Medical marijuana dispensary review: Berkeley MMC in Mountain View (North Denver)
I had some pretty cool neighbors growing up. They lived in this adobe-style house filled with Native American artwork, unironic airbrushed wolf posters and turquoise -- lots of turquoise. This stood out in the cookie-cutter suburbia surroundings. But my folks liked them because they were genuinely nice people and would look out for my sister and me now and then -- and we'd watch their dog when they went out of town.
Looking back, I'm pretty sure they were tokers.
Berkeley MMC 4103 Sheridan Blvd. Mountain View, CO 80012 720-389-8081 www.berkeleymmc.com
Hours: 11 a.m to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Closed Sundays.
Owner/managers: Stan Johnson, Tim Mullen.
Raw marijuana prices for non-members: $10 a gram with tax. Discounts with bulk purchases and all "eighths" weighed to 4 grams.
Raw marijuana prices for members: $9 a gram with tax. Discounts with bulk purchases and all "eighths" weighed to 4 grams.
Online menu: Yes, but not updated.
Other types of medicine: Vendor edibles.
Handicap accessible? No.
Like my old neighbors' place, the adobe-plastered walls of Berkeley MMC's two-story former house stand out in the otherwise single-story working-class neighborhood. The shop is just down the way from Lakeside Amusement Park, which, incidentally, is a pretty fun place to go after a good toke session (recreationally, of course). Parking was easy enough to find on the side of the shop.
Inside, the walls of the home's former living room are painted a royal purple, blue, green and turquoise, which would give it a funhouse feel if the look wasn't pulled together with Native American rugs, paintings and photographs hung on nearly every inch of space. The place had the feel of a Southwestern art gallery in Santa Fe, minus the pretentious art snobs and New Yorkers dressed in Navajo prints. Owner Stan Johnson says the accents come from a family member who deals in Indian art.
The receptionist is located in what was probably the old dining room. The day I was in, owner and grower Stan was behind the counter and greeted me with a friendly hello and a handshake. No paperwork to fill out, so I didn't get a chance to sink into the blue-velvet chairs in the lounge. Stan just copied my red card and ID and sent me back to my waiting budtender just beyond a set of French doors in the bud room.
The budtender was a gal about my mom's age with a smoky voice and the slight accent of someone from one of the Dakotas. She joked around with me about my being too young to remember the good old days, and we spent about five minutes talking about everything from the changing of the aspen leaves to life in a small town. I enjoy a good budtender chat now and then, much like a happy-hour hero enjoys a conversation with an affable bartender.
We eventually got down to the herb, which was kept in large jars below the glass counter of the bud bar. The shop had smaller sample jars for patients to browse through on top of the counter, and the budtender went through the strains with me one by one. The opening and closing of the sample jars over the week had depleted any of the smell reserves left in them, but otherwise the buds looked to be good representations of the overall stock.
On the lower end was an early-cut Sugar Bowl with a strange mossy smell and a blended jar of Hapa Haze, SSR and some other mystery buds. Nothing would take home any awards at a cannabis contest, but Berkeley did have some decent White Rhino with short, stubby buds and a subtle hashy smell, healthy-looking chunks of Headband and a frosted example of Strawberry Cough. After the visit, Stan and co-owner Tim Mullen told me everything is done in-house using a modified coco fiber/hdyroponic setup; they keep a small strain stock going and tend to shelve only a few strains at a time. "We're really a boutique shop," Tim said. "We aren't going to be able to keep up with the 1,000-plant grows that way."
As I was saying before, the owners are all older tokers who have been around since back in the day, when a dime bag cost a dime. Not to say they don't know their herb, by any means. But my budtender advised me to wipe out the bowl of my pipe before taking a hit of the Strawberry Cough just to be sure I got the taste. It was a sweet gesture, and the way she said it sounded like she had recently learned the joy of fruity strains and a clean glass bowl. Maybe years of toking doobies and having wood pipes will do that to you? Still, while I clean out my pipes almost daily at this stage in my life, I made it a point to find a clear glass piece the first time I tried it out, just to respect the instructions that came with my medicine.
Aside from the bud, the shop also had a unique collection of vintage mechanized wooden cigarette dispensers from the 1930s and 1940s on display. Instead of simply showing off the kitschy oddities, the staff put them to use, packing them up with house joints to hand out to patients. I'm now on the lookout for such a contraption for my office.
The budtender offered to break up my four-gram bag any way I wanted, so I picked three strains and had her bag them up. First visit gets member prices of right around $40 with tax. A second visit will cost about $5 more on a bag if you don't sign them up. Also, the owners recently stopped taking credit cards because they can't find a company to process them -- a growing problem among dispensaries in general. There is an ATM on site, but pull cash out from your bank ahead of time to spare yourself the service fees.
Overall, the quality won't bring my pot-snobby ass back any time soon, but there were some decent meds, and I can see how the friendly vibe and overall quality would be an attraction for an older crowd...maybe even my old neighbors.
Page down for pictures and reviews of the strains William Breathes took home.