Mile High Medical keeps prices low for everyone -- not just members

This dispensary has closed.

In "Mile Highs and Lows," Westword offers a no-holds-barred look at what goes on behind the locked doors of marijuana clinics, whether they resemble swanky bars, sterile dentist's offices or a dope dealer's college dorm room.

See our dispensary list here, and keep reading for William Breathes's review of Mile High Medical:

Mile High Medical 424 21st Street 303-296-3732

Hours of operation: 11 a.m.-7 p.m. daily. Owner's statement: "Locally grown and locally owned." Opened: December 2009 Raw marijuana price range: $30-$45 an eighth. Other types of medicine: Small assortment of edibles, hash, kief and hash oil. Patient services and amenities: Massage therapy, yoga, nutrition counseling and addiction counseling. Handicap accessible? No, but owner says free delivery service will be provided for patients.

Our take: The first time I stopped by Mile High Medical a few months ago, I sat around in the empty waiting room, flipping through an old Westword and waiting for an employee to come out from the back room to greet me. After ten minutes, I was frustrated enough to walk out. Still, figuring it was a one-time fluke, I wanted to give Mile High a second chance and returned the other day.

The owner (who asked to remain anonymous) has done some painting since I was last in, putting a coat of black paint on the chair rail and paneling below it -- but this storefront space still has a cold, empty feeling. And instead of having a person behind the receptionist desk to greet you, Mile High has set up an unnecessarily cumbersome closed-circuit TV system whereby the bud-tender in the back room greets you over the television as you walk in. But I didn't even get this greeting: A patient ahead of me in the waiting room told me where to find the paperwork I had to fill out. After doing so, I waited again, staring at the random aerial photographs of mountain ranges hanging on otherwise bare white walls.

After the patients ahead of me finished up in the back room, the bud-tender finally stuck his head out the door, spotted me, and led me down a ganja-scented hallway to the bud bar. There, along with more mountain-range shots on the walls, was a whiteboard displaying a price breakdown of the strains in the display case. But otherwise, it looked like Mile High had just moved in -- even though it's been open since last December.

When I joked with the owner about this in a follow-up conversation, he admitted that the place feels sterile. He said now that the business is up and running, he plans to hire a decorator to make it more inviting. "I'm admittedly not an interior designer," he laughed. "But we are taking our time with it. It's a challenge, because perception is huge, but we have to go in stages and make sure you're putting the money in the right place."

And for him, the right place to put money was in his plants. Mile High Medical grows 100 percent of its product and only trades out strains from time to time to get some variety on its shelves, he said. Currently, Mile High has fourteen strains, but with a new warehouse space going up, the owner hopes to double the variety. He sends samples of the house strains, which are all grown hydroponically, out to test their potency, which averages about 15 percent THC.

The day I was in, there were fourteen different strains, a vial of hash oil, and grams of kief and hash in the glass display case. Mile High does not differentiate between members and non-members in pricing; keeping meds affordable for everyone is the main goal, the owner explained, adding that he'd started out as a caregiver and would sell his surplus stock to dispensaries for $200 an ounce, only to have them turn around and sell it at $60 an eighth. "That's not right," he said.

All strains in the shop were going for $45 or less, with some strains as low as $30 an eighth. The ones I saw would easily sell for $50 an eighth at other shops; it's refreshing to see a shop owner looking out for the entire community and not just the people who've signed up with the center as their caregiver.

Still, there was only one strain I felt I had to walk out with: a healthy-appearing, lime-green sample of White Widow for $40 an eighth. In the jar, the nuggets looked like fuzzy green cotton balls with tall, lanky, amber-colored trichomes frosting the underside of everything. Straight out of the jar, the herb smelled waxy, like a box of Crayolas, but breaking open the nug brought out hints of dried basil. This strain, regarded as a classic, has been a staple of coffeeshops in Amsterdam for years -- and with good reason. The indica/sativa blend has a high TCH content and gives a blended high that isn't too cerebral and speedy, nor is it going to commit you to a sofa for the afternoon.

While this cut didn't have as much of a flavor variation as others I've tried, it still had a slight, fruity-citrus taste to it. And medically, it struck a good balance between pain relief and nausea relief, without a stoned haze that would eat up three hours of my day.

The Wildflower Seed and William Breathes are the pot pen names of our two alternating medical marijuana dispensary reviewers. Read their bios here.

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William Breathes
Contact: William Breathes