Medical marijuana dispensary review: Urban Cannabis on South Downing

This dispensary has closed.

I stopped by Urban Cannabis last year, but never ended up writing a review about it. At the time, they didn't have much on their shelves from their own garden, and what they did have was overpriced and not worth the digital ink to report. This time around, the shop was in full swing, with stocked shelves and lowered prices.

Urban Cannabis

Location: 2383 South Downing Street Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily Website: www.urbancannabis.com Phone: 720-379-3816 Manager: Dave Crook Opened: New owners took over in June 2010. Raw marijuana price range: $25 to $50 an eighth. Other types of medicine: Assorted edibles, Co2 oils. Handicap accessible? Yes.

My second visit to Urban Cannabis came after one of my many hundreds of drives to Crown Burger Plus next door. I figured that if I didn't like the dispensary, my commute to the DU area would still be worthwhile for the artery-stopping joy of a greasy Pioneer Burger and fries. Thankfully, both were worth the trip.

The two businesses are located in a little strip center a few blocks north of Porter Hospital and west of the University of Denver neighborhood and campus -- prime location for college students and sick people. I noticed the shop for the first time mostly because of the black tile on the front of the space, making it stand out from the 1950s-era storefronts nearby. The Darth Vader facade comes off as too modern for the surroundings and unfortunately doesn't reflect the warm, relaxed and casual vibe going on inside the dispensary.

It was a beautiful day when I stopped by, and the front door of the dispensary was wide open to let fresh air in. There wasn't anyone waiting in front of me, so I was able to get my paperwork copied and head through to the back pretty quickly. Though I spent little time in it, the waiting room was comfy and clean, with a couple of black couches and stacks of magazines on the end table.

Urban Cannabis made headlines recently with their "Cans for Cones" food drive. The goal was to collect 2,000 pounds of food by 4/20 to donate to both Metro CareRing and A Community Taking a Stand, also known as ACTS. As the event got press, Metro CareRing apparently didn't like being associated with medical marijuana and refused the donations. ACTS did accept the gifts, and since March 1, more than 1,700 pounds of food have been donated by Urban Cannabis patients. There were literally pounds of greens (and carrots and peas) piled up in a corner when I made my way back to the bud bar.

Leading me there was my budtender, Daniel, who gave me the rundown on the food drive and took me straight over to the glass-countertop bud bar. The bud room is a long, narrow place, and the shop is leaving a lot of space unused -- or at least it wasn't used when I was in. The herb was kept in half-gallon glass jars in the counter, each labeled with names but not pricing -- which wasn't ever really clear to me. The sign on the wall in the waiting room said something about $55 top-shelf meds, but my budtender said all top-shelf meds (of which there was only one) were $50. The rest ranged in price from $30 to $40 the day I was in, but they didn't seem to be in any order, unless I missed a sign (which is equally likely, considering I had medicated before lunch).

The first selection he brought up was Urban Cannabis's signature strain, Cherry Cola. An indica-dominant strain, apparently, but the grower won't give out any information on the genetics or clones of the plant. With the uniqueness comes a higher price tag, unfortunately, and the Cherry Cola is the only $50/eighth strain the shop carries. Other strains, like the $40 Barney, with it's sugary, grape-colored golf-ball nuggets, were more affordable. The shop had a pungent Super Silver Lights and a healthy-looking jar of Banana Kush. Also interesting was the pain-killing Harlequin, which was 10.4 percent CBD in tests conducted by the shop. The deep-green strain smelled like peach candy, and I regret not taking home a sample of this unique cut to try out this week.

The usual medicated treats, chips and Cheeba Chews were on the counter, as well as a small display of Co2 oils. But otherwise the shop seemed pretty focused on the herb itself.

See what William took home after the jump. Cherry Cola ($50/eighth) Nobody would give me a straight answer on the genetics of this cut, though manager Amy DiIullo said she thought it may have Chocolope in it, or something along those lines. Regardless of her parents, this little cut really does have a caramelized sugar and sweet-candy finish that produces a Cherry Coke-like smell. I saw this strain last year when I was in the shop, and it didn't look anywhere near as good as it does now. The nugs I brought home this time were chunky, well developed and well cured. They had a perfectly spongy texture to them, and featured skinny trichomes with tiny little heads that gave the bud a fuzzy appearance. My fingers were sticky and smelled slightly earthy and kush-like after breaking it up, and one bowl of the mocha-dark smoke was enough for a good hour and a half of stoniness. A solid strain for flavor and potency, and it undoubtedly has some good, unique genetics. But at $50 a pop, this is a "special treat" kind of strain to splurge on. Durban Poison ($35/eighth) There may have been a $30 strain the day I was in, but at $35, this is about as "bottom shelf" as it gets with Urban Cannabis. A bit leafy, but otherwise the buds had a potent, pencil-shavings smell of Durban that made my mouth water. While a lanky sativa, the buds were still well developed, with generous dustings of amber trichomes. Drier than the Cherry Cola but still well cured, this herb burned clean with full flavor through the bowl down to the ashy-white last hit. The racy, speedy high I get from this strain mixed with the killer appetite surge is great for the morning, and at $35 an eighth, the cut from Urban Cannabis is one I would stock in my medicine chest for just that reason. Cherry Cola Co2 oil ($25/gram) The one disappointment of my visit was the oil, which I'd purchased with high hopes. In the shop, the little one-gram goop looked much more viscous and appropriately amber colored than the sub-par OrganaLabs Co2 sitting next to it (the same oil I took home a few weeks ago). But at home, the oil burned as thick as it looked and left a black tar on my titanium nail and skillet pieces. It didn't sputter as badly as the OrganaLabs did, but nonetheless, it left my oil dome splatter-painted and my titanium nail with a load of tarry black residue. The buzz was strong, and much like the Cherry Cola flower, the oil left me sedated and stoned. The trade-off of harshness wasn't something I was willing to do many times, though, and the oil has sat unused on my shelf for a few days now.

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

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