The Green Solution's dual recreational and medical shop on West Alameda reminds me of an old-school shopping mall. There's the Spencer's Gifts side, with the random assortment of pot-related stuff like Green Solution sandals, novelty pot leaf ice cube trays and other trinkets: Who knew you could make a pipe out of a Frisbee? Then there's the Apple store influence for the shop's relatively clean layout of pot, edibles and concentrates and upbeat, hip-looking associates. And then you've got the Abercrombie and Fitch aspect: blasting music that makes you want to shop quickly and get out.
The Green Solution (Denver location)
2601 W. Alameda Avenue Denver, CO 80219 303-390-9723 TGSColorado.com
Hours: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Raw marijuana price range: $11-14/gram $28-$40/eighth-ounce, $170-$230/ounce. Members receive 10 percent off purchase. Other types of medicine: Wax, shatter, edibles, drinks, topicals, clones ($20). Online menu? Yes. Recreational sales? Yes. Handicap-accessible? Yes.
The shop is dual-use, so if you're a patient under 21, you're going to have to go elsewhere. Check-in for both patients and recreational customers is up front right when you walk in the door. Patients and rec customers also shop next to one another, though there are certain display cabinets designated for the former and others for the latter. The selection of bud is much higher on the recreational end, with dozens of strains to select from compared to the ten or so medical bud options tucked into the corner of one display.
The Green Solution has a flow to it. That is to say, you're fed through it in a way that passes you by everything for sale. There wasn't a line when we were in, but normally customers que up like cattle behind a barrier to wait for a budtender to let them through the rope and over to the edibles counter to start before herding you past the buds and paraphernalia before you end up back at the front of the room at the cashier. I've driven past the place when the line was out the door, so it's safe to say the staff's got the process down to a science by now.
As I've made abundantly clear over the years, I'm not an edibles fan. But I do like what The Green Solution is doing with edibles through the line dubbed Infuzions. They offer single-serving treats with 10 milligrams of herb for under $5 each, most for around $3.50. I recently reviewed a few of them for an edition of our quasi-regular dispensary guide, The Chronicle, and was impressed with the flavor and potency. I think Infuzions are a great way for people who don't eat their pot often to comfortably enjoy edibles.
As I wrote:
The Car Bomb Cupcake, for example, is a wonderfully ambitious micro-sized chocolate cupcake made with Irish cream and a smooth, vanilla icing. At least, that's how the photo on the package looks. In practice, the smooshed, crumbly little cake with crispy chunks of icing stuck to the inside like bubblegum under a shoe needs some work. But despite the store-bought chocolate cake mix that was overly dry, one could definitely taste the bud in the bite and I wouldn't be surprised to find out these had a little bit more than 10 milligrams in a test. The Root Beer Pops fared a little better, though not by much. The lollipop-sized round bits of dark cake smelled identically to a Barq's root beer, though and the crispy vanilla frosting shell - while cracked and broken - was the perfect way to balance out what would have otherwise been too rich of a treat. Nowhere near as hashy-tasting as the Car Bomb, the Root Beer Pops still had some strength as they noticeably ratcheted up the small buzz the 'Bombs started. Hands-down the best was the Strawberry Truffle. The white chocolate shell on the outside melted the minute it touched my tongue and the strawberry filling was fresh and sweet with only a light taste of bud that was completely drowned out by the rich, creamy sweetness.
Moving on to concentrates. There were several strain-specific waxes and shatters on display, all behind a glass shelf sitting about face-high for me. When I wanted to take a closer look, my budtender set them on the top of the counter, forcing me to get on my toes to see, since the crew doesn't really want you handling the jars. I feel bad for anyone under six feet.
There wasn't anything outstanding about the waxes and one of the supposed grams of shatter I saw was cloudy and waxy but still going for $40 a gram. I said something like, "Nope, I'd rather go with something cleaner" and turned toward the bud. "You know wax is more pure than shatter, right?" my butender asked me over the music after pulling out a gram of their shatter that had gone cloudy and telling me that it had turned back to wax.
My jaw would have hit the counter had the counter not been at the same height as my forehead. I briefly tried to explain to him the concept of de-waxing to make more pure oil before giving up and moving on from the concentrates shelf all together. It's not my job to inform their staffers on what they are selling, though I do wish that The Green Solution would give the budtenders a quick rundown on not only the potency but the processes. The only thing I would have liked to sample was the 73 micron icewater hash, but at $35-plus for a half-gram, it was too overpriced to consider.
Continue for the rest of the review and photos. As I mentioned, the recreational side of the bud counter is at least three times the size of the medical side. But the selection on the medical side was still decent. The quality didn't seem to differ much between both sides, only the prices. Recreational eighths sell for $36 on the low end all the way up to $70 for select strains. Ounces go for $240 to $450. Medical customers pay less, with $28 to $40 for an eighth, with ounces capped at $230 and some around $170. I made it through seven or eight strains, and while the shop itself feels like it was cooked up by some marketing team, the buds seem to have had some thought and care put into them by an actual gardener. The Rock Lock (a Warlock and Rockstar cross) was chunky and smelled rich and piney, the Grape Krypto was similarly funky with chunks of purple in the buds and the OG Cheese was easily the funkiest, stinkiest and gnarliest Cheese I've seen on a shelf in a long time. It was like someone left a chunk of cheddar to rot into a fluffy green nugget.
I was wary of the pre-packaged buds (though to be fair, that's been a problem of mine going back years now). I get it that it makes employees' lives easier, but by the time you've got a bud in your hands, it's actually the fourth version of it. Follow me here: You first see the buds on the video screens on display in the counters, then there's the display bud in front of the video screen you see next. If you want to get a closer look, the budtender grabs a third sample of the bud for you to sniff. If you like it, you'll get a pre-package jar with the fourth example of the bud (and one you've technically not even laid eyes on yet). This gives you several opportunities to see if the buds are any good. But it also removes you so far from the actual product you are purchasing that it feels unnatural.
That aside, I had no problems whatsoever with the Sour Diesel I brought home. The bud was just as chunky and well-done as the three different samples I saw in the shop. The buds are pretty tightly machine trimmed, sure, but the Sour Diesel stink was evident right away and the flavor was there through the first two or three hits out of a clean glass pipe. This wasn't the most potent Sour D I've ever had, but it did produce a stomach-starting buzz that got me through breakfast and lunch on just one bowl. At $35 an eighth, it's about the most I would reasonably pay for this quality, but I don't regret bringing the strain home.
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The White Ape was similarly impressive both in the shop and in the jar I brought home. The neon green buds were formed by tiny BB-like calyxes sandblasted with reflective silver trichomes. The smell was a really traditional skunk mixed with red Creamsicle when broken up. Granted, the flavor wasn't much to write about, but the potency was intensely strong and very sedative. I wanted to curl up into a nap after nearly every bowl I smoked, which would be great if I was dealing with pain or anxiety. But I'm not. So this daywrecker merely wrecked my day. That's not a knock on the strain, though. The Green Solution did a good job on this one.
My final pick wasn't my pick at all. My brother was in town and wanted to see what buying weed was all about. So with eyes as wide as dinner plates, he went through the motions on the recreational side and ended up with a gram of the Flo, mostly because of the extremely potent Flo odor. He didn't toke much before leaving town and gave me his remaining chunks, so I did the good thing and smoked them. The Flo was certainly Flo-like, with a very rich, fruity flavor and a floating head buzz. The spear-shaped buds weren't the prettiest things in the world, but they burned to a fine white ash and seemed to have been dried and cured with some thought. After taxes, it was around $20 for a gram, which is about what tourists in Colorado are used to paying (at least, that's what I used to sell grams to tourists on chairlifts for back in the day).
After making your selections, you're herded over to the cashier, where you pay and then exit out the front of the building while your budtender completes his cycle by going back to the front of the line to grab the next waiting customer. It's a system that works well for The Green Solution, no doubt. But in a way, it takes some of the personal touch out of purchasing cannabis, even if the quality of the buds is the same.