Medical marijuana dispensary review: Kushism is a low point in the Highlands
Maybe it was the Barney-purple paint, or possibly the security guard dozing off on the front porch. But something about the vibe of Kushism Highlands told me to just drive past it and find another dispensary to visit. I think it's time I started listening to those small voices in my head.
3355 W. 38th Ave.
Denver, CO 80212
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. seven days a week.
Owner: I called and let Kushism know I was running a review, also mentioning the things I had issues with. But the manager I spoke with said he didn't want to comment, and the owner never responded to my request for an interview.
Mission statement: "Kushism of Denver offers a unique atmosphere, high quality medication, a friendly, professional, and knowledgeable staff and affordable medical marijuana prices to serve any budget."
Opened: (attempt to reach the owner was not answered)
Raw marijuana price range: $30-$60 eighths, $10-$20 grams.
Other types of medicine: Kief, shatter hash, earwax hash -- ranging from $15-$65/gram
Patient services and amenities: Pipes, rolling papers, condoms
I started filling out paperwork in the blood-red living room of the former duplex while hip-hop blasted from a stereo in the back office, finishing up on one of the couches before being led back through the propped-open security door by the guard. The bud bar was formerly the dining room of the tiny house and has since been converted with glass cases and McDonald's-yellow paint on the walls.
I just realized I didn't get a free cone of kush.
Along the back shelf were dozens of T-shirts with the shop's stoned smiley face logo, various glass pipes and bongs and, strangely, a display of condoms. I get it that medical marijuana clinics are supposed to manage the health of their patients, and pharmacies like Walgreens have no qualms about selling Trojans along with your Valium -- but selling rubbers at a place like Kushism made it feel creepy, like being in a strip center head shop that dabbles in the sex-toy trade.
Aside from the prophylactics, the shop also had a small selection of vendor edibles, $5 pre-rolled cones and several different strains of earwax hash ranging from $60 to $65 a gram.
The droopy-eyed and saggy-pantsed uniformed security guard stood on as the female budtender pointed out that the top shelf was indica and the bottom shelf was sativa, then explained their pricing structure. The girl was friendly and nice, though the deepest she ever got into any strain was "This one has some good sativa effects to it." The shop had an impressive amount of strains, though the quality of most reminded me of things before July 1, when shops were buying mass-produced herb from just about any vendor who walked in the door.
Sadly, what caught my eye first weren't crystallized emerald nuggets, but dirt-brown compressed bullshit selling as "Night Shade" for $30 an eighth. My stomach dropped, and I likely would have walked out had I not felt obligated to give them a fair shot and see the review through to the end. The $45-$50 strains in the jars were nearly as unimpressive-looking, including the Amsterdam Gold, which looked like it had been run through a trim machine several times until the orange and tan buds reached the size and density of driveway gravel. As its name suggests, the shop "specializes" in kush strains, though compared to other places I've been to recently, Kushism's selection and pricing were far from special. The top kush strain here was the so-called house strain "Kushism" for $60, which was nearly identical to some Bubba OGs I've seen around town (and for far less). Still, it was clearly the shop's best work -- along with a $55 sativa blend, Sour Cheese.
The various price ranges made it hard to split an eighth, so I instead paid gram prices for my strains -- another thing that is becoming harder to comprehend. At $60 an eighth (with tax), a gram of the Kushism OG shouldn't be more than $17.25, yet they mark it up to $20. Adding to my frustration was the mind-boggling fact that the $55 eighths were also $20 a gram. Keep in mind that everything at Kushism is pre-weighed, so they can't really blame the extra effort of bagging up such small amounts on demand. I mixed up three grams for $50 and walked out with a free GrindTainer container with the Kushism logo on it for being a first-time customer, plus a card with instructions to sign up for their text-message alert system to get herb specials. I threw the card in the dumpster behind the shop as I hopped in my car to leave, and the grinder case is now a stem jar. Kushism operates another shop on Federal, as well as a collective in California -- two places I doubt I'll ever visit, assuming they are anything like the Highlands location.
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