Medical marijuana dispensary review: Trill Alternatives in Boulder

Categories: Marijuana

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Trill Alternatives is on the quiet end of Pearl Street in Boulder, next door to the Mountain Sun brewpub, and it's definitely worth stopping by for your meds if you are a dispensary shopper.

If you sign them up as your primary center, that is.

Trill Alternatives

1537 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO 80302

Hours: 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
Marijuana prices for members: $13/gram, $33/3.5 grams, $55/quarter ounce, $108/half ounce, $200/ounce for mid-tier; $13/gram, $40/3.5 grams, $75/ quarter ounce, $140/half ounce, $250/ounce for top tier. All patients get 20 percent discount on weekends.
Marijuana prices for non-members: $50/eighth.
Online menu? Yes.
Handicap-accessible? No.

Things were busy the day I was in. I had to wait a good ten minutes for the three people in front of me to finish up before I was led behind the security door by the receptionist and given a brief tour of the stone-walled inner confines and bud-bar area.

The place is cozy, with dark wood floors, low ceilings and dim lighting adding to the moody feel. To the right is a small patient waiting area with leather chairs, but the main focus is the backwards-Z-shaped counter arrangement. Hash is up front, mid-tier herb in the middle, and top-shelf herb along the back in a third wood-and-glass counter. Along the wall to the left, the shop has compiled a pretty impressive selection of smoking tools such as vaporizers, as well as portable e-cig-style vapes and replacement cartridges.

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Ointments, edibles and other paraphernalia were laid out in boxes and cubbies along the walls. Ingestible ganja options were pretty diverse. The mostly third-party cookies, treats and drinks -- and prices -- seem on par with every other shop, but unlike many of them, Trill also carries infused butters and oils for those of you looking to make your own stoney foods.

Trill Alternatives is clearly looking at things from a different angle than the open market that is Denver. The shop gives all first-timers a card worth three visits, at member pricing ranging from $33 to $40 depending on quality. But if you haven't signed the shop up as your primary center after those three visits, prices are jacked up to the ridiculously high non-member level of $50 an eighth across the board on both mid- and top-shelf strains. This means that while a patient is paying a little more than $33 for an eighth, a non-patient is going to be paying street prices from four years ago.

Hopefully nobody is going in and paying that, either, because it just isn't worth it. Being used to the Denver scene, where non-member pricing is still higher but almost never that much higher, it's hard for me to be okay with it. But again, I get what Trill Alternatives is doing -- and I can't deny that it's a pretty good sales pitch: Get patients hooked on your top-shelf meds, then jack up the price on them so they either sign you up as a caregiver or go elsewhere. The shop does have plenty of room for patients right now, according to a manager I spoke with. And the MMC has plenty of current patients, judging by the number of people in line behind me when I walked out.

If the quality wasn't as good as it is on the high end, this plan probably wouldn't work. But strains like Trill's Ghost OG and OG Sin were definitely worth coming back for a second time. Both had an amazing silver sheen to the cone-shaped buds; opening the jar stunk up the air in front of my face immediately. No need to put your face down in these jars to get a whiff. Same goes for the ripe orange smell of the Tangerine Haze and the fresh-turned-earth Sour Kush. A few weren't as pungent, like the bland Blue Dream, but all were enticing -- especially knowing I was only paying $40 member pricing for an eighth. Ounces are capped at $250 for members, and the manager told me the shop is about to bring in its latest harvest this the shelves will be stocked with coco-fiber-grown organic goodness.

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For the most part, the quality difference between the $33 lower shelf and the top shelf was pretty evident. On the low end, buds seemed to still be well produced, but several of the strains, like the 4-Way, seemed to have been rushed to the shelf with little or no time allowed to cure. Others, like the NYC Diesel and its potent (and strange) tangerine smell, were simply underdeveloped. A few jars were down to the last gram or so, which looked especially puny inside the tall, rectangular glass jars. But at least one strain -- the earthy and rich Chocolope -- was worth considering alongside the top-shelf jars. All mid-tier strains were capped at $200 an ounce.

Hash selection was impressively large and diverse (and, for the most part, spendy). Trill's full-melt selection was an enticing mix of blended strains like Golden Goat and several OG hybrids -- all perfectly sifted before being left to dry and cure to a waxy, pebbly consistency. The catch is that the high-end hash starts at $40 a gram, and that's for members as well. It goes as high as $50 per gram, which frankly isn't worth it for any hash.

