Med. marijuana dispensary review: Groundswell Cannabis Boutique and Gallery on Colfax

groundswell.front.jpg
Groundswell's sign has the usual green, leaf-like images on it, but it looked like an art gallery the first time I drove past. Confused, I circled around and parked in a 7-Eleven parking lot to get a better look at the place, and before I knew it, I was inside. Later, owner Christopher Butler told me that's his goal: to attract people by offering the unexpected.

GroundSwell

303-309-0078
3121 East Colfax Avenue
www.groundswelldenver.com

Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week
Owner/manager: Christian Butler
Opened: June 2011
Raw marijuana prices for members: $12.50/ gram, 40/eighth, 75/quarter, 250/ounce.
Raw marijuana prices for non-members: $14.50/gram, $50/eighth $95/quarter, $285/ounce.
Other types of medicine: Edibles, hash, THC refills for eCigarette-like vaporizers, wax, caviar, breath spray.
Handicap accessible? Yes.

groundswell.gallery.jpg
The front of the space facing Colfax is separate from the actual dispensary that's used as an art gallery. Eventually, the gallery, which is open to the public, will feature local artists and provide public space for the surrounding neighborhood. "The concept is to be a neighborhood presence," Butler says. "That's why we have an art gallery up front for anyone to visit. We want to bring the public into the space to demystify the dispensary experience -- show them we're not some drug dealers moving into the neighborhood."

I wandered through the wide-open gallery while finding my way to the receptionist window, which is tucked away behind the gallery wall. Patrick, a red-haired guy behind the glass partition, greeted me, checked my paperwork and buzzed me through the security door to the right. Inside, I filled out the standard paperwork at the receptionist desk. After signing my life away to yet another dispensary, Don, my budtender (and co-owner of the shop), came in from the bud-bar room to greet me and bring me back for a tour.

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The shop is only a few months old, which helps add to the clean and fresh appearance of the decor. Butler is also an architect: He designed the space himself and says the home-grown feel of the local medical marijuana industry prompted him to use Colorado products in his design. Two of the four walls and the ceiling are lined with white, ashy pine beetle-kill wood from the high country. The wood softens the room and gives it a light, cool feeling despite the fact that it was noticeably warm inside the shop when I stopped by. In retrospect, the room felt oddly like an organic wooden version of the spaceship from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Aside from the normal edibles the shop carries, including the dangerously delicious Granny T's kettle chips, Groundswell specializes in making in-house tinctures and even a breath spray called re.fresh. I had never seen pot breath spray before, but it instantly made sense to me. Now you can clear up bong breath and take one last hit of cannabis at the same time. The shop also carried the THC cartridges for e-cigs, which my budtender told me he was quickly becoming a huge fan of, mostly because of how stealth it makes medicating.

In keeping with the gallery vibe, samples of the herb are kept on display like artwork on square porcelain plates in a glass case amid the reclaimed pine bud bar. Each plate had a small card in front of it with the strain and a very brief description of its qualities. Stunning presentation, but keeping the samples out in the light and air makes them lose some of their olfactory-pleasing qualities. Not that big a deal, as my budtender was happy to pull down the bulk jars for me to smell. Some cuts looked better than others, like the NYC Diesel and the Berry Skunk, but most looked well-dried and cured -- healthy buds from a medium-sized warehouse. Also notable was a nose-tickling Melon Haze and Pineapple Kush. Nothing basement-level, but the dozen or so strains were easily better than the Walmart-sized inventory some shops carry.

Butler said the shop only has about sixteen in-house strains, which they like to focus on and rotate in and out. The idea is to not overwhelm patients with shelves full of similar strains while still offering a wide selection of medically beneficial herb. Herb is grown in a soil mix, and though the rooting hormones in use aren't organic, most everything else in the process is.

