Mile Highs and Lows: Metro Cannabis Inc.

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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: William Breathes reviews Metro Cannabis Inc.

Metro Cannabis Inc. 4101 East Wesley Avenue, Suite 1, Denver 720-771-9866 www.metrocannabis.org

Hours: 11 a.m.-9 p.m., seven days. Owner: "Stan" Owner's statement: "The mission of Metro Cannabis is to provide high quality medicine and care to all patients in need, in a safe, secure and comfortable environment." Opened: November 2009 in current location. Raw marijuana price range: Herb $6 to $25 a gram, $65 for an eighth of an ounce. Other types of medicine: Edibles (cookies, brownies, tea), hash, pre-rolled joints, THC pills. Patient services and amenities: Complimentary massages, free consultations, doctor referrals as well as referrals for other services available in the community.

Our take: I'm a sucker for advertising. All signs point to it: I bought my bedroom furniture from Jake Jabs and my car from John Elway, I own an iPhone and I'm even obsessed with Mad Men. So when I saw an ad for Metro Cannabis promising a selection of more than 45 strains of pot "at any given time," faithful advertising sheep that I am, I was soon on my way to the small office building in southeast Denver that houses the dispensary.

Walking in off the street late one evening (as advertised: no appointment necessary, and open until 9 p.m.), I quickly breezed through Metro Cannabis's paperwork. The waiting room had a doctor's-office vibe, complete with uncomfortable chairs, a water cooler, magazines on the coffee table and CNN on the TV. The only things that suggested I was in a dispensary were the corny pot posters on the wall and a guide to different strains near the receptionist. After a brief wait, I was led to one of several pot counters set up for patient privacy, according to the bud-tender.

And for patient pleasure? A truly impressive variety, stored in jars in a glass case at the counter, broken down by quality and price in a way that's extremely easy to understand -- even if the broad selection means that the herb comes from outside vendors. There was compressed schwag for under $10 a gram in the back left corner, with higher-end strains, like the $25/gram Sour Diesel, in the front right; whiteboards on either side of the counter give a price breakdown for every strain, from a gram up to an ounce.

The THC capsules -- kiff (shaken resin glands from the bud) put into gel capsules -- were great for headaches, the bud-tender said. There was also the advertised "medical-grade hashish" for a mind-blowing $50 per gram. I'm a huge hash fan and this stuff looked good, but $50 for Bubba Kush pressed hash is steep. Before I could get overwhelmed by the possibilities, the helpful tender asked my likes and dislikes in strains, growing techniques and price ranges. After about ten minutes of talking over his suggestions and other strains I'd heard about, I decided on a few in the $18-to-$25 range. I'm not a pot snob, but I skipped the lower-end offerings: Seeing Mexico-grade schwag brick weed in a dispensary seemed slightly odd, even if part of me did want to buy some, roll it into a Swisher and crank some DJ Screw.

On the higher end, Medical Cannabis had a hydroponic Sour Diesel, which looked decent in the jar and had a very strong Sour D smell, even if the gram I took home seemed to lose some of its stink. But after I broke it up, ground it up and threw it in the bong for a few rips, I found the tangy lemon taste was there, though not as strong as in other soil-grown cuts I've tried. For the price, it could have been flushed a bit better (my gripe with a lot of hydro herb), but the heavy sativa high, that feeling of a five-pound weight on my brain, sank in immediately.

If you like a good indica-heavy strain, the $20/gram Mango might be a better bet. Apples and oranges, sure, but the Mango was soil-grown, better flushed and much better crystallized. Though it smelled a little like hay from being improperly cured, breaking open the buds revealed their true, sugary-sweet smell. The taste was light and fruity, without the chemical perfume that over-fertilized herb can carry, and it gave me a nice, relaxing high. After "testing" it, I sat on the couch with my dog in my lap, spacing out to ESPN for about an hour and a half. I also snagged some outdoor purple kush for $20 a gram. The kush had a dark, almost grape scent and was pot-naptime potent -- probably the second best bang for your buck in the shop.

But the highlight of my purchases was the lemon Trainwreck doobie for $7. I burned the buttery-lemon-tasting J before heading off to Teppanyaki with my girlfriend (on a two-for-one advertisement, mind you) and found myself high as a kite, yakking to the people dining at the hibachi around us about the highs and lows of iPhone ownership and taunting the chef to add more butter to the fried rice -- then cleaned my plate of everything.

The wide range in both strains and prices is reason enough for people to sample what Medical Cannabis has to offer; although the setting is sterile, the clinical vibe isn't overwhelming, and more critical patients may find it comforting. Both the variety-hound and the price-conscious medicine shopper will leave here happy. The only people who might be disappointed are those looking for more of a homegrown touch to the herb -- but those people tend to grow their own. And probably don't pay attention to advertising.

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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