Granted, the stuff was on par with the best solventless wax from Essential Extracts -- but Essential Extracts stuff is capped at $35 at most dispensaries around Denver. Trill also had a lower-priced full-melt that went for $40/gram; it was equally well-produced, and I ended up taking some home. BHO was selling for between $35 and $40 a gram, and the center also had standard bubble hash going for a fair $20/gram. Member pricing on hash is slightly lower depending on what quality you're going for. Also, Wednesdays is 20 percent-off hash day. Take advantage, man. Take advantage.

Overall, the shop is worth considering as your primary center, since $30-$40 an eighth is a fair pricing range. On the downside, though, Trill Alternatives' extreme price jump from member to non-member discourages people who may have a caregiver or another shop as their primary center from occasionally enjoying variety when all of Trill's herb sells at $50-plus for 3.5 grams. The woman I spoke with agreed and said that finding a way to strike a better balance on pricing has been a topic of conversation around the shop in recent weeks.

To be fair, the shop does offer discount, $25/eighth daily specials for patients and non-patients, $8 mixed grams, and a jar of shake selling for something like $30 per scoop. And patients get 20 percent off all herb all weekend long. But not being in Boulder often, I'll probably be through with Trill Alternatives once I finish my punch card -- until the non-member pricing comes down to a more reasonable rate.

Page down for strain reviews and photos.

Location Info


Trill Alternatives

1537 Pearl St., Boulder, CO

Category: General

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My Voice Nation Help

WW is still refusing to publish whether or not these dispensaries have a state license. How is it possible that the state has granted 200+ MMC licenses, but no one has ever actually seen one. Come on, Ww, stop being a schill for the mmj industry and do some real reporting. Please post a picture of this business' license to sell medical marijuana.


 @Patient My dispensary has had its license posted since April, posted on the wall next to their sales tax license and City license




We don't ask for or run license numbers in any of our other reviews we run of bars, restaurants, clubs, music venue, etc. If they are open, it is generally assumed they are licensed -- or in the case of dispensaries: that they are at least in the licensing process. Either way, it is COMPLETELY LEGAL under state law for them to be selling cannabis and for patients to be shopping there.


Because of that, whether an MMC has a license or is in the process of getting a license has no bearing on how I chose a shop. I don’t call shops ahead of time to verify anything. If they are open for business to the general public, then they are fodder for a review.


Now, if MMCs (or bars or restaurants or clubs, etc.) are remaining open after being denied or are operating completely illegally (which is highly unlikely in the MMJ world unless you're a moron), that's the state's problem - and fodder for our numerous news stories and follow ups on the matter.


For example the other week when we listed places who have been verified to be licensed in a news story.


Frankly, if you don’t trust our reporting on that then I’m not sure what a photocopy of a paper license will do to convince you that licenses have been issued. And finally, just because you haven't seen one doesn't mean they don't exist. I see them hanging in dispensaries all the time. But again, it isn't relevant to my reviews so I don't include it in them.


That said, I understand that it is a factor for some people when choosing where to go (along with any number of other things), so we make sure to list the contact information at the top of every single review we have ever run. That is specifically for patients like you to use to call a dispensary and ask them any further questions you may have that might effect your decision to shop there.


Hope that helps answer your question. Thanks for reading my reviews week after week.


 @nugglife Please post a link to it on the Internet so that we all may see it.


 @WillBreathes  "Verified" list. Hahahaha! What a joke your reporting is. There is no official seal on that list, no identifying marks from where it came, and most importantly NO license numbers. It could have come from anywhere. And has MANY discrepancies, if the comments to the story are to be believed.


Remember in your comparison to restaurants, bars, etc. that MJ is ILLEGAL UNDER FEDERAL LAW. None of those other places are, so your comparison is moot. It IS important for patients to know that these dispensaries have been granted a state license. They are NOT entirely legal if they haven't been licensed, and they are still illegal under federal law even if they have a secret license.  Many of these dispensaries have been BUSTED before they have been granted or denied a license, so that argument is MOOT too.


If you really do see licenses posted "all the time", why couldn't you do the public a service of posting them? Please? Just ONE? So that we could actually see that they do exist. There is NOT ONE license from any MMC posted anywhere on the internet.


WHY DO YOU REFUSE TO VET THESE DISPENSARIES PROPERLY????? This is the definition of shoddy journalism.


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