Mile Highs and Lows: Highland Health

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This dispensary has closed.

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: The Wildflowerseed reviews Highland Health. See below.

Highland Health 2727 Bryant Street, Suite 420 Denver, Colorado 80211 303-455-0810 www.highlandhealthdenver.com Hours: 11 a.m.-7 p.m., seven days a week. No appointment necessary. Owner: Jason Irwin Owner's statement: "The biggest reason we opened is that customer care is sometimes lacking in the cannabis industry. We wanted to increase the quality of service offered in the Denver and Colorado cannabis community. We are the first dispensary to have lab-tested cannabis. It is certified locally grown cannabis -- it's not cartels. We are local, from here in Colorado. We're really happy to be here." Opened:January 31 Patient services: Handicap accessible. No doctor evaluations on site, but dispensary will refer you. Raw marijuana price range: $80-$120 for a quarter ounce. Other types of medicine: Large "pre-filled cones" (big, fat joints), clones, hash and marijuana tinctures; edibles including hard candies, macaroons, chocolate raspberry yogurt and lollipops. Amenities: Massage, holistic bodywork, aromatherapy. "420 Room" waiting area/trippy art gallery. Clients: 200

Our take: Highland Health is a hip little joint hidden in plain sight, just off of Speer in a nondescript office building with an inside joke on the top floor, in suite 420. As you step inside, you feel the hip vibe permeate, as trance-inducing beats leak from the speakers. Paper stars and lanterns display intoxicatingly ornate mosaic colors and also act as something to look at when the waiting room is chock-full of strangers staring uncomfortably at their feet while they wait for a chance to survey the marijuana.

Since only a few patients are served in the dispensary area at a time, trickling in from the hallway and back out again, the "420 Room" -- as the shabby-chic waiting area is called -- is filled with people on a snowy Saturday evening. A couple decked out in matching Broncos gear wanders in. The man uses a cane, and neither seems all that comfortable at Highland Health despite the music, art and easy ambiance. Another couple who could be someone's grandparents -- someone's hippie grandparents -- are more talkative as they linger in the corner. But by far the most common consumer here is the twenty- to thirty-something hipster.

The even hipper hip staffers are a few years (or more) younger than most of the customers, which has me wondering: Where is the grown-up in charge around here? But that's the inevitably wonderful (and dangerous) thing about dispensaries. The kids can, and will, run the candy store.

After quite a long while, my name is finally called and I head into the quieter back room, where cool, blue-gray images of mountains and cityscapes drip down the walls. I am immediately impressed by the Rolled Cone Menu -- big, fat joints stacked with different varieties of herb to give you a controlled blend of your favorite strains. Each variety of weed sports a kitschy "HELLO My Strain Is ___________" nametag -- a retro touch that spins me into a long, rambling, stream-of-consciousness tangent, pondering why members of the Sesame Street generation are such pot-heads. The guy at the counter must think I'm already baked.

The menu includes a nice variety: Blue Cheese, Purple Kush, Strawberry Lemonade, Black Berry, Lavender Goo, Sweet Goo, Tooth Fairy, Shiva Kush, Blue Chem Dog and O.G. Goo are among the best, all listed as "Red Dot" strains -- the most potent and expensive. Myself, I enjoy the organic Pineapple during the day and the Trainwreck at night. Honestly, this Trainwreck is some of the strongest stuff I have found at a dispensary: extremely high quality, deliciously fragrant and easy to smoke.

Still, perhaps the greatest asset at Highland Health is the interactive website with the daily menu, a slideshow of forty kinds of kind -- all shown in closeup, with rollover descriptions and a ratings system. At the bottom, patients can blog about their experiences with various strains and wax poetic about their personal favorites.

This shop is a hip little secret: a dependable depot for the MMJ patient looking for potent product in a cool atmosphere. As long as you're not in too much of a hurry. -- The Wildflowerseed

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