The shop has decent pricing for members, with $40 eighths, $75 quarters and $250 ounces. Non-members can expect to pay about $10 to $35 more depending on amount, which is slightly on the expensive side for the weekly buyer if you aren't making them your caregiver. That's especially true with average non-member prices for comparable herb at other shops floating around $45 these days. The shop does rotate one 20-percent-off strain every day, and gives a great discount for first-time customers.

Page down to see what Breathes took home this week.


Location Info

Map

Groundswell

3121 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO

Category: General

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10 comments
Greentimmyl24
Greentimmyl24

The OG18 and the Pineapple Kush are my two favorite strains, and i will disagree with willbreathes on this one. This is hands down one of the best mmjs i have been to, very nice and clean and easily handicap accessable, knowledgeable employees who dont need to bullshit you or try to sell you something, good meds sell themselves. The OG18 is for sure "basement level" , the smell bangs like sourdiesel or any great chemdawg strain, and tastes even danker than it smells.

namijoh
namijoh

@twitter-209716066:disqus Ha! $40 member 1/8ths? Then you comment "you get what you pay for"? That may fly in the 'burbs or in JeffCo where there are smattering of dispensaries, but c'mon. Maybe you should shop around Denver a bit to come up with your pricing versus what you need to recoup your costs.Your comment "you get what you pay for" clearly places you in the same boat as the out of towners you are so quick to point out

Colorado Mmj Patient
Colorado Mmj Patient

I had the same drive by experience today.  I drove by, saw the sign, then looked closer to see it was an MMC.  Nice looking shop.  Patrick was working and was friendly.  Unfortunately I didn't get a look at their meds because I was just dropping off magazines.  

gary
gary

$50 for an eighth?  I know of places that are way cheaper, even for nonmembers.  What a rip-off!!!  

Groundswell
Groundswell

Hi Gary,

I agree, there are places that are way cheaper than us, but you get what you pay for.  This price war that was initiated by large dispensaries, mostly that came from out of state, was done to push out all the small local stores.  The prices these people are offering are not sustainable considering the excessive license fees and security/tracking requirements. Not to mention, since we live in Denver everything has to be grown indoors which leads to expensive warehouse rent and huge utility bills.  Once they have driven out a lot of the competition you will see prices go up, much like we just saw Netflix raise their prices by 60% after putting Blockbuster, Hollywood Video and countless smaller stores out of business. 

We strive to offer our customers only the highest quality medicine at competitive prices.  As I am sure you know, we are only allowed to grow product for people who list us as their caregiver.  This rule makes it especially difficult for a new Center such as ours to grow enough medicine to service the needs of our patients and Non-Members.  But, I can assure you that we have not had a single customer, member or not, who has come into our store consider us to be a rip-off. Most new people who visit us will make us their caregiver on their first visit after they realize how much better of an experience they have at Groundswell Gallery and Cannabis Boutique.

We offer great benefits to people who sign us over to be their caregiver including 50% off their first purchase, BOGO 1/8th every month and a frequent buyer points based rewards system. Plus, when they become available later this month, discounted in-house massage & acupuncture services, free/discounted on-site yoga & other wellness classes, free industry related classes and lectures.

That said, we admit we are not for everyone. Our customers are people who care more about quality, an inviting and relaxing space, and a superior shopping experience than price.  We are building a community, not just trying to take people's hard earned money. You should stop in sometime Gary and get a tour of the space and find out what makes us different.

Thanks again to William Breathes for such a great write up of our space.  We hope you can stop by again in a couple of months once we are fully up and running with all of our services.

-Scott

William Breathes
William Breathes

Gary,

$50 is my cap for herb with tax included, and I agree -- even that feels really high these days.

gary
gary

Well, I found myself in the area recently and needed to get some treats.  Feeling sheepish after realizing where I was when I walked through the front door, I went in and found the place to be quite nice, and the staff very friendly.  Anyways, I apologize for talking shit.  I was impressed and will be back again when I'm in that part of Denver.  (gary=pseudonym).

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