Medical marijuana dispensary review: The Wellness Shop in Denver
The green and white paint job of The Wellness Center stands out along a drab of East Evans like a bowl of dank in a sea of schwag. But it isn't until you park that the actual size of the building comes into focus. The place is huge, which owners say fits the concept of a completely self-sustaining cannabis business perfectly.
The Wellness Shop
5885 E. Evans Ave. in Denver
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.
Owner/manager: Jeremy and Jennifer
Opened: May 2010
Raw marijuana prices for members: $12/gram, tax not included.
Raw marijuana prices for non-members: $14/gram, tax not included.
Other types of medicine: Hash, edibles, tinctures, all made in-house.
Handicap accessible? Yes, fully ADA compliant.
The shop has an Eastern vibe going, with statues of Buddha, tapestries of repeating Om symbols, Japanese-style bamboo mats and world trance music pounding out of a stereo in some back room. It reminded me of the entire city and idea that is Boulder.
Finally, the woman ahead of me finished up and my budtender, co-owner Jennifer, came out to greet me and give me a brief tour of the space before taking me back to the bud bar. She pointed out rooms for yoga classes as well as another space where The Wellness Shop plans to build an infused-product kitchen.
Several rooms were either closed off by doors or had curtains hung over the front. But a massive grow was clearly located somewhere in the building, because the smell of organic material and blended cannabis strains wafted through the place. It's amazing what pseudo-legality can do. Just a few years ago, this was the type of smell problem you would want to avoid at all costs. Today, it's just part of doing business. The shop used to offer massage and yoga in some of the pace, but it's since shut the two down due to lack of interest. Co-owner Jeremy says he hopes to turn the space into a community meeting room.
We eventually made it back to the bud bar, which was a cozy, tiny space compared to the rest of the shop. Its style was more multi-ethnic, with another Japanese-style bamboo matt and a brightly colored oil painting of three olive-skinned women holding gifts behind the bar, which stood in the middle of the room. Herb could be found in mismatched jars along two of the back walls, while edibles, tinctures and assorted cannabis smoking utensils were kept in the glass and wooden cabinet that made up the bar space.
Jennifer really knew her shit and was a blast to talk to, rattling off the genetics of each strain I asked her to pull down and giving an anecdote about how she reacted to them. A lot of the strains looked to be grown really well, but when the top came off the jar, they lacked the distinct punch in smell I was expecting. For example, the cut of OG Kush just didn't have the rubbery tang you want, despite a well-developed flower and heaping spoonfuls of trichomes. There were similar issues with cuts of the Bananna Kush, Gucci and P-Phunk -- despite all looking mouth-wateringly good, with proper trimming and glowing crystals under the light.
The shop also had two types of hash in stock, both overpriced at $50 and $40 a gram. Not that the quality was bad, but compared to Essential Extract's "solventless wax" icewater hash that sells for under $40 a gram, it was hard to fork over any money for concentrates this week.
In all, the center had above-average, warehouse-quality meds that could use just a little bit more TLC in their final stages before hitting the shelves. It's not a huge issue by any means, and certainly nothing the shop can't change with a few more days of curing on the next harvest.
What they could change now, though, is the pricing.
I went to check out, thinking that my split eighth for $40 and half-gram of hash for $16 put me at a reasonable $56. But the shop doesn't include taxes in its pricing (due to the new law, my budtender said). So I ended up paying over $60 -- and that's including member pricing that reduced the price by 20 percent. Nonmembers would end up paying well over $50 for just an eighth, which is pretty hard to stomach these days. Jeremy noted that the shop tries hard to keep things in house, and as such, the cost of doing business is a bit higher than at other centers -- but he took note of my suggestion to consider a price drop.
Page down for strain reviews and photos.