Medical marijuana dispensary review: Lightshade Labs in northeast Denver

Categories: Marijuana

An older shot from Google.
With every trip back and forth to Denver International Airport this summer to pick up visiting friends and family, I've become increasingly excited for the light-rail train to DIA. Not only will it finally put Denver up there with other real cities that have real public rail transportation from their airports to city centers, but it means that I will never again have to pick up or drop off anyone at the airport, which will keep trips through I-70 traffic to a minimum. I imagine that most of the metro area is in agreement that this will be to a greater good.

Lightshade Labs

11975 40th Avenue
Denver, CO 80239

Hours: 9 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sundays.
Raw marijuana price range: $20-$30/eighth-ounce, $125-$175/ounce. Members also receive additional monthly discounts.
Raw marijuana price range (non-members): $25-$25/eighth-ounce, $150-$200/ounce.
Other types of medicine: BHO, icewater hash, marijuana butter, tinctures, lotions, drinks.
Online menu? Yes (with current test results)
Handicap-accessible? Yes.

Of course, without that drive, I would have no clue that the Denver Mattress factory bursts into a psychedelic wonderland of flashing colors at night. I also wouldn't have found Lightshade Labs' location on 40th Avenue in north Denver, with its back to the interstate and massive "DISPENSARY" sign on the building.

Bins of pre-packaged joints, grams, eighths, quarters, etc.
The location is the second for Lightshade Labs, which also operates out of the former Heartland Dispensary location north of the Park Hill golf course. Technically, it's still the same shop -- just with a new name. Apparently, an actual pharmacy named Heartland Pharmacy in Maine or Michigan sent over a cease-and-desist order, and so Lightshade Labs was born. As for this second location, it was formerly another dispensary as well: Colorado Farms, Inc., which takes up about two-thirds of a small industrial warehouse center on 40th Avenue.

I pulled up and parked between two cars that were still running, full of bodies waiting on whoever was inside to finish up their two-ounce purchases. By comparison, the three grams of medicine I eventually brought home were a drop in the bucket for the shop, which must have cleared about six of the $175 ounces during the fifteen minutes I was visiting. There's a small waiting room up front, painted bright white, with a few magazines strewn about a table. I was greeted by a receptionist just beyond a glass partition. A huge flat-screen TV was hung on the wall to the left, though nothing was on the day I was in; to the right are a water fountain and an ATM, though the store also still takes credit cards.

After a few minutes of the girl behind the counter inputting my information, I was buzzed through a security door to the inner workings and the bud-bar area. While it seems like this Lightshade Labs would have a sizable bud area, it actually felt cramped; the receptionist area seems to take up more of the space than the customer bud bar does.

Lightshade Labs Girl Scout Cookies.
White counters everywhere give the place a clean, fast-fashion retail feel -- as if H&M sold Sour Diesel. Bud is stored in small half-ounce sample jars at three customer stations to the left as you walk in the door. The ganja stock for patients is pre-weighed in sealed baggies and kept in bins in a tall, pantry-like shelf unit behind the receptionist area. Once you make your selection, the budtender rings up a receipt and you turn around and hand it to another dispensary worker, who fishes your order out of the bins full of buds. Edibles are kept along the back wall, hung up on pegs and displayed here and there along the counter.

As a first-time patient, you receive member pricing and a $10 eighth of in-house Lavender Jones -- a tangerine-haze-smelling strain that looked decent if maybe a little bit warehouse-generic, with a tight machine trim. It was the first jar my budtender, a shorter guy with the slick look of a used-car salesman, pulled out for me to look at. Before I could even finish getting a whiff of the strain, he was asking me: "So, do you want that?"

I hadn't even looked at the other buds on the shelf yet, so his pushiness came off as "We need to get rid of this mediocre strain of which we have an abundance." I told the guy that, no, I was hoping to find something more interesting and better grown, and made him start pulling out sample jars for me to look at.

Page down for the rest of the review and photos.

Location Info



11975 40th Ave., Denver, CO

Category: General

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I picked Light Shade for membership because they are the closest to where I live, and they renewed my redcard for $50. I've been very pleased with the raw MJ I've purchased there.

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