Mile Highs and Lows: Medicine Man, LLC

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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 Wildflower Seed reviews Medicine Man, LLC.

Medicine Man, LLC 101 North Main Street, Suite 6, Breckenridge 970-453-2525 www.breckmm.com

Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Owner: Asked to remain anonymous. Anonymous owner's statement: "I grew up in an all-natural family," she says, and promotes natural health alternatives like marijuana, diet and exercise. Opened: November 24. Raw marijuana price range: Grams run $15 to $25, with most strains between $15 and $20. Other types of medicine: Edibles like lollipops and brownies $3 to $6; tinctures (made by a biologist) $60; oils $30. Patient services and amenities: Credit cards accepted, and the dispensary delivers.

Our take: As Breckenridge prepares to ring in the New Year by decriminalizing marijuana, I grabbed my skis and headed up to the resort town's first dispensary for a taste of the Rocky Mountains' famous high. While I don't necessarily want to encourage use of marijuana on the slope, the end of the day is serious puffin' time. And for those who long for a bong hit instead of a cold one after a day on the slopes, I have one word: Après-ski. Okay, that's technically two highly fussy French words, so let's switch to the more friendly Dutch and make it nadat ski. I can't think of a more wonderful use of medical marijuana than to allow the pain-ridden to bomb the mountain all day and still feel all right that night: Nadat ski!

Medicine Man, LLC, which is on the top floor of a pink gingerbread-style office building on Breck's adorable Main Street, is the perfect destination for those in need of some sweet herb for nadat ski. And there will be plenty of those this ski season. Contrary to the notion politicians are pushing that people -- particularly young adult people -- are taking advantage of the law and pushing the limits of compassionate use and Amendment 20, all people feel pain, and marijuana is a perfectly safe, natural and acceptable way for adults to relieve that pain. It should be available for all for this purpose, I say. And if you disagree, I suggest you spend the day on the deck of Great Divide Lodge at the base of Breck's Peak 9, watching hundreds of young adults attempt snowboarding for the first time. They fall -- a lot. And it looks like it hurts. For these potential patients, decent medical marijuana at altitude is a precious commodity.

I spent the day on the mountain rather than the deck, but I avoided excess pain by riding on my good old reliable skis. I rock those skis. Still, by near-closing time, my feet were dangling from the lift like lead balloons and my back wished we had stayed in the lodge. (Too bad, back. Shut up, feet. I think there's time for one more run if I ski fast enough!) I was ready to head over to Medicine Man and purchase a little something for nadat ski later that evening.

The staff was super nice, and the owner gave me a local's punch card and stamped it a bunch of times. She's working hard to fit into the community she serves; Breckenridge regulations prohibit dispensaries on the ground floor, and there's no elevator in the building, just a rickety set of stairs. So she spends a lot of time delivering medical marijuana to handicapped patients, those stuck in the snow, or anyone else who for one reason or another can't make it to the dispensary. Originally, she planned to use some of the shop's space to sell what she calls "hemp and hippie stuff," but then she realized a store downstairs already sold those items. Instead, she brought in two antique 1960s classic Vespa scooters, ink black and cherry red, to fill the front room. Sweet.

The dispensary room is in the back, past the scooters and a massage table. Tapestries drape the windows and soften the room; a large rolltop desk takes center stage. That's where I found the bud-tender, sitting there much like a door-room-style dealer, pulling out various jars and offering me a sniff or a look under the magnifying glass. The owner's brother, Jesse Lafayette, who owns the Peaceful Warrior, a Glenwood Springs dispensary, grows all of the shop's pot organically in Colorado. Medicine Man keeps about a dozen strains on hand, including Jack Herer, Northern Lights #5, White Widow and Juicy Fruit.

The staff unanimously recommended the purple-and-yellow-specked Juicy Fruit, an indica/sativa hybrid, and I was taken by its sugary scent. Unfortunately, I'd brought no supplies along with me and ended up leaving the pot in its plastic bag all week. I should have sucked it up and bought one of Medicine Man's lovely blown-glass jars, as most of the herb was smashed into pieces within a few days and had lost much of that wonderful gum scent. Still, when I got back home and took that first hit, it reminded me of undoing the foil zigzag wrapper and inhaling as I put a stick of gum in my mouth. The Juicy Fruit smoked well and got me high, even if it didn't keep well. Part of this I'll chalk up to the extremely dry conditions, possibly to the altitude and my bad baggie storage. But a friend who also bought the Juicy Fruit complained that hers was mostly shake. So another part of the problem could be lack of competition. The Denver area has more than a hundred dispensaries; Breck has two.

Next time I'm in need of some nadat ski, I'll remember to bring my jar.

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

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