Mile Highs and Lows: One Brown Mouse/Cannabis Healing Arts

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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 our directory of dispensaries for one near you.)

This week, the Wildflower Seed reviews One Brown Mouse/Cannabis Healing Arts:

One Brown Mouse/Cannabis Healing Arts 95 East 1st Street, Nederland 303-258-0633 www.cannabishealingarts.com

Hours of operation: Monday-Saturday 11:15 a.m.- 6 p.m.; Sunday 12:15-5 p.m. Owner: Kathleen Chippi Owner's statement: "I've been a cannabis activist in Colorado since 1992. As soon as Obama campaigned he was going to legalize medical, I kind of got ready. When he won the election, I moved forward." Opened: June 26, 2009 Raw marijuana price range: $13-$16 per gram, occasionally $18 per gram. Other types of medicine: Cannabis tinctures ($50 for alcohol-based/$60 for strain-specific glycerin) salves, and cannabis food and treats that run $6-$8 apiece. Patient services and amenities: Credit cards accepted, clones, doctor referrals, delivery by Cannabis Couriers, education and community outreach.

Our take: This shop is everything I ever imagined while daydreaming about marijuana legalization. In fact, it's exactly what I would want to create if I opened my own shop, and my hat's off to owner Kathleen Chippi for her dedication in cultivating a legal, medical-based business model that operates in plain sight. Chippi doesn't think that dispensaries should hide as though they were sinful; done right, she sees them as potential solutions to many of society's current problems. "Some people say, 'Oh, this medical marijuana stuff doesn't affect me.' Well, it affects everybody," she says. "We could fuel our cars with it. We could eat it. We could build our houses with it."

On my recent trip to Nederland, I found the new, dedicated home of Cannabis Healing Arts just down the street from its original location within One Brown Mouse. The space was clean, organized and professional, and packed with educational literature -- but it still had a cool hippie vibe, supplemented by Chippi passionately orating on the endless benefits of hemp to a young couple as they sniffed through glass jars.

With fifty-plus varieties to choose from, for a moment I felt like I was in one of those theme brewhouses with dozens of beers on tap from around the world -- only here the growers were all local, I learned. Among the strains kept on tap are Bubba Kush, Sour Diesel, Durban, Maui, Maui Mist, Sage, AK 47, Mr. Nice, Blueberry and good, old-fashioned regular Bubble Gum. According to its website, Cannabis Healing Arts intends to establish a basic selection "which we can rely upon. Once we have established our strains we will begin to pass on quantity discounts to our patient/customers." The male bud-tender who helped me was knowledgeable and attentive, and he zeroed right in on the effects that I was looking for in my herb. For my never-ending nerve pain, I like a bright body high during the workday and a deep heady high when day is done; he tuned into my needs and directed me to some day and night recommendations.

After picking through the fine choices, I left with an indica Grape Ape and a sativa-indica Sagarmatha-Bubblegum. The Grape Ape, considered a "house strain," was extremely crystallized, dense and full of lovely, fragrant -- and extremely trendy -- purple nuggets. Patients are going nuts over purple strains like this, with their tendency to sparkle like jewelry and ignite the senses. The Sagarmatha Bubblegum was almost the polar opposite, with a light, strong smell reminiscent of the kind bud I used to find in Manhattan in the jam-band '90s. Lime-green and yellow with abundant orange hairs, it stayed in good condition in a jar for nearly two weeks (I forgot it was there) and still produced a heady, even high with lots of energy.

But no more energy than Chippi herself displays. "I believe in education, not regulation," she says of the legislature's current attempts to rein in the MMJ industry. "They're using Reefer Madness tactics on us, which is sad." Particularly since everything lawmakers are trying to regulate is already addressed in Amendment 20, which legalized medical marijuana back in 2000. "This is a medicine," Chippi notes. "The state cannot limit your right to your medication. Nor should sick people be taxed for their medication."

After all, she points out, medical marijuana is the safest therapeutic substance known to man, having been "tested" by more than 5,000 years of history of human consumption. "It has no LD50," she says, referring to the point at which a substance becomes lethal for 50 percent of those who consume it. In other words, she continues, "If a hundred people drank a gallon and a half of water, 50 percent of them would die. Almost every substance on the planet, including water, has a lethal dose." But marijuana does not.

Chippi's concerns revolve around her patients' ability to access their medicine. "Growing medical-grade marijuana is not easy," she says. "Anything can happen. I just cut down and burned a hundred plants. I just lost an entire crop. Anybody can grow buds, but not everyone can grow medical-grade marijuana."

But they can certainly get it at Cannabis Healing Arts.

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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