Medical marijuana dispensary review: Universal Herbs in Denver
Maybe it's just me and I've visited too many dispensaries in the last five years, but sometimes the names of these shops sound like heavy, stoner-rock bands from the '70s. Like,"'Did you see the festival lineup for Hemp Fest, man? Kind Love, Nature's Kiss, Good Chemistry, Standing Akimbo and, dude, Universal Herbs is headlining!" I had that thought about Universal Herbs the other week and laughed to myself as I walked in the front doors, no doubt looking like a showered and cleaner version of the crazies that meander up and down Park Avenue on a regular basis.
Unviersal HerbsI thought Universal Herbs was one of the most recent dispensaries to start doing business in Denver, opening up just before the new year in what I assumed was an attempt to start off as medical, then make an early transition to recreational. But after my visit, I realized it's the former Apothecary of Colorado under a new name, owners and locations.
800 Park Ave West
Denver, CO 80205
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
Raw marijuana price range: $7-$12 gram $25-$40/eighth-ounce, $160-$190/ounce.
Other types of medicine: Edibles, BHO "flake", vaporizers and vaporizer refills
Online menu? Yes.
And so far, thirty days into recreational sales, the shop has remained a medical marijuana dispensary and my budtenders told me there's no plan to switch over.
Universal Herbs has parking just west of the storefront, next to the schizophrenic taqueria that also advertises Philly cheese steaks. The shop looks somewhat sketchy from the outside, with the owners leaving up all of the gridded metal ironwork over the doors and windows, like they're deathly afraid of the foot traffic from a few shelters and outreach centers nearby.
Universal Herbs' bud bar during their move-in.
When I entered the store, I was greeted by a woman in her twenties; she was behind the low, store-width front counter. Behind her was an unnecessary amount of space devoted to the shop's offices, with a boardroom table and huge desks setup. Patients sit across from all of this on plastic chairs and the whole thing has a public utilities feel, as if you're buying pot from the DMV. The only thing missing was one of those old-school red numbered-ticket dispensing machines.
In the back, an all-female budtender staff was busy weighing out shake jars and tidying up the cases. I got the pitch right away for signing the shop up as my primary center, hearing promises of Herbs matching my first eighth, quarter and half-ounce. I politely declined and got down to looking at the herb.
Indica on one shelf, sativa on the other. But the center was low on supply the day I was in, with no more than six or seven strains on display in the glass cases. Also on hand were grams of "flake" wax that looked like pressed, rotten green cheese. I thought we were moving beyond wax like this as a community, but apparently not everyone is on the bus quite yet. Herbs also carried Aspen vaporizer pens, which sounds okay when you say the full name. But the girl kept calling them just "Aspens", which sounds an awful lot like "ass pens".
The regular-tier buds were in jars in the glass counters. Out of those eight strains, only two or three were worth bringing home. The rest were either underdeveloped, smelled like wet hay or completely mislabeled. For example, the huge, orange-pistil covered buds of the Brain OG looked identical to the Strawberry Cough. I have never seen a shop blatantly misname pot, but I know it goes on occasionally and I think this one might be the first I've actually noticed. That might not be the case, though. Maybe help is just needed in the grow room.
Continue for the rest of the review and photos.