The building at 2527 Federal looks smooth now, sans the gaudy purple of the former tenant. If you drive down this stretch of Federal regularly, you'll remember the big Barney-purple gorilla and the long, purple shop of Kushism standing out. In contrast, the new shop blends in. Well, as much as a pot shop painted white with green lettering and green doors can. The gorilla is still there, over at the Checks Cashed place next door; he's been painted over and now has a more respectable gorilla hue. But with a simple paint job, Nu Leaf made the place seem brand-new.
I didn't realize how new the place actually was, though.
2527 Federal Denver, CO 80211 (720) 485-5084 LiveNuLeaf.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Raw marijuana price range: $20-$35/eighth-ounce, $180/ounce. Other products: Edibles, vape pens, butane hash. Online menu? No. Handicap-accessible? Yes. Recreational sales? No.
After handing my info to a woman behind a security glass in the waiting room, I was buzzed through to a massive, empty bud room. Inside were clean, white walls with a birchwood-and-glass bud bar that ran the length of the room, lit up like a gallery with nothing to show. Except, of course, the cannabis.
My budtender gave me the price breakdown while pointing out some of her choices along the way. There were about ten or so strains in huge glass tubs on the shelf, with large labels taped to the front.
Above were pre-packaged eighths and grams, and that's what you get to see when you ask to see a strain. The price breakdown seems reasonable enough, with bud going for either $20 an eighth or $35 an eighth. Both shelves sold at $180 an ounce.
The quality of the sale items was mixed. Some strains were solid and worth a second look. Two or three, including the Blue Ox, smelled bland and schwaggy, like they'd been sitting in the vacuum-seal bag for too long. The fruity Maui, trichome-dunked Bruce Banner, a Death Star that smelled like Pine-Sol jet fuel and slightly grapey Bubba Kush at the top-tier pricing were all worthwhile.
I brought home the Maui for the smell alone: rum punch with a skunky body. The buds were well grown, too. Fluffy and ripe, with trichome coverage throughout and a flavor that matched the taste. It was well placed after work with dinner and a movie afterward, since it made me feel relaxed and sleepy. The price tag will hopefully get smaller once the shop starts to grow its own, but if the top tier looks like the Maui, everything will be okay.
The better buy was the Scott's OG, on the $20 shelf. It was schwappy and leafy, sure. Probably not how Rare Dankness would want the strain done. But it was also sticky and resinous and surprisingly potent. Heavy body high and concentration made it easy to tune out headaches and backaches for a while in the morning. The flavor was strong as well, with a turly soil-rich, piney finish out of a clean bubbler or hand pipe. For bottom-level prices, this was perfect.
But as I hinted earlier, none of the herb is actually Nu Leaf's. The shop changed over only a few months ago, and I figured it had been enough time to stock at least a few of its own strains. Nope.
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Still, Nu Leaf beats what was going on there before. I've avoided Kushism since my first encounter with the brick weed at its second location in 2010. And I've still never heard anything good about what either shop has stocked, ever.
I love a good pun, and whether intentional or not, the newly named Nu Leaf has definitely turned over a new leaf in the former Kushism location on Federal.
Even if they're not Nu Leaf's leaves yet.