would have sufficed. But I don't really need the extra strength of concentrates right now and have backed off after a few weeks of using them for stomach nastiness so that my tolerance levels would go back to normal.
My budtender was a really friendly guy who looked to be in his mid-twenties, though he didn't have much to offer on the strains other than their price and if they leaned more toward indica or sativa. For the most part, he just let me point at jars and make up my mind on my own. Which was easy to do, considering the mid-level quality of most of the buds on the shelf. Nothing was offensive or even poorly grown, but most flowers had the stereotypically lackluster look and smell of commercially produced weed done with maximum yields and quick turnaround in mind. Continue for the rest of the review and photos. The crystalline, dense chunks of Alien OG, a strain with a pretty stinky funk when grown right, had absolutely none of the terpene-rich fuel notes it should. Same goes for the Flo, a strain that is pretty uniquely recognizable by the light, eucalyptus/lavender/soil odor. Unfortunately, this batch didn't hit that at all, despite its thumb-sized, neon-green buds. All of the buds fell in the $28/eighth-ounce price range with the lone exception of "Daywrecker," which sold at $35 an eighth. I don't know the strain well, but it looked burned thanks to overly reddish-brown coloring and a smell strangely like crushed black pepper and wet sand.
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A few strains managed to stand out from the group. While it's not the prettiest or most potent specimen I've ever brought home, the Golden Goat did have a potent baby-powder/spiced-rum odor that came through enjoyably in the flavor of small bowl packs and vaporizer loads. I found myself smoking a bowl or two more than I thought I would need to get a lasting, effective dose, but it helped manage stomach issues this week.
The 'Urple was the other strain to catch my eye -- or nose, as it were. It was subtle, but the grape-juice odors under the skunky smell were soothing enough on their own, and I figured the buzz wouldn't be much different. The pebble-sized buds burned down a little on the harsh side, with some crackles and pops when lit, and the flavor wasn't all that pronounced, but it worked well as a stress-reducer. Would I go back for another eighth? Probably not. But at $28 an eighth, I don't feel like I wasted my visit this time, either.
That's not to say I'd make the trip again anytime soon. Though the shop itself is nice and could turn into a solid place, the buds need more love to get me over to Lakewood again.