Medical marijuana dispensary review: Harvesting greens at The Farm in Boulder
Holiday shopping sucks. I would rather drink the water from a dirty plastic bong than walk around the mall this time of year -- which explains why I always end up waiting until the very last minute to get anything done.
Take my recent trip to Boulder: I went out with the best intentions to find my fiancée a cool something-or-other that I will later pretend I purchased to go with whatever other thing I haphazardly buy for her. Instead, I ended up pulling into the first dispensary I found to buy herb for myself.
Location: 1644 Walnut St., Boulder
Hours of operation: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Noon to 6 p.m Sunday.
Owner/manager: Jan Cole.
Mission statement: "Bringing the highest-quality medicine to Boulder."
Opened: Nov 8, 2009.
Raw marijuana price range: $5 to $15/gram. $35-$50/eighth. Ounces from $200 to $250.
Other types of medicine: Hash oil, kief, large assortment of edibles
I was buzzed through the front door of the Farm by a woman in her early twenties in Ugg boots and jeans who never told me her name. Vibrant and brightly painted Phil Lewis day-glo landscapes and psychedelic nature paintings hung on the walls of the otherwise plain white waiting room of the dispensary. I debated getting one of the paintings of a swirling, colorful fox as a gift, but the roughly $400 price tags persuaded me otherwise.
I filled out my paperwork while Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)" played overhead. That reminded me of The Breakfast Club, which then called to mind that scene where Emilio Estevez fogs up a room in the library with a joint and then does acrobatics like an idiot through the bookshelves. (Everything relates back to marijuana for me.)
After finishing up, I was escorted back to the very large and uniquely shaped bud bar and lounge. In less restrictive days, the owners said, they had a Volcano vaporizer out in the thrift-store couch lounge for patients to puff on, but now only a few High Times magazines and books sit on the coffee table. Across from that was an open hutch filled with Farm shirts and assorted paraphernalia. The rest of the room opened up into a large, chilled-out, Boulder-esque lounge of all things marijuana and cannabis culture. Persian rugs were on the floor, and various bits of psychedelic artwork decorated the walls.
I followed the unnamed woman who I now realized was to be my budtender back to the mirror-backed bud bar, which doubled as a small bookstore. Owner Jan Cole said she tries to keep around sixty titles in the dispensary for sale, many of which she says are hard to find. I spied a few '60s-rocker biographies and books by Hunter Thompson on the shelves. Good stuff, but nothing I could give as a gift that wouldn't say "Merry Christmas, honey, I bought this as an afterthought at a head shop".
The Farm had a huge selection of edibles, a large portion of which were made by Sweet Grass Kitchen, another Boulder company. Most everything was some form of a cake, cookie or sweet, and because I was a first-time customer, I was given a free chocolate chip cookie to take home. Unlike at other dispensaries, most of the ganja here isn't on display. The books take up the space where gallon tubs of cannabis would sit in other dispensaries. Instead, just a few dozen jars were out to peruse.
The herb selection was sativa-heavy, with a dozen in-house strains and about eight strains from vendors. I opened up every jar of the herb Ms. Ugg Boots said was in-house, including Cheese, Blueberry, White Queen and Purple Satori. Everything looked decent, with no glaringly awful cuts on display -- but nothing looked mind-blowingly good, either. On the phone later, Cole said the house strains were all grown organic in soil.
Ugg Boots was friendly and answered my questions, but she otherwise spent more time talking with another budtender and a vendor who had walked in the store behind me. I made my picks and was handed a receipt and pointed over to a small window opposite the bud bar, where a woman sat with a gun safe and a shelf full of different sized jars filled with meds. All of the strains are pre-weighed into grams, eighths and quarters that are kept in a separate pharmacy room. I still fail to understand the benefit of that, but Cole says the pre-weighing helps keep the herb fresh and sanitary. "I did the little containers because I was a little sketched out by people putting their hands into our jars," Cole said. "Secondly, it was producing an enormous amount of shake because it was drying out. That was my main reason."
It's also a good way to stretch out herb and charge more per gram. For example, the $16-per-gram Blue Dream I purchased sold for $50 an eighth. Broken down, that's about $1.75 more per gram. Since everything is pre-weighed and splitting an eighth isn't really an option at the Farm, you have to pay more if you want to get just a few grams of variety. Cole said she has dropped prices in the last two weeks or so since my visit, though, capping grams at $15. With a 10 percent first-timer discount, I walked out paying roughly $64 for three grams and some oil.
I left, got in my car and started to head to Pearl Street to continue shopping. But the thought of dealing with the fleece-lined crowds of Boulder freaked me out, and I turned around to head back home to Denver. I still have yet to get any gifts purchased, but at least I've got herb to get me through the shopping when I actually get around to it.
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