Medical marijuana dispensary review: Herbal Remedies in Denver

While recreational marijuana sales still offer the thrill of buying pot legally for those not accustomed to it, a trip to the medical marijuana dispensary for longtime MMJ patients tends to be about as mundane and normal as a trip to the grocery store or cashing a check.

Which actually makes the bank-like interior of Herbal Remedies in Denver (pretty much Lakewood) that much more appropriate.

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Photos: Here's why Denver's 4/20 rally isn't a rally anymore
Photo by Kyle Huninghake; click to see our complete 4/20 at Civic Center Park slide show.
"I remember when this was, like, a hundred white kids out here smoking weed under the trees here on 4/20 protesting the government. Now look at this. We're waiting in line for twenty minutes just to get patted down by security just to get in the park. This is awesome, man."

The guy behind me in the twenty-minute-plus line to get into Civic Center Park on Sunday summed up my thousands of (hazy) thoughts pretty well. As awesome as it was to see so many people in the park for 4/20, the days of it being an actual rally are gone.

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Photos: William Breathes's top eleven products of the 2014 High Times Cannabis Cup

William Breathes.
Editor's note: Our marijuana critic spent the day at both the High Times Cannabis Cup and the 4/20 rally concert at Civic Center Park. We'll have full coverage of events in the coming days.

In the meantime, check out his top ten eleven pipes and products on display out in the open-use recreation area.

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Medical marijuana dispensary review: Elevate Wellness Center in Denver
Elevate Wellness Center.
As I said a few weeks ago, if you're going to open your doors to the public, I'm not going to be concerned with how much time you've had to iron out the kinks. The bud is grown at that point, and there's no changing what's on your shelves until the next harvest. I still feel that way. But I still partially regret the timing of my visit to the newly opened Elevate Wellness Center, which seems to have lined up all the right factors for a great dispensary but didn't have a single nugget of its own herb on the shelf.

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Medical marijuana dispensary review: The Purple Dragon in Denver

One of the first dudes I ever got stoned with in high school was a super metal-head named Eric who was into Dungeons and Dragons, wizards, warlocks and Tolkein novels. His room at his mom's house, where we would smoke after school, was a tribute to all of these things, featuring black-light posters, Graffix skull bongs and and a collection of dragon statues and figurines. It's been twenty years, but I distinctly remember a large lavender-and-green beast breathing a plume of orange fire out of it's mouth.

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Medical marijuana dispensary review: Kind Meds in Denver

My high school didn't have shop class. The only way we could learn about using power tools was through tech theater classes, in which we were used as slave labor to build sets for the plays. That also included painting faux wood finishes that looked great at twenty feet but completely horrid on close inspection. I dredged this memory up the instant I walked into Kind Meds and saw the thick, hand-brushed, brown-red stain on the doors, doorframes and the window molding. From twenty feet away, it probably looks a bit like fancy oak or mahogany . The only problem is you can't get twenty feet away in a dispensary that is only ten feet wide, so instead it looks like cheap birch with a heavy stain.

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Cannabis Time Capsule, 1913: Pulp fiction meets hash fables

Ever wonder what fictional American millionaire playboys did for kicks 100 years ago (aside from Gatsby)? Us neither. But cannabis is a funny thing, and once again our digging has dusted off a gem of marijuana writing from Colorado's past about American millionaire Paul Lane and his romantic adventures from the Wet Mountain Tribune.

On tap for Halloween night, 1913? Another wild tale of Paul Lane, this time in far away Delhi for "The Misplaced Dream."

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Medical marijuana dispensary review: Reserve 1 in Glendale

I used to care about waiting a few months to review a new dispensary -- but I've since changed my mind.

If a shop is going to open its doors to the general public, then it shouldn't matter when I visit. The kinks in the shop might need more time to be ironed out, but the kinks in the grow room will take months to get sorted.

Which brings us to the newly opened Reserve 1 in Glendale.

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Medical marijuana dispensary review: DenverDam

Google maps.
Remember when you'd go over to your friendly neighborhood pot dealer's house and he would only have one strain of herb to offer you -- but, hey, it was weed, so it didn't really matter? Me, neither. It's been way too long since that's been the case, considering the hundreds of ganja varieties for sale here. Which made it all the more bewildering when I visited DenverDam to find one strain of herb on the shelf and no hope for more until the next day's harvest arrived from the grow house. And apparently, that can happen daily.

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Medical marijuana dispensary review: Alive Herbal Medicine in Denver

More photos below.
Alive Herbal Medicine seems out of place. Not because it's situated in the small Sunnyside neighborhood next to a residential area, or because the corrugated tin barn of a building looks like it belongs on a farm and not off a busy interstate in the middle of Denver. What feels out of place is where it's located in town. Specifically, the shop seems like it belongs on South Broadway or Federal along with the dozens of other warehouse-grade medical-pot clearinghouses -- although its publicity photos definitely make it stand out.

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