Medical marijuana dispensary review: Urban Dispensary in Denver

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The first time I stopped by Urban Dispensary was a few months ago, when, despite a sign out front showing that the center should have been open, it wasn't. That was slightly frustrating, but I figured it was a one-time thing. So I stopped by the cut-rate, low-grade dispensary next door instead and made it a point to come back. Then the same thing happened a second time. And a third.

Urban Dispensary

2675 West 38th Avenue Denver, CO 80211 720-389-9179 www.urbandispensary.com

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday (despite what the website says). Raw marijuana price range: $30 to $40 per eighth for members; $35 to $45/eighth for members. Other types of medicine: Edibles, BHO, "ambrosia" caviar Handicap-accessible? No.

This time, though, the sign said the dispensary had shut down for harvesting and trimming, and the staff would be back with fresh meds the following day. That was even more frustrating -- but I had been hearing about the shop's in-house herbs from friends, so I decided to keep trying. Then, just last week I stopped by on a Sunday -- the hours on the MMC's website say it's open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day -- and lo and behold, the shop was closed again.

I get that it might have just been my bad luck, but it was starting to seem like this shop was never open. But people kept telling me they had been impressed by clean, well-developed strains such as a soil-grown Banana Kush, and I really wanted to find some good meds to help with a stomach flare-up I've been battling for the past two weeks. It reminded me of back in the day, when you had that really, really good hookup who met up with you on his own time -- which was usually never anywhere near when you needed it. But still, you held out because Jonathan always had the best herb, even if he was a pain in the ass to deal with.

So I headed back over to Urban Dispensary for a fourth and potentially final time, now fully prepared for the steel door to the small space on 38th to be locked again. But it wasn't. I was caught completely off guard when I was actually able to walk up the steps and not immediately turn back around.

This is not a handicap-accessible space, really, as I don't see how a wheelchair could fit in the teeny secured area between the front door and the door to the dispensary. A doorbell lets the staff know you're there, though a short redheaded girl greeted me at the door and let me in before I had a chance to buzz it. I didn't linger in the small tan-and-green waiting room very long, other than to notice the orange-and-black Halloween stuff on display and snag some candy. But the space is tiny, and any more than three average-sized guys would be touching knees in line if the shop got packed with patients. Even the one guy who came in behind me looked giant in the tiny room.

The bud bar isn't much larger. But somehow it felt more open, despite a sizable oak-and-glass counter setup between me and the budtenders and sixteen framed pictures of cannabis flowers hanging on the wall. But flowers on the wall do me no good. I came for what was in the counter. On the positive: Urban Dispensary really did have some quality cannabis in the shop. The downside? There wasn't much of it.

Top shelf was strictly the shop's in-house, which was down to a squatty Mason jar full of the Super Sour Fire OG and a second jar that held just one bud, some dust and a few sticks. I think it was Sour Cream, though my notes say something different. Either way, the sugary-sour smell made me wish I had stopped by a few hours earlier.

The greens, ambers and oranges of the Super Sour Fire OG had a dark, rich hue to them, like someone had turned up the color contrast somehow. In the smell department, the strain had a nice blend of airy, lightly turned organic soil and lemon dish soap. The smell came through well in the flavor, and the taste of one-hits out of a clean bubbler was almost as relaxing as the buzz it produced. The buds were up there in potency, as the slathering of crystals in the picture would indicate. Prices are on the high end, but still reasonable. Non-members are capped at $45 an eighth, tax included. Members are capped at $40 an eighth.

Page down for more photos and the rest of Breathes's review. To match the Super Sour Fire OG buds, Urban Dispensary had grams of Super Sour Fire OG BHO selling for $25 a gram -- a solid price for what turned out to be some pretty clean and potent wax. The extraction brought the light lemon smell of the buds to the front, and dabs of this gold-colored goodness were almost lemonade-tart at times. Nice -- and very well priced at $25 a gram.

But that was really it for selection from the garden, which sucks. Because while the Super Sour Fire was solid, I don't have much else to go on. Based on that strain, though, the crew's members seem to know their way around the garden.

Otherwise, the dispensary had buds purchased from vendors to keep the shelves stocked between harvests. My budtender was kind enough to point this out to me right away, and sheepishly apologized for the imbalance. To be fair, though, the center did a good job buying herb, and things like the $30/eighth Jock Horror looked clean and had a strain-distinct odor out of the jar. Also on hand was a batch of Hell's Angels OG that would have passed for top shelf in some of the dispensaries I've been visiting lately. It turned out to be a decent herb to puff as well, though it was significantly duller in flavor and taste than the Super Sour Fire, and I spotted a few banana seeds tucked into the folds of at least one flower.

The edibles selection wasn't huge; tucked away to the right of the cabinet, it was mostly candies and sweets from the big guys like Cheeba Chews and Mountain High Suckers. Urban Dispensary also carries a few different $125-$150 Atmos vaporizer pens for those of you into more stealth means of cannabis conveyance. And finally, for those folks looking for new plants to grow in their own garden (the best garden), the shop had a wide selection of healthy rooted clones for $20 each -- and from what I saw, they weren't being stingy with their OG genetics. It's just too bad those weren't ripened buds.

A manager I spoke with said that the center had been slammed lately with patients and has really been working to keep pace. Not a bad thing for a shop -- it's better than having no business. But the shop clearly hasn't been able to keep up with the demand based on how many times it took me to get in the door and how little the staff had to offer when I finally got there. I assume it's like a lot of shops lately that have had to play catch-up after a rough summer.

My budtender told me that there should be more strains being released from curing by this weekend, for those of you looking to get in before it's all gone. Just be sure to call and make sure they're open.

Read more medical marijuana center reviews from in-house cannabis critic William Breathes over at Mile Highs and Lows and keep up with all of your marijuana news over at The Latest Word.

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