Mile Highs and Lows: AlterMeds

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As Colorado's medical-marijuana industry grows, marijuana dispensaries of all types and sizes are proliferating around the state. Some resemble swanky bars or sterile dentist offices; others feel like a dope dealer's college dorm room. To help keep them all straight, Westword will be offering a no-holds-barred look at what goes on behind these unusual operations' locked doors in "Mile Highs and Lows," a regular online review of dispensaries around the metro area and beyond. (You can also search Westword's directory of dispensaries for one near you).

This week's review: AlterMeds. See our review after the jump.

AlterMeds 1156 W. Dillon Rd. Unit 3 Louisville, CO 80027 www.altermeds.com http://twitter.com/AlterMedsLLC 720.389.6313

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 11-7; Sunday 12-5 Handicap Accessible: Yes On Site Doctor: One "Doctor Day" per week Price Range: Between $40 and 60 per eighth Other: No smoking on premises

Our take: November is a favorite time of mine. The leaves have nearly all fallen, the trees' bare branches stretch wise and sinewy against the sky, Colorado is cast in sublime golden hues. The scent is earthy, somehow both warm and brisk, the sun a cool bluish-yellow meekly shining through thin silver clouds that blanket the tepid late morning.

The perfect time to step outside and enjoy a nice, leisurely wake-and-bake. Too bad I'm all out. The day promising to be lovely, I decide to rectify the situation and head on over to AlterMeds, a dispensary I've been meaning to check out, tucked away in the best place to live in Louisville.

I check in at the secure front desk, handing over my paperwork and ID before being welcomed in through the locked door. The small space seems to offer all the comfort of a doctor's waiting room, if a little less ritzy. The green folding card-table that serves as a desk is no-frills, to say the least. But earthy yellow paint tones and a serene Buddha water fountain are pleasant enough to give the sparse waiting area an aura of legitimacy. Like, "Yeah. We dispense marijuana. So what?" And while the big guy with tats up on leg sitting behind the counter is more piercing shop than medical receptionist, the free samples of different cannabis tinctures add a touch of friendly charm to the transaction, and serve as a nice conversation-starter.

The day I visit it happens to be "Doctor Day," and paperwork is mounting in orderly semi-circles spread out on the floor, to be processed before the scheduled influx of patients seeking licenses to relieve their various ills. It's lunchtime, and a steady stream of customers is already wandering in from the strip-mall parking lot.

The shop has an over-stocked bodega feel to it, which means there's really not much to it. It is basic and clean and could probably use something to cozy it up a bit, especially as the winter sets in. Perhaps some music would do the trick.

Being a Pisces, I tend to be distracted by shiny objects; the beautiful pipes on display draw me in like fish to a dragonfly. Next, I linger by the delicious-looking edibles and cool-looking vaporizers -- a bit like psychedelic-colored medical equipment. Finally, I'm tempted to indulge in an untried variety of ganja, as they have a large selection under a long glass counter (head-shop style) showcasing tall candy jars full of various pungent buds, some I have never tried before. But an old, familiar friend is staring me down, waiting for me to notice. I make my purchase -- experimentation will have to wait -- and head back to my abode with a huge, smirking smile.

When I get home I clean my pipe, because I know this is going to taste very good. I pack it up, spark it, and let the Diesel sink to the bottom of my lungs. Good stuff.

In some ways, AlterMeds is a lot like the Diesel itself -- reliable, high quality and easy to enjoy. The staff's warm personalities and the fine herb under the glass make this a good place to explore new varieties. The movie theater next door could almost make this stop a date-night destination. But this morning, I'm all about puffing in the November sunshine. A couple of hits and I'm feeling thankful already.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


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