Medical marijuana dispensary review: Releaf Center revisited
From the outside, and even once you walk in, not much appears to have changed at The Releaf Center since our Mae Coleman first visited back in September of 2009. The bars on the front windows are gone, but they still have ample floor space, a dance-studio mirrored wall in the entryway and cases of ganja in back.
But what has changed made me want to check them out for a second review: lower prices and an emphasis on providing a diverse range of concentrates.
The Releaf Center
Location: 2000 w. 32nd Avenue
Phone number: 303-458-5323 (LEAF)
Hours of operation: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Manager: Jake Browne
Mission statement: "The Releaf Center is committed to providing Colorado Medical Marijuana patients with the highest quality Marijuana and THC derived medicine available."
Opened: August 2009
Raw marijuana price range: $35/eighth to $45/eighth
Other types of medicine: Hash ($25-$60/gram), Kief, large selection of vendor edibles, medicated sodas
Patient amenities: Clones and seed packs for sale, pipes, locally made vaporizers.
The Releaf Center carries three grades of herb, with A-grade being their best and C-grade on the bottom. Manager Jake Browne said that, for the most part, their lower grade herb comes from growers associated with other dispensaries. There was only two C-grade strains and one B-grade strain in the shop, and I didn't get a good look at any of them because my attention was drawn immediately to nearly a dozen jars on the same counter-top filled with different colored globs of hash. Browne said lately they have been working to carry every kind of concentrate, from traditional pressed kief to modern butane-extracted oils. The most impressive was their straight bubble hash, and though their hash menu got up as high as $60 a gram for higher grades of the stuff, they did have plenty of strains from $20-$35 per gram to choose from.
I got a brief glance at the fifteen-or-so jars of A-grade herb before following my budtender back to another room to sign the shop's paperwork at a dining room table turned conference desk. All was good for me that day, but Browne told me later they'd recently dealt with a lot of customers who didn't have a proof of mailing for their marijuana-registry paperwork. "We went from having a record month in August to having to turn people away in September," he said. But not all of the changes caused by new laws have been bad for the shop, he admitted. Among the things he credited with improving the dispensary is the requirement that shops provide at least 70 percent of their medicine. Because they now produce more herb cheaper than they could purchase from vendors back in the day, he said, the shop has been able to drop prices on their meds from $120 a quarter a year ago to just under $90 currently (and, he predicts, even lower in the future).
Back in the dispensary room, I explained to Bear Man that I have been medicating with indica-heavy strains the past few weeks to deal with stomach pains after my hospital visit -- but as those pains have gone down, I have focused on getting my appetite back up with sativa-dominant strains. Each jar was labeled in front with a small plaque that had various bits of information on the plant, its suggested medical benefits and, occasionally, what type of grow medium was employed. Browne said the shop runs a variety of mediums depending on the needs of each strain.The big jars beneath ranged from the sort of medium qulity you could expect for $45 to some good looking cuts. He brought out a few standard-looking jars, including some Blueberry x Sour D and a leafy strain called Jock Horror that another budtender said was grown in organic soil "under the Colorado sun." But the shop also had some noteworthy strains, including jars of some stinky Ingrid, neon green and orange Flo, and a bright, almost teal-colored Blue Dream.
Aside from being the first place in the Highlands that I didn't leave disappointed, the overall pricing and selection at Releaf Center is well done. I walked out with two half-eighths and a half-gram of hash for just under $65. The shop also had a massive assortment of edibles, but I'll have to save that for another trip.
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