Medical marijuana dispensary review: Patients Plus gets a minus

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This dispensary has closed.

Last year on The Daily Show, I quipped that dispensaries are like restaraunts: Some people want a nice steak house, while others can settle for McDonald's.

Patients Plus is the latter -- a fast-food marijuana stop.

Patients Plus Location: 4493 N. Washington in Denver Phone: 720-435-0546 or 303-295-0232 Website: www. coloradomarijuanacaregiver.com Hours of operation: 8 a.m.to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sundays. Owner/Manager: Calls and e-mails to Patients Plus were not returned. Opened: "Just a few months ago" Raw marijuana price range: $10/gram, plus tax for members; $11.50/gram, plus tax for non-members. Other types of medicine: Hash extracts (wax), edibles Handicap accessible: n/a

Fittingly, the shop is across from an actual McDonalds just off the Washington exit from I-70. As glaringly obvious as the green painted crosses on the walls make the place, what caught my eye initially was the disheveled-looking, possibly homeless man waving a five-foot wide sign for the shop on the street corner.

The owners, whoever they are, have gone out of their way to paint just about everything on their property green, including the parking stops (just in case you forgot where you were). There was nobody in the front office when I walked in, so I stood around for three or four minutes until I heard a door in the back of the shop open and close. A few seconds later, an employee popped his head out of the security door into the front waiting room and led me back. He mumbled something about the door buzzer not working, but judging by the fumes wafting around him, he had probably been out back having a puff.

In the back, the shop opens up into a stoner's playground. Just beyond a black light poster gallery is a lounge with a flat screen on the wall, a black leather couch and a coffee table full of books about herb. Patients Plus also has a head shop of pipes off to the right when you enter. My budtender said that they are able to discount their glass by buying in bulk and making most of their profit off herb sales -- or, at least that's the plan for the two-month-old shop.

A homemade "YOUR EDIBLES COULD BE HERE" sign sat on the mostly empty edibles shelf near the sparsely filled shelves of pipes. Patient's Plus also sells clones and growing supplies, though I didn't see either of the two in my visit aside from an Advanced Nutrients poster on the wall. But despite their efforts to cram a chill spot, a head shop, a grow store and a pot dispensary into one place, there's really nothing original going on here (if the overdone green paint couldn't tell you that).

The bud bar is a long, wooden counter top that takes up most of the space to the left. Behind it were roughly two dozen small jars filled with the meds, along with a lot of empty jars. The budtender talked me through their strains, explaining that everything is top shelf and that staffers rotate out strains from their warehouse. Every day there is a "top shelf special" for $25 an eighth, and when that strain runs out, they choose another to discount. I told the budtender that I was looking for something for pain, likely more on the indica side of things, and he selected about seven jars, including the Mazar, LifeSaver Diesel (L.S.D.), and NYC Diesel that I took home to review.

Patients Plus had a decent number of strains from sativa to indica, but I only got through the first few before a second customer came in and stood behind me, making me feel rushed. I did get a look at the shop's Island Sweet Skunk and Super Lemon Haze, however, and in retrospect, I should have grabbed one of those instead of the L.S.D. The center also had a handful of hash oil waxes on the shelf for $50 per gram that the guy said were made with a CO2 extraction. Now, either he misspoke or was completely misinformed -- but what was on the shelf was clearly a butane extraction (also called butane honey oil, BHO, budder, wax). I don't have a problem with butane extract, but the budtender should be careful about that, because some people dislike butane.

I wound up making my picks quickly and walking out. Like when I stop at the McDonalds across the street from time to time, I knew what I had in the bag was going to do the job but probably wasn't the best thing for me to be taking home to put in my body.

Page down for strain reviews and pictures. LSD (Life Saver x NYC Sour Diesel) Dark green herb with tan shades throughout. It had a very strong chlorine/chemical smell to it, less like a good diesel funk and more like the hallway of a hotel with an indoor pool. The smell didn't go away after crushing up the herb, but doing so did bring out a slight citrus lemon tang and left my fingers sticky (with resin or chemicals, I'm not sure). As I expected, it burned harsh, with little flavor. The smoke was heavy and thick, sticking in my nose for a good hour after my first bowl. I got a heavy, cloudy buzz in my eyes and forehead for a good half hour before I got frustrated and smoked a bowl of some pristine Sour Kush from my caregiver to get rid of the bad taste and high. Mazar Fluffy and green, this herb looked good in the jar and it was the budtender's top suggestion for pain relief that wouldn't knock me on my ass for an entire night. A recent run-in with a tree at Keystone left me with a branch-sized bruise on my hip that makes sitting and sleeping painful. The herb helped take the edge off, although I think any strong indica would have done the trick. Ground up, the herb had a rosy, floral nose but lacked the flavor in a bowl. While nowhere near as harsh as either the LSD or the Mazar, it was still rough going down. NYC Diesel I grabbed this one because of how un-NYC Diesel the strain was. Instead of the delicious diesel funk, it smelled like miso soup. The more creamy, mushroom kind, not the watery type. It had a pretty look to it, though, and was cut at a good time judging by the coating of amber trichomes. Crushed in my hand, it had a heavy nutrient smell and probably could have used a few more days flushing in the future. It burned dull with little flavor, despite looking good with a solid coating of amber crystals. I only had a bowl before accidentally dumping most of it on my dog fur-covered carpet and vacuuming it up. But given it's quality and $10 price tag, I wasn't that bummed. Blue Dump Truck BHO The budtender said that the wax was made from CO2 extraction, though it was clearly a butane wax. From a few feet away in the grenade-sized apothecary jar at the shop, it looked enticing. It had a light tan color like organic peanut butter and smelled lemony in such a large quantity. At home, the half-gram melted into a paste between my fingers as I rolled it onto a pin to dab on an oil rig. The oil got me fall-asleep-at-my-desk ripped but needed to be purged better. It burned with a weird, unnatural smell and left goops of funk in my titanium nail. Almost without question, high-potency oils like this will get you stoned, but purity is an issue when it comes to harmful chemicals like butane. If it's done, it should be done right -- and I didn't think this was done right.

Our pseudonymous medical marijuana dispensary critic wasn't too keen on this week's discount dispensary, but there's plenty of others out there. Check out more reviews in our Mile Highs and Lows archive.

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