Medical marijuana dispensary review: The Grasshopper Alternative Medicine

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This dispensary has closed.

Mixed in with the boutique specialty shops, craft beer houses and other restaurants in the area, Grasshopper Alternative Medicine blends in well with its East 17th Avenue neighbors. Aside from the ubiquitous green medical marijuana crosses, the clinic could pass for a coffee shop thanks to its wooden front porch and stacked-up patio chairs and tables.

The Grasshopper Alternative Medicine

Location: 1728 E. 17th Ave. Denver Phone: 303-388-4677 Website: www.thegrasshopperdenver.com Hours of operation: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday. (The shop will open at 10 a.m. starting in January.) Owner/manager: Dave Kilroy Mission statement: "We want to provide an all-around organic experience." Opened: November 2009 Raw marijuana price range: $39-49 Other types of medicine: Edibles, hash, topical oils. Handicap access: Yes.

I had just pulled back into town after a day on the hill and the combination of the pillow-soft leather armchair that I had flopped into and the early fading sunlight nearly put me to sleep. Catching myself nodding off, I got up and chugged a few glasses of water from the cooler while staring at the display rack of vapes and pipes from a local head shop along the back wall by the check-in booth.

There were a surprising number of women in the Grasshopper waiting room considering that the overwhelming number of patients I see in dispensaries are dudes. Two older, retirement-age women were in line ahead of me, while behind me, a woman about my age, wearing a dark business pantsuit, flipped through a magazine. The only other male patient I saw was on my way out. "I think that sums us up," owner Dave Kilroy said about the crowd I saw in the shop. "It's not your stereotypical dispensary buyer. It's not just you and me, man. It's everybody."

After about fifteen minutes of waiting, I was walked back through the security door by my budtender, a woman who enthusiastically greeted me and then led me into the dispensary. The bud room is a sky blue color and along one wall are large, gallon-sized clear jars filled with the shop's organic herb. Below the jars were various edibles from the shop's ganja-chef neighbors at Mile High Ice Cream and Nancy B's edibles. In the middle of the room were two large, white dividers separating desks and creating little sit-down consultation areas for patients. On large shelves behind my seat were dozens of hefty $19 clones.

On the counter was a small display with about sixteen different strains. I popped open a tester jar with a fluffy nug of Durban poison inside and instantly smelled up the partitioned-off area the two of us were sitting in before doing the same with nearly every other sample. I felt like an asshole taking as much time as I did, but nearly everything I smelled was better than the last jar -- a treat after the wet hay I found a few weeks ago. Kilroy said everything they grow is organic, going so far as to use things like cinnamon as a pesticide instead of more powerful treatments. He said the shop has built up an "arsenal" of strains and currently all of its medicine comes from their two grow spots.

The budtender had her suggestions for me, including a cut of Banana Kush for back pain. Other worthwhile strains were cuts of SNEZ, Berry White and a funky Silver Haze. The shop also had three levels of bubble hash, sold in pre-packaged grams. Eighths of herb at the shop sell for $49 before sales tax (except for a few "recession buster" strains that I spaced looking at), and with a gram of hash and a 10 percent first-timer discount, I headed home to take a nap about $75 lighter.

Page down to see what William took home this week.

Banana Kush ($49/eighth) Very strong fruity smell out of the jar, not unlike the cut of Bubblegum that has floated around Colorado for the last five years or so. Beautiful contrast of red hairs and green leaves in this herb. Lots of crystal-white trichomes visible with the naked eye, but under a scope, they began to look more and more amber. Some stringy fan leaves could have been trimmed off, but otherwise, it was dried and cured well. This strain got it's name from the banana smell, though to me, this cut smelled much more like Liks strawberry ice cream. The herb had a light, sweet taste to it on the inhale, but left a more generic ganja taste exhaling. Overall, a clean, good cut that crept up on me slowly and eased the tightness in my abdomen. Blended "full melt" hash ($29/gram) Despite this "full melt" not melting at all, the sativa-strong hash was powerful without being overwhelming, and it helped me battle through some heavy nausea earlier in the week. Kilroy "full melt" is what Grasshopper refers to its blend of 72- and 45-micron bubble hash. Not to say it wasn't good, but from the name, I expected a more malleable putty as opposed to the crisp, dried wafers of blended hash. It broke up nicely over a bowl, adding a rich, incense-like smell to the ganja without burning harsh and dry. Not bad for the casual hash smoker, but concentrate connoisseurs would find more selection elsewhere. NYC Diesel ($49/eighth) The small sample jar was the first I opened, and knew I'd walk out with the strain. I've seen some mediocre NYC Diesel lately, so it was refreshing to pop open the jar at Grasshopper and be overwhelmed with the pungent, rubbery chem-dawg funk of a good cut. Very chunky and fox tailed, the lime-green nugget bubbled over itself in growth. The herb burned very clean, with a sweet and tangy NYC Diesel taste taking in and exhaling. As usual with the chem-family, I get borderline psychedelic burning too much of this -- but a light bowl in the mid-afternoon was a better pick-me-up than coffee and was perfectly timed to coincide (imagine that!) with a mid-afternoon turkey sandwich.

William Breathes is the pot pen name of our medical marijuana dispensary reviewer. Read the William Breathes bio here and be sure to check out our archive of Mile Highs and Lows medical marijuana dispensary reviews.

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