Medical marijuana dispensary review: Advanced Medical Alternatives (AMA)
Call it a byproduct from years of being made to feel like a felon, but I'm not the biggest fan of police. I've met a few cool cops. Still, most of them view my life as a crime in progress -- which is why I've subconsciously been avoiding shops near the downtown police station, including Advanced Medical Alternatives.
Advanced Medical Alternatives (AMA) 1269 Elati St. Denver, CO 80024 303-351-9333 www.amadispensary.com
Owner: Did not reach owner.
Opened: Did not reach owner.
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily.
Online menu: No.
Other types of medicine: In-house bubble hash, BHO, vendor edibles.
Handicap accessible? No visible ramps.
No shame in these guys' game. They took a pretty nondescript old brick building literally a stone's throw from the police station (and as they later found, right behind the Department of Homeland Security) and painted a massive green graffiti-art rendition of their dispensary name on the side of it.
I rang the buzzer on the front door and had almost turned around and walked off when I heard the lock click and owner John (at least that's what I think he said his name was) opened the door and greeted me. He was a soft-spoken, laid-back-looking middle-aged guy with a goatee and a ponytail, and although I was pretty sure I was at the right place, his initial demeanor made me wonder if I had accidentally pushed the wrong doorbell.
The unit, an incognito triplex, has been opened up to create one big space. But for its size, the spot felt almost cozy. Almost, that is, because the day I was in, the former living-room-turned-waiting room was ice-cold. I sat down on one of the chilly leather couches facing the flat-screen while John stepped through a Dutch door to what was formerly the living room of the neighboring unit to copy my card and paperwork.
The shop had a well-worn feel to it. No decoration, really -- just a few couches laid out in a way that was probably similar to when the space was still a living room.The flat-screen was tuned to a news station, which was a shame, since a vintage Atari machine was below it, begging to be played. Instead, I flipped through some of the weed magazines on the coffee table and tried to stay warm. Eventually I was called back, making my way through the half-door to the much-warmer bud bar.
Some dispensaries try to keep their bud-bar area slick, only putting out a few products at a time and sticking with simple decor in order to keep your focus on the products at hand. AMA, in contrast, takes the ADD approach, with pot-product posters hanging on the walls, practically an entire corner devoted to edibles, and a bookcase full of vintage bobblehead dolls. The shop wasn't dirty or dingy, just thrown together with the flair of a blue-collar, single straight dude. Not unlike my first house after college, actually.
John started out by asking about what I used medical cannabis for and what strains had worked for me in the past. I played a bit dumb and let him steer the exchange, pulling out his first few suggestions of AMA's Chemdawg, Bubba and Golden Goat. The first two jars didn't have the stank to them that gets the nose going nuts, but the Golden Goat did have a more strain-specific smell and classic orange-fuzz look. We chatted a bit more about my nausea problems, and he switched gears and moved to more hybrid and indica-dominant strains like Centennial Seeds' Django (Jack Flash x Blueberry) and a purple Pixie-Stix-smelling Grape Krush. When I was done looking those over, he pulled out damn near every one of more than two dozen strains in stock, including some decent outdoor Super Silver Haze and a batch of herb with popped seeds selling for $20 an eighth.
The seeds must have been an issue for AMA, because I also saw some healthy-looking beans in some of their non-discounted, $35 "top-shelf" eighths as well. I failed to reach anyone for a followup call, so I didn't get the scoop on what was going on in the grow room. As for the buds on the shelf, the big issue was how dry everything was -- which really hurt the initial bag appeal. Even John admitted during my visit that the stock had been sitting for a few weeks and some of the buds didn't smell like they should after being opened and closed so much.
AMA also carries a wide range of concentrates to match its herb selection, including two kinds of kief (dry sieve and dry ice), strain-specific bubble hash for $25 a gram, and BHO for $35 a gram. The oil was clear and had a pretty amber tone, but it was about as viscous as olive oil due to what I assume was too much solvent. I know a few oil-heads who swear it should be that way, but I -- and just about everyone else -- prefer things in a much more solid state. As usual, I didn't check out the edibles for very long, but the shop seemed to carry stock from the regular Cheeba Chews/Dixie Elixer/Mile High Ice Cream-type third-party vendors -- but the selection was massive.
All said and done, I walked out with a split eighth of herb and a half-gram of hash for just under $50. While there wasn't really anything super-special about the shop, I've added it to my list of places to revisit over the next few months, just to see if things have changed.
Page down to see what William Breathes took home this week.