Medical marijuana dispensary review: Alpine Herbal Wellness in Cherry Creek

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This dispensary has closed.

Alpine Herbal Wellness isn't trying to attract the average-Joe medical patient with its slick, art gallery-meets-medical clinic atmosphere. I picture affluent baby-boomers walking to it from their million-dollar townhomes, Bernese mountain dogs in tow.

Alpine Herbal Wellness

Location: 313 Detroit St.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Phone: 303-355-4372
Website: alpineherbalwellness.com
Owner: Nick King and Susan Harank.
Raw marijuana price range: $35 to $60 per eighth, non-member.
Other types of medicine: Edibles, hash, budder, tincture.
Handicap-accessible? Yes.

For being out in the open in Cherry Creek, Alpine Herbal Wellness is relatively discreet. It easily blends in with the knickknack stores surrounding it, aside from the sign above the door and a few printed pages of information on cannabis and herbal medicine in the front window. I walked in and was greeted by the extremely nice Judy, who also doubled as my budtender after my paperwork went through.

The office is tri-level, with a reception area to the left and a meeting room to the right as you walk in. Judy said that the shop doesn't have handicap access upstairs but can adapt by bringing a tray of bud samples down to the conference room for mobility-impaired patients. The second level offers a small lounge area with a few chairs and end tables for use when filling out the paperwork. There's also a large message board featuring fliers about various health ailments and a Mac set up on a desk against a small wall leading to the third floor for patient Internet browsing. It's the type of ephemera that is helpful for older patients who are likely to have a lot of questions about something they had been told their whole lives was an illegal drug useful only for getting high. The rest of the wall space is dominated by various abstract paintings.

Budtender Judy finished up copying my paperwork and led me up the second set of stairs to the bud bar. The place is set up to handle multiple customers, and their bar is more like the cashier stand at a casino, with three or four individual stations set up in the middle of the room. To the left are a few glass cases with pipes, vaporizers and other puffing paraphernalia. I saw a few third-party waxes and oils, as well as a big Keef Cola display. But otherwise, I didn't pay much attention to the edibles (as usual).

The bud is displayed as samples in spice jars under a glass countertop at each of the bud stations. The budtender slides the tray of spice jars out like a cash register drawer every time you want to see a cut. This made for a lot of "let me see that one" instead of simply grabbing for it and smelling it. Judy made sure to share her thoughts on each strain, occasionally admitting to not having tried a few. Within a few minutes, I had nearly a dozen of the strains on the counter, including a decent Grape Ape, a not-so-purple Purple Haze, an unappealing Big Wreck and some interesting Moby Dick.

Judy also pointed out the two $35 sale strains on hand and went into the pricing structure -- and that's where the shop started to lose me. For starters, Alpine has a $55 cap on meds for members and $60 for non-members. High prices are one thing, but high prices for herb that can be found at any average shop seemed a bit absurd to me.

Harank and co-owner (and husband) Nick King both pointed to the price war among dispensaries as artificially deflating the price of quality cannabis. King also said harder-to-grow strains like long-flowering sativas take more time, and therefore are often more expensive than other strains. True in theory, but why should patients who need a strong sativa have to pay more than patients who need a strong indica? Both also admitted that one of the biggest factors in their pricing is the type of clientele they tend to attract with their location and mission. As Harank says, "They are willing to pay for the quality medicine, the environment, the education and all of that."

But am I? Sometimes. Rarely, though, and only if the cannabis is good enough. As recently as a few weeks ago, I didn't bat an eye at the $60 price tag on some top-notch cannabis -- though to be fair, member pricing at that dispensary was capped at $45. Alpine Herbal Medicine, unfortunately, just wasn't at that level. In fact, some of the pricing seemed downright baffling. Asking members to pay $55 an eighth for things like mid-grade Lemon Skunk was hard to stomach -- even harder at $18 per gram. (That's a markup of about a buck and a quarter.) I've said this before: Charging more for the same meds just because people want to buy smaller amounts is hardly fair to patients.

Still, Harank and King must realize they can't remain competitive at this rate -- even in Cherry Creek -- because both said they're working on a lower price structure. A big part of the shift, Harank said, is that they have been working to build out their grow and streamline their harvesting process. The changes don't take effect until the start of August, though. So unless you really like overspending, I'd shop elsewhere for the next month.

Page down to see what William took home this week.

Location Info

Map

Alpine Herbal Wellness - CLOSED

445 Federal Blvd., Denver, CO

Category: General

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13 comments
Nick
Nick

William, thank you for the review.  The role of a critic is just that, to criticize andoccasionally praise.  Sue and I takeyour criticism seriously and are already making changes to address yourconcerns. We believe that any feedback, positive or negative, is an opportunityfor us, as business owners, to continue to review and improve all aspects ofour business.

