Mile Highs and Lows: The Green Room
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 Green Room:
The Green Room
1738 Pearl Street, Suite 100m, Boulder
Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon to 8 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Owner: (did not want name published)
Owner's statement: "We are a locally owned and operated dispensary dedicated to the holistic health of our clients."
Opened: November 2009.
Raw marijuana price range: $13 to $20 per gram, $40 to $60 for eighths.
Other types of medicine: Edibles, hash.
Patient services and amenities: Edibles made by local vendors and in-house chef, hash, in-house acupuncture, physical therapy, herbalist.
Our take: Except for the green paint that is becoming a staple of dispensaries everywhere and the bongs for sale on the back wall, the Green Room seems a lot like a health spa. Everything is clean, green and new, and except for the sound of power tools being used in the suite next door, the place was quiet and relaxing when I visited. I could see how the Green Room could do well in my vision of healthy-living-loving Boulder.
As you walk in, two couches face a small, flat-screen television; there's a latte bar in the back left corner. Behind a glass wall on the right are five massage tables, and just beyond the massage room is a small lounge with fresh towels and brown leather chairs. The massive, curved wooden beams that support the building frame this room, and the cambered theme carries through the layout of the entire dispensary, with arching walls at the latte bar and a semi-circular receptionist area.
"This is more of a grownup place," one manager told me over the phone. "We are trying to service the people who are taking this service seriously. There are no ping-pong tables or Wii here." Instead, the owner wanted to create a place where medicine and healing were the focus, the manager said, adding that staff members have all dealt with some debilitating condition, including cancer, MS and severe back pain that required surgery. The Green Room is also trying to be more accommodating for women customers who are new to medical marijuana and may be intimidated by the scene as a whole, and offers clinics for them on what medicines work, what to ask for -- and what not to ask for.
More than once, I've wanted to get a massage at a dispensary -- but there's something off-putting about the guy who handles my herb doubling as the in-house masseuse. The Green Room has full-time dedicated acupuncturists, massage therapists and herbalists on site. And unlike at many dispensaries, the massage chairs here aren't just for decoration. According to the manager, half of the people who walk through the door aren't medical marijuana cardholders; they come for the acupuncture or a $45-per-hour massage.
Those with a card, however, get to go around the corner from the receptionist's desk to the bud-bar room.
Without being intrusive, the bud-tender inquired about my preferences and asked what I was looking for in my meds. On the counter in front of him were small jars with samples of roughly a dozen strains, all labeled with the strain names, whether they were a sativa, indica or blended strain, and the price per gram. I didn't see a price breakdown by gram, eighth, quarter, half and ounce, but the manager I spoke with said that the shop mostly sells quarters or less, and that there's a price break of about 15 percent off the gram price for an eighth and 20 percent off the gram price for a quarter.
The shop relies on both in-house growers and a handful of local vendors, most of whom it's dealt with for some time. I was assured that all of the herb from vendors is local and that the Green Room has an elaborate screening process that includes requiring vendors to have a Colorado wholesaler license and tax identification.
The variety was priced well -- ranging from $40 an eighth on the lower end to $55 an eighth on the high end -- and generally affordable. The in-house strain, Noggin, was the most expensive in the shop, selling at $20 a gram and $60 an eighth. Although that's high for my tastes, I grabbed a gram because it looked great -- well-trimmed, with pronounced crystals everywhere -- and wanted to try out a dank Colorado strain that was new to me.
True to its name, the Noggin went straight to my noggin. There wasn't much to the mellow lemon-skunky smell, but a bowl gave me an instant head high that required ten minutes or so of adjustment. But this was exactly the medicine I needed so that I could go out and annihilate a boatload of seafood that night without getting cramps or feeling overstuffed. The strain is a cross of Northern Lights/Blueberry and BOG; according to shop legend, it was created accidentally when a male and female were left alone in a closet. After the ganja version of seven minutes in heaven, the seeds of this sativa heavy strain reportedly emerged.
I also got some of the less expensive Jack Flash. I've always enjoyed Jack Flash, and Green Room's strain was as good as I remembered. It had a lemon-pine scent when I first smelled it, and a hazy musk when I broke it open under my nose. The lemon-pine taste of fresh greens didn't last long before the pungent earth taste and smell of the musky smoke took over. A nice, easy sativa buzz accompanied the Jack -- perfect for setting your body and head straight in the morning without wrecking the rest of your day.
William Breathes and the Wildflower Seed are the pot pen names of our two alternating medical marijuana dispensary reviewers. Read their bios here.