Mile Highs and Lows: GreenLeaf Farmacy

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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: The Wildflower Seed reviews GreenLeaf Farmacy.

GreenLeaf Farmacy
1644 Walnut Street
Boulder, CO 80302
303-440-1323
Hours of operation: 11:30 a.m.- 6:30 p.m. Tuesday to Sunday (closed Mondays).
Owner: Jan Cole
Owner's statement: "I come from the health and wellness industry. I owned a day spa. I thought it would be a great way to integrate two things I love."
Opened: November 11, 2009
Raw marijuana price range: Grams run $12 to $23, with 10 percent off for four grams or more, 15 percent off for seven grams or more, 20 percent off for fourteen grams or more.
Other types of medicine: Edibles with prices ranging from $4 to $6, and tinctures at $50.
Patient services and amenities: ADA-accessible, occasional doctor evaluations on site. No smoking on site, credit cards accepted, massage therapy, yoga, wellness classes and vitamin B shots administered by a nurse.

Our take: Someday I will walk into a dispensary and not feel like I just walked into a makeshift speakeasy. Many of these places were tossed together quickly and didn't have professional designers to create layouts. As a result, a lot look like a nouveau hybrid of head shop and pharmacy. This is not a winning combination. It makes patients feel uncomfortable and makes the shops seem like sketchy additions to the neighborhood.

Still, I have high hopes that I'll see these shops trend toward something with a little more dignity, like a spa or an apothecary. And so I continue to search for the dispensary of my dreams: a puffin' salon where patients receive hot river-stone massages while vaporizing the kind. I'm not sure if it would be legal, but it sure sounds nice.

With that in mind, I ring the doorbell of GreenLeaf Farmacy, a three-week-old operation in a sweet locale, just one block off of Boulder's Pearl Street, across from Buffalo Exchange. The roomy dispensary was put together with an eye for fashion, with lots of exposed brick and plush furniture and a flat-screen in the waiting area. It's not quite "upscale" in the way a Boulderite might expect a spa or nice boutique to be, but the decor definitely rises above the thrown-together feel of many dispensaries. While the walls are still mostly bare, the shop does have the required display of ridiculously over-priced volcano vaporizers (did I miss some clause in Amendment 20 that declared this mandatory?), along with a collection of great books and a case of chocolate edibles.

More important, the staffers are eager to talk about herb. The shop gets its medicine from a grower's co-op in the Nederland/Ward region, and they label the exact elevation at which the plant was cultivated (for those who might be interested in that kind of thing). They also have developed their own "herb chart," which provides easy information on which strains are best for specific ailments. For instance, owner Jan Cole says, Indian Headband, God's Treat and Cherry Lime are all good for pain management, while hybrids like Goo/Wreck and NY Sour Diesel/Dark Star are effective for neurological symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis.

The cannabis is kept on shelves behind the counter, much the way a bar displays alcohol. It's good in theory, although I have to squint to read the labels. Fortunately, the staffer helping me is happy to pull things off the shelf and let me take a look. GreenLeaf has more than twenty varieties on hand, and I find myself gravitating toward the fruitier varieties. The Cherry Lime gets a great review from this bud-tender, who stops using words altogether when describing its effect and instead sputters like Homer Simpson envisioning jelly doughnuts. The nugs have a nice sugary glaze and an authentic cherry-lime scent that soon cements itself in my memory.

When I smoke the Cherry Lime, a true cherry-citrus taste emerges, with lingering frankincense and myrrh end notes. Resiny and yummy, the kind that sticks to your lips (they should consider renaming it Cherry Lip Gloss!), it produces a clean, functional high, especially for an indica strain, and takes the edge off some nagging pain while still allowing me to get my work done during the day. But will it be enough, I wonder, for later in the day, when I need it most? When evening rolls around and I'm finally able to sit and enjoy a long, leisurely bowl, I am pleasantly surprised to find myself darn good and stoned, with a nice body tingle. A great high for watching a movie or reading a book.

While GreenLeaf Farmacy may not be my spa/dispensary dream come true -- not yet, at least -- I'll definitely return for another chat with the friendly staff, a massage and some more of that Cherry Lime.

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

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