 

Many criticize MMCs for prices that are higher thancaregivers without recognizing the high cost of licensing fees, leases,insurance, salaries, payroll taxes, income taxes, etc., etc., ad nauseam.  We, like most MMCs, are working hard todial in their grows and provide quality medicine at reasonably competitiveprices and earn enough money to stay in business.        

 

I would also point out that, as Theodore Roosevelt said, “Itis not the critic who counts: not the man who points out … where the doer ofdeeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually inthe arena, … who errs and comes up short …”   Althoughwe came up short in your eyes, we continue to strive to provide the highestquality medicine, service, and environment to our expanding patient base.

 

Lastly, I think your comments about the Cherry Creekcommunity are off base.  We locatedin Cherry Creek in part to help shift perspectives and educate this communityabout the value of MMJ.  It is ourbelief that we must educate the entire range of citizens as to MMJ’sbenefits.  Making disparagingcomments about any community does not advance our cause.  We need to create as big a tent aspossible to include all segments of society to push the movement forward.

Eroc
Eroc

Capped at $60 for non-members???  What a joke!  Good luck staying open through August...

How To
How To

I've said this before: charging more for the same meds just because people want to buy smaller amounts is hardly fair to patients.

Depends on your definition fair, with all the fee's MCC's have to pay then still have to make some money. If you don't think its fair grow your own. I would suggest complaining about quality, not pricing.

http://www.How-To-Open-A-Dispe...

Ken
Ken

Sounds like Wellspring, without the low prices and quality herb.  I say any patient looking for quality herb in a boutique environment go to Wellspring where 1/8's are $25.  Or Patients Choice, which is a little pricier and not as unique, but still nice.

Rev. B Baker
Rev. B Baker

review the church some time, i look for discount at the store as my primo shit takes time, got to use the common mans stuff to fill the void, and like they say know one wants to pay high prices in a recession  LOL

sweetwilly666
sweetwilly666

Not Impressed is a disgruntled MMC owner who probably had his feelings hurt by William because he probably didn't like his beasters either. The pictures William posted look like run of the mill beasters that you can score in Civic Park. Rock hard buds that look like they were run through a trim machine and then into the kif tumbler while still wet are NOT MEDICAL GRADE!!!!

Let me edit your second paragraph: Frankly, most MMC owners lack credibility having very little education on the science of the cannabinoids and infused products in particular.  Most people I know have grown tired of shitty mmj in general and I think it's time all MMC owners figure something else out if they want to be taken seriously any longer in the MMJ industry 

Stinky
Stinky

Honestly William, I love your reviews. Your a breath of fresh air in a room full of dank smoke.

Keep up the writing!!!

Not Impressed
Not Impressed

Honestly William, your reviews are pompous and narrow-minded.  You hardly keep up on the trends in the industry and you're more concerned about catering to the burnouts that own most of the Denver MMC's, not the rest of the amazing centers throughout Colorado.

Frankly, you lack credibility having very little education on the science of the cannabinoids and infused products in particular.  Most people I know have grown tired of your presence in general and I think it's time Westword figures something else out if they want to be taken seriously any longer in the MMJ industry.

Watson
Watson

That looks A LOT like the oft-wholesaled Lemon Skunk of Good Chem. Did they claim that was their cut? Hard to tell over the interwebs, but I'd be willing to bet.

William Breathes
William Breathes

There's a difference between making money and overcharging. Considering many dispensaries I visit lately have fair pricing on grams vs gram-per-eighths, I don't think my gripe is off base at all. Beyond that, the herb was overpriced based on the quality. The two kinda go hand in hand sometimes....

I understand dropping the price with volume, but that isn't really the case here considering they charge more than $350 for patients for a top shelf ounce.

Stinky
Stinky

The above post is CLEARLY not from Nick or Susan. They are very non-confrontational people.

YMMV
YMMV

Au contraire, not impressed.  William has plenty of credibility.  You seem to have your panties in a bunch over absolutely nothing.  What trends would you like to see discussed??  Give me one example. 

I suspect you own one of the dispensaries that received a negative rating on Westword.  Quality talks and bullshit walks.  It is on after July 1.  There is going to be a lot of fallout as the price wars end.  I think William provides an honest opinion that is not sugarcoated.  He calls it like he sees it, which is refreshing in an industry built on hype and smoke and mirrors. 

"Most people you know" have grown tired of William's presence??  Sounds kind of pompous and narrow-minded to me.

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