Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Satica Wellness in Denver

Weedar: the sixth sense you have for finding quality herb. Mine usually operates pretty well and has come in handy both here in Colorado and during world travels, when finding the pot-friendly who can get the sticky-icky can come in handy. So either my weedar wasn't working over the last few years, or Satica wasn't good (or bad) enough to make a blip. It could also have something to do with location. I think you could throw a rock and hit Aurora from Satica's sidewalk. And not the Aurora you're thinking of, either. Nope, this is the boring, office-park-filled part that gerrymanders its way into the southeast part of Denver.

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Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Herbal Wellness in Lafayette
The lobby and bud-bar walls of Herbal Wellness are literally covered with framed head shots of random celebrities, all signed (I assume) to the owner, mostly from people who were big in the '70s, '80s and '90s. Some I got, like Cheech and Chong. But for most of them, I didn't understand the connection to legal weed at all. Like John Wayne and numerous 1960s-era baseball players.

I briefly wondered how someone like Dolly Parton would feel about her mug and autograph hanging in a weed store as if she'd been there and endorsed it. Then I figured she couldn't give two shits and probably sends the same "best wishes" photo to guys serving life in prison, too.

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Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Helping Hands Herbals in Boulder

Tangerine Sunrise from Helping Hands Herbals.
I'll admit it: Although some shops do a better job than others (hence, what I do), the majority offer the same two- or three-dozen strains as everyone else. It is not necessarily a bad thing (and I know I sound spoiled even mentioning it), but after a while, I can get slightly bored by the same Kush crosses and classic Dutch flowers. It's rare to find a dispensary with unique in-house strains and crosses -- and that's exactly what makes Boulder's Helping Hands Herbals such a refreshing place.

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Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Whole Meds in the Highlands

The purple paint is gone from the exterior, as is the "Kushism" sign that was once on the front porch. But the reminder of the shop that starred in one of my worst reviews ever (and the dirt weed the shop was selling at the time) still makes me shudder. Whenever I drive past 3355 West 38th Avenue, I get a bad case of MDTSD: Marijuana-Dispensary Traumatic Stress Disorder. That is, up until a few months ago when I noticed some other business had moved in. It dawned on me that even if the new shop was half-assed, that would still be enough to outweigh the negative impression left by the former tenant and I could get on with my life in peace.

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Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Golden Meds in North Denver

The thing that's going to turn people away from Golden Meds isn't the shop or the herb. It's the parking lot. Even with nobody around, it's a mess of broken concrete, potholes filled with oily water and bags' worth of garbage blowing around and stacking up on the curbs. Neither does it help that Golden Meds' neighbors include a cut-rate pawnshop and the center as a whole is in a forgotten corner of Montbello on the north side of I-70 that seems to be mostly populated by big rig trucks, fast food joints and gas stations. You probably wouldn't have moved to this area of town to buy cannabis before a state-legal medical cannabis dispensary opened up. That is, unless you had a sketchy dealer who liked to meet in what he thought was a stereotypically sketchy drug-dealing spot.

All of which doesn't set up high expectations for the dispensary itself, frankly. But that's also what made finding the surprisingly high-quality buds inside that much more rewarding.

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Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Buddy Boy Brands in Denver

I truly try to not pay attention to advertising in the cannabis world. I've gone so far as to put adblocker on my browser and I don't flip past the music venue notices in my own newspaper to the "green" part of the book. I know ad revenue is what butters my bread at the end of the day, but it doesn't matter who does or doesn't advertise in this (or any other) publication.

But spend enough time in enough dispensary waiting rooms and you can't help but notice the onslaught of PR that Buddy Boