Medical marijuana dispensary review: The Kind Room in Denver

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Something about the name "The Kind Room" was subtle yet distinctively attractive, and the place has always stood out for that alone among the dozens of other shops along Broadway Broadsterdam's main drag of dispensaries. Yes, I know, the name of an MMC is hardly a reason to visit the place, but after years of driving past, I finally gave into my urge and checked it out.

The Kind Room 1881 S. Broadway Denver, CO 80210 720-266-3136 www.thekindroom.org

Owner: Taylor Snider Manager: Mike Miller Opened: November 2007, moved to current location in February 2009. Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Online menu: Yes. Other types of medicine: In-house bubble hash, vendor BHO, vendor edibles. Handicap accessible? Yes.

South Broadway is undergoing some major renovations right now, and construction work and equipment are making it hard not only to find parking, but also to find the shops themselves. The street was worse than an old ox cart trail in the high country and it needed the renovation, though it probably hasn't helped business for the dozens of shops along that stretch. Parking for the Kind Room currently is down the street and around the corner instead of directly in front of the business.

Manager Mike Miller was in the shop the day I swung by, greeting me warmly, as if I was the first person he had seen all day. Accompanying him was a guy named Terry. No offense to the people in the shop -- and this should tell you all something about my own stereotypes -- but Terry was a taller, balding guy with a mustache to rival Magnum P.I.-era Tom Selleck and the demeanor of a high-school baseball coach. For his part, Miller was a clean-cut guy, probably in his late thirties, who could pass for a youth pastor. Actually, for all I know, he is (there go my stereotypes of non-tokers again). Either way, it was a nice change from the bro-dudes in their mid- to late twenties I'm so used to seeing behind the bar.

The MMC wasn't fancy, but it wasn't sketchy or thrown together-feeling, either. Just clean, simple furniture and a flat, basic gray paint job. To the left when I walked in was a cream-colored massage chair like you sit in at the mall for ten minutes but never would actually consider purchasing unless you were really, really baked. Yeah, these guys bought one. (Talk about undercover stoners.) Also on hand was a dining-room table with chairs set up in another corner and out-of-place yet appropriately funky mirrored panels in part of the lobby celling.

Miller scanned my info and we chatted about the upcoming Halloween holiday. Flossy McGrew's is across the street, serving as a constant reminder that Halloween is coming -- even if it's next year by now. Miller also doubled as my budtender and walked me back through the open doorway to the bud bar once I was finished with the photocopies and flashing of the card and ID for the MMED cameras. I've lately been fighting the urge to make lewd gestures and faces at them -- not really as a commentary, but more just to spice up the day of anyone from the state who might be watching on the other end.

The bud-bar room was as un-decorated and simple as the front room. Large, heavy wooden and glass cabinets take up most of the space, and there are stools for patients to pull up and cop a squat while checking out the herb. The day I was in, there were about a dozen strains on the glass shelf in one of the cabinets, ranging from sativas on the right to indicas on the left, with hybrids in the middle. Another cabinet had a few edibles from Dr. J's, Benjamins and Cheeba Chews. There are no huge jars lining the back wall of the bud bar. Everything is pre-weighed, with eighths in small plastic jars and sixteenths in small plastic baggies.

I'm not a huge fan of the pre-weigh. Sure, it saves time in the dispensary, but herb can dry out in the baggies, and as a patient, you never really know if the buds you are taking home are as good as the examples you looked at in the shop. In the case of the Kind Room, my budtender pulled out an eighth jar of several strains and left the tops off while I checked them out. That won't cause much of a problem if done once or twice, but if a jar gets popped open for a dozen people for even just two minutes, it can really affect how dry things get -- not to mention all those people sniffing and breathing on your herb.

Despite my rant, though, everything weighed out fine at home, and I didn't feel like they were pulling the old bait-and-switch move on me, either.

Miller asked me what my conditions are, and I explained my ongoing nausea and pain issues so he could make a few suggestions. The first jar I sniffed out was the Durban Poison, which smelled more like Chemdawg or Diesel than their jar of Chemdawg x Diesel did. While I question the genetics, the cut seemed to be growing well when it was cut a bit early, leaving it with nice white crystal coverage but a lot of loose, wispy buds and sugar leaves. The same was true for a lot of the shop's current harvest. The sugary-sweet-smelling Super Silver Haze was long and lanky, and the fruity Blue Dream was also a good sample, if lacking a healthy weight and density. On the indica side of things, the Blackberry looked and smelled like overripe blackberries.

The shop also stocked some in-house bubble hash as well as BHO made by an MIP company, A.L. Huxley. I opted not to bring home any concentrates this week, however, as nothing really caught my eye in a way that inspired me to spend the extra dough. I let my budtender make my choices for me this week, opting for the questionable Durban Poison on the sativa side and a crystallized OG Kush x White Widow cross. Eighths will run you $40, but tax is included, so you're really paying under $40 for the herb itself. Miller also said the Kind Room is planning to drop prices more after the stock is beefed up with a couple of more harvests.

Overall, if the center can manage to get grows dialed in and buds looking like they should, the price drop and overall quality will be worth my checking it out again.

Page down for reviews and pictures of the strains William took home. Durban Poison: $20/16th In the shop, this sample had more of an earthy Sour Diesel tartness to it than the electrified black pepper/fennel spice of Durban Poison. The latter aroma was there, just creeping below the surface created by the tennis ball funk expressed by this pheno. I subsequently spoke with a manager who wasn't sure where the seed stock was from (he guessed TGA, which doesn't carry a Durban), but guessed that the uniqueness was part of the reason the strain was on hand. Whatever it was, the flowers looked mildly underdeveloped and wispy in parts, with fresh green sugar leaves left behind and a sugary dusting of light white, crystalline trichomes. I expected that breaking up the bud would bring out more of the Durban qualities, but instead, I picked up even more of the Diesel fuel stank that stuck on my fingers for a good ten minutes or so while I puffed the doobie. Sweet and mildly earthy on the inhale with more flavors on the exhale, but I also got undertones of burning plant material/wet hay the farther down the paper I got. Smoked out of a dry spoon pipe, the green freshness of the plant was much more apparent. Stil, whatever this is, it isn't a bad cut of herb, and I got a very uplifting, speedy and belly-grumbling buzz after smoking a couple of bowls. It actually reminded me of my first, less-than-patient attempts at growing ganja with underpowered lights back in the day. This might be overpriced by a few bucks, but nothing that can't be fixed with a bit more TLC in the flowering, drying and curing departments next round -- and maybe consider checking on its lineage. OG Kush x White Widow: $20/16th I saw this called OG White somewhere and White Kush somewhere else. But either way, the combination of OG Kush x White Widow sounds like it should be a day-ending sucker punch of indica-heavy ganja. The buds looked pretty good and it had the smell of mixed kief out of the plastic jar I was handed to check out while in the shop. While leafy (as you can see) and underdeveloped like the Durban, the sample had some interesting structure to tiny, dense but foxtailing calyxes as well as a good coating of teeny amber triches that gave it a sandy color. Same with the buds I took home. The problem was when I cracked open my bag after a few days of letting it sit, sealed, in my desk drawer and got a whiff of hay like I was on the back of a farm truck. It didn't give off much of an odor when broken up, either, only adding a bit of sweetly fresh chlorophyll and the faint smell of wet icewater hash bags. Lit up in the spoonie, it burned with a leafy harshness despite leaving a distinctly OG-like aftersmoke in my office that only made the experience more frustrating. I did enjoy this strain more burned in a doobie, which gave it a thicker, more generically ganja taste -- but overall it wasn't anything worth purchasing twice. Like the Durban Poison, though, the buds had a lot of potential. Or at least a lot more potential than what I've seen in other shops I've been to over the last few months.

William Breathes is the pot pen name for Westword's dispensary critic, who in just a few weeks will be celebrating his two-year anniversary with this fishrwap award-winning paper. Look for some anniversary pieces later this month -- but in the meantime, check more reviews over at our pot blog, Mile Highs and Lows and keep up with all your marijuana news over at The Latest Word.

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