Mile Highs and Lows: The Greenest Green
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, William Breathes reviews the Greenest Green:
The Greenest Green
2034 Pearl Street, Boulder
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week.
Owner: Brad (wants his last name withheld).
Owner's statement: "Offering quality herbs at a fair price in a great atmosphere, with a knowledgeable staff."
Opened: January 2010
Raw marijuana price range: $35 to $70 plus for eighths (average around $60); $25 plus for hash.
Other types of medicine: Edibles, hash, kief and oils.
Patient services and amenities: Educational classes on growing every Tuesday night; referrals for doctors, acupuncture and massage therapy.
Our take: It doesn't take long to figure out that the Greenest Green is more of a club than a dispensary.
My friends Toph and Wolf and I wanted to visit some Boulder dispensaries, and at Toph's suggestion, we headed straight to the little shop on the 2000 block of Pearl Street. Don't get me wrong: I like how the girl at the counter welcomed us so casually. I thought the slamming bass from the sound system, the projection-screen Nintendo Wii on the wall, the contemporary psychedelic artwork and the Kidrobot toys lying around were all a good way to create a young, urban vibe. But I also know that for some patients, filling out paperwork while an English Mastiff puppy and its Neapolitan Mastiff "older brother" wrestle on the floor in front of them might be a bit off-putting.
The dispensary is set up with a waiting room in front and a bud bar in back. At the bud bar, we were greeted by two women sitting behind a stool-lined counter with a bong on top, from which they offered a free hit of vaporized honey oil that they both highly recommended. Patients all shop together here, and I didn't see any option for a private consultation unless you happened to be at the bud bar by yourself. I don't have a problem with this, either; for the right patient, this setting could create a relaxed, fun atmosphere in which to discuss a product that can be both fun and relaxing.
We sat down, and the two did their best to keep up as we asked to see almost every one of the roughly twenty strains they had in the house. The herb is kept in opaque black-glass jars, which look cool behind the counter but make it hard to see which herb you really want to look at. A large chalkboard helps break down the selection, and the shop does a good job of identifying indica, sativa and blended strains by section.
While I don't have a problem with the Greenest Green's ambience, I do have a problem with its prices. More than $70 for an eighth of "special reserve" Sour Diesel? Granted, it was some good, eye-catching Diesel, but even I couldn't justify the price. The shop does include Boulder's 8.16 percent sales tax in the tab, but that's no excuse to charge $60 or more for an eighth.
After overwhelming the two stoned girls behind the counter, we placed our orders and were handed yellow claim tickets that we then took to a sliding-glass window, where we picked up our pre-weighed jars of ganja. I found it somewhat strange that I couldn't see the nuggets I was buying beforehand, but I did like the idea that the herb being handled by customers out front wasn't the same herb I'd be smoking.
Grams come in Carmex-size versions of the jars behind the counter -- and the gram of Afghan Kush I bought was crammed so tight that it stuck together in one compressed chunk when I pulled it out. But the shop takes pride in its double G logo-embossed jars, one employee told me, citing the jars and the sales tax as key factors in their prices. And you do get a small discount if you remember to bring back the jar so that it can be used again.
We paid up and walked out with our respective strains, as well as a free joint and a sample gram of the $35-per-eighth "organic" Green Crack -- which looked an awful lot like outdoor herb and smelled like a tin of chewing tobacco. When we got back to Toph's house, Wolf opened up the miniature black-glass jar of $18/gram Skunk x Blueberry and found a measly one-fifth of a gram inside. Now, I get that we walked out with three free grams and a doobie, but that doesn't make up for such an easily avoidable mistake.
So I called the shop, and an employee apologized for the shorting but also pointed out that a sign by the checkout window encourages patients to look at their herb and weigh it at a "weigh station" at the end of the bud bar. All three of us had somehow missed the sign and the weigh station, and even if I'd seen them, I doubt I would have taken the time to weigh my purchase after I'd bought it: It's not my job as a patient to double-check someone else's work.
The Afghan Kush I'd settled on was middle-of-the-road herb for $18/gram. It wasn't cured properly, and the slight wet-hay smell and taste that accompanied it proved that. Still, it had a great knockout punch that put me down and helped calm a nasty pinched neck muscle. Wolf's Skunk x Blueberry was a better strain, though we only had a bowl to sample. And at $35 per eighth, the Green Crack might actually be the best herb-to-price buy, though I think you can find fresher local herb for around $50 an eighth elsewhere in town.
If you don't care about paying top dollar for high-end cuts, perks like custom jars and a new place to hang out in Boulder, the Greenest Green is worth checking out. Just bring plenty of green with you.
William Breathes and the Wildflower Seed are the pot pen names of our two alternating medical marijuana dispensary reviewers. Read their bios here.