Medical marijuana dispensary review: Winds of change blowing over Stone Mountain Wellness

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This dispensary has closed.

Stone Mountain Wellness first caught my eye months ago when it took home prizes for top buds at a Boulder cannabis cup. Since that time, the shop has come under new ownership as a member of the Canna Club dispensaries. Among other things, this means the award-winning chronic Stone Mountain used to stock has been replaced by ganja from other growers.

Stone Mountain Wellness 600 Airport Rd. Longmont, CO 80503 303-NUG-WEED (303-684-9333) http://stonemtnwellness.com/

Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
Owner: Denver Canna Club, LLC
Mission statement: "More than just medicine."
Opened: August 2009; Canna Club took ownership in July 2010.
Raw marijuana price range: $30-$50 eighths
Other types of medicine: Bubble hash for $15/gram and $20/gram, assorted edibles.
Handicap-accessible: Yes

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After driving an hour up to Longmont from Denver and passing the tiny strip center twice, I finally found Stone Mountain tucked away in the corner next door to an insurance salesman's office. The shop is very low-key: no pot leaves, no blinking neon "Open" sign -- just a small beige office space that reminded me of my dentist's tiny, unassuming digs, with a reception area and a tiny hallway leading to a few rooms in the back. A woman behind the counter buzzed me in and copied my paperwork while the budtender showed me back to the bud bar. There was another lounge-like room in the front of the office, though I never made it in there to check things out.

The day I was in the shop, the girl working the bud bar was chatty. I told her the shop came highly recommended and was surprised by how candidly she told me it was under new ownership and that the good things I heard were probably about the former owner and grower, Scott. As she explained, Scott is battling cancer, and running a dispensary as well as growing for one had become too much. The shop was sold to Canna Club, which now runs the business and acts as the primary grower.

Canna Club bills itself as a patients' group. Patients pay a monthly $30 membership fee in exchange for a quarter-ounce of ganja per month at any of the fifteen-or-so participating dispensaries -- like a Sam's Club for cannabis. On the dispensary side of things, that means Canna Club becomes the designated grower in exchange for a constant flow of customers and Canna Club's "branded" cannabis. Essentially, whatever originally made Stone Mountain Wellness what it was is no longer there. The shop still gets to keep its cozy, small-town doctor's office feel, and from time to time it will carry Scott's top-shelf herb -- but that's about it.

Disappointingly, the shop's website mentions none of this. Instead, it touts the strains that originally put Stone Mountain on the map, including Ghost OG, Purple Kush and, most notably, the Stone Mountain strain that took "most potent" at the Best Bud of Boulder cannabis cup. I was miffed, but damned if I was going back in rainy, rush-hour traffic without even seeing what they had to offer. I sat down at the glass-top desk in the bud room opposite the budtender, hoping for the best.

Unlike at most places, the herb here was not displayed on shelves or on the counter. Instead, it was tucked behind the budtender chair in a low bookshelf. Above my head to the right was a price breakdown, and impressively, the average strain was running at $45/eighth with only two or three $50 strains on the menu. There were several strains even lower, with a Buddha X Island Sweet Skunk going for $30 an eighth. Instead of just pulling out jars, the budtender took time to ask me what I was looking for, and despite having a slight hippie drawl, man, she was well informed on each of the strains she pulled out. She mostly kept to sativa strains per my request, including some well-done Maui and Giesel, both for $45.

I didn't see anything near the quality I had expected from Stone Mountain, but I can't say what they had on hand was bad, either -- especially for the prices. Granted, the value strains were a bit shaky and full of pea-sized buds, but they looked and smelled decent and were way better quality than what I saw for $30 last week.

Is it worth your trek from Denver? Not really. But for folks in Longmont and up north, it's got some decent quality for the price, even without signing up for the Canna Club membership.

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