Medical marijuana dispensary review: Mile High Green Cross in Denver

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I could probably hit the Mile High Green Cross sign from the front door of Westword's 10th and Broadway offices using a slingshot.

I point that out because, despite being the closest medical marijuana dispensary to my desk, I've only been there a handful of times.

But a fellow Westword medical marijuana patient has been talking the place up over the last few months, and the buds he's shown me have been on my mind lately.

Mile High Green Cross 852 Broadway Denver, CO 80204 (303) 861-4252 MileHighGreenCross.com

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $11-13/gram $32-$38/eighth-ounce, $215-$270/ounce. Patients receive discounts and specials. Other types of medicine: BHO, hash, edibles, tinctures, lotions, drinks. Online menu? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.

Mile High Green Cross has really come into its own in the two and a half years since I first visited the dispensary. The biggest change was taking over the space downstairs from its original location, in an old three-story walkup on Broadway, just a few months after my April 2011 visit. The center is wide open now, with exposed brick walls and high ceilings that give the lobby an echoing, cavernous feel.

For patients in a hurry, the shop has set up a secured pass-through in the security window to the receptionist area. It's basically a thick, Plexiglas box with two doors that can only open one at a time. If you know what you want, you can walk up and order it, drop your cash and be on your way.

I was the only patient in when I stopped by, so I didn't get much time to hang out in the lobby before the guy behind the two-inch safety glass checked over my information and buzzed me through one of the two heavy security doors to the patients-only area of the shop.

The exposed brick continues to the back, where long wood-and-glass cases have been set up in an L-shape separating budtenders from patients. The room was primarily lit by the east-facing windows, giving it a much more indirect glow in the afternoon than the bright, west-facing front lobby. It's not too dark, but some more light over the bud wouldn't hurt.

Everything else about the shop is pretty straightforward. Top-tier bud is kept in sealed jars stacked on a tiered shelf over the glass counter. Lower-tier buds are kept on the bottom shelf of the display cabinet, and mid-tier are kept in the middle. Prices for the tiers are written out on small white displays standing up on the bar. Simple. Easy. My budtender, a misguided Kansas City Chiefs fan his mid- to late twenties, gave me a quick rundown of the setup and let me go at it.

I stuck mostly to the top tier, as it was hard to stray from the quality of buds like the Cindy 99, with a pungency that kicked your nose square in the middle and left a lingering sting, or the Skunkberry, featuring chunky, fluffy buds that nailed the Pepe Le Pew-rolling-in-blueberries funk. I was also impressed by the jar of ripe, full Durban flowers and the face-enveloping, rubbery turpentine odor that came from the Holy Grail Kush. While not everything was hippie-basement quality, it's not hard to see why the shop wins awards for the high-level cannabis produced there -- including several Denver High Times Cannabis Cup nods over the past few years.

Continue for more cannabis reviews and photos. But what really stole the show for me this week were the tiny, arrowhead-shaped flowers of Silver Chem from the $38/eighth "connoisseur" top shelf. The sight of ample amber crystals coating them, mixed with the rotten-orange-peel-haze smell nearly got me high right there in the shop. I'm not kidding when I say the smell alone made me hungry. At home, the dry little buds burned to a nice white ash and picked me up like a shot of B12 in an espresso mixed with Jolt cola. Racing sativas like this are perfect for my appetite issues as well as generally making me a much more agreeable individual as a whole. It's hard to be in a bad mood with this much THC in your system.

I also wanted to bring home something heavier, more along the lines of a sedative Kush, and had a hard time deciding between the Holy Grail and the Fire OG. But then my budtender started uncapping jars stuffed with different Kandy Kush phenotypes, each unique and different from the others. One had the chunky pine-cone shape of OG but a distinct Trainwreck smell. Another flipped that around, with buttery, skinny buds that packed an earthy, OG funk. A third seemed to be more OG-dominant, and the one I brought home seemed to be the exact fifty-fifty balance of the two hybrid strains that created this uber-hybrid.

The smell of the Kandy Kush #4 at times was spot-on OG Kush. But other times, it had the buttery, hashy odor of Trainwreck. Breaking up the buds didn't make them lean one way or the other, either. Whatever the bud felt like smelling like at that moment, it was going to smell like it. As for the effects, though, the #4 hit hard like Trainwreck, with an ADD-like buzz that kept climbing higher, due, no doubt, to the potency kick from the OG Kush. I really enjoyed this flower -- just not when I had anything of importance to take care of. It worked great for pain but left me foggy, with a strong desire for a comfortable couch and a DVR full of Top Gear reruns.

By the time I was about halfway through, another patient came in and started shopping alongside me. He wasn't pushy, but I felt a little crowded in and didn't really have a chance to move him out of the way to check out the lower-tier buds as much as I wanted. But based on the glowing green marbles of Bruce Banner and nose-tickling Super Sour Haze I did manage to get a closer look at, Mile High Green Cross is also worth stopping by if you're on a tighter budget.

What the shop didn't have was concentrates. The entire glass cabinet that made up the small part of the "L" shape sat lit up but empty. That seems to be the case with Mile High Green Cross lately, unfortunately. My budtender told me he's had several patients come in and get "pissed off" when the shop didn't have any wax or oil for purchase. A reviewer on WeedMaps.com from mid-September says he has signed the shop up as his primary center but was going to change if they didn't start stocking more concentrates. I asked when they were expecting more and was told "A couple of weeks." Ouch.

In all, Mile High Green Cross seems to be consistent in its approach to cannabis. The herb was great two and a half years ago, and the only thing that has decreased are the prices. The hash and concentrates problem needs to be addressed, especially in a market where everyone is looking for the most bang for their buck, and BHO delivers that. But when I'm on the hunt for some delicious flowers to enjoy, at least I don't have far to go.

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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