Medical marijuana dispensary review: Joy's Nutrition Herbal Care
The intersection of 29th and Colorado is looking run down. Cora Faye's café is still cooking soul food, but otherwise the landscape is dominated by empty storefronts in decades-old buildings, a Taco Bell/KFC and a Dollar Store.
The only other thing that stands out (and it stands out) is the year-old Herbal Care dispensary on the southeast corner. I first noticed the glowing orange display window with a four-foot pot leaf behind iron security bars about a year ago when driving down Colorado to get to I-70, and every time since, I think (or mumble) to myself, "How does someplace that sketchy-looking stay in business?"
Joy's Nutrition Herbal Care
Location: 2866 Colorado Boulevard
Website: No website.
Hours of operation: 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily
Owner/manager: Vince Austin
Mission statement: "Patients first, quality medicine."
Opened: December 3, 2009
Raw marijuana price range: $10-17, $45 65 for caviar.
Other types of medicine: Hash, oil, caviar, edibles.
The center's barred-in entryway was grimy, with linoleum flooring and walls both stained and greasy, like a smalltown auto-parts store, and a sign at the entrance to the back room read, "NO HATS -- NO HOODS." The girl behind the window greeted me, checked to see that I had my card and then buzzed me back to the sauna-hot bud room. Inside was more of the same dinginess. The lighting inside was hangover-dim and the few scattered decorations on the wall consisted of tacked-up posters and seemingly random framed pictures. I sat down at an out-of-place, strangely ornate couch that separated the room in half. The rest of the space was left unused aside from storing a bike.
One manager I spoke with later said the place was about to undergo a large remodel and money that would have gone to fixing up the space earlier went toward complying with state laws. He also said that because they are across the street from both a church and a school, that they weren't sure for a long time if they would be able to remain in the space. As he succinctly put it: "It looks like shit in here and we know that," confirming that I wasn't the only one who thought it. Herbal Care will be improved, he says, by replacing the peeling linoleum with wood floors and adding another flat screen in addition to the one set that currently faces more toward the budtenders than the lounge area.
The manager noted that their main focus has been providing "wholesale to the public," and to he and his staff, that means keeping prices low for patients. Quarter-ounces of all strains, except the budget $10 gram strains, are $80. To do that, they grow at a wholesale-level in a 40,000 square-foot facility for their Denver and Colorado Springs locations. He said they specialize in TGA/Subcool strains (like two dozen other shops in town), and soon would have as many as sixty house strains at a time.
As expected from such a wholesale operation, Joy's Nutrition is pulling down some wholesale-quality herb. The bud bar is a row of glass cases lined up together. One had a few pipes in it, while others held glass cookie-jars of herb, hash and $60-per-gram hash-oil dipped "caviar" -- something I still fail to see the value of when a gram of pure oil the bud is dipped in is often nearly the same price.
The girl who checked me in helped me out at the bud counter, walking me through indica strains to ease the back pain from my first few day of riding for the snowboarding season. Yeah, I know. Hurt snowboarders with a medical pot card is a bad Colorado cliché. But to me, medical uses like this are exactly why medical marijuana should be more accessible.
We went through about ten or twelve different strains, and jar after jar smelled and looked the same. To be fair, it was hard to see anything in the dimly lit room. But filling every jar were shake-y, small buds of FLO, Train Wreck, Vortex and some $10/gram brown called Couch Slouch, as well as small humidifier eggs keeping the herb moist. I'm of the opinion that properly dried and cured herb doesn't need humidification. Of course, back in college, when I was in the wholesale business with profit as my goal, I wouldn't have minded keeping some water weight in my herb, either. The shop doesn't sell in eighths. The three grams I walked out with were $40.50.
Page down to see what William took home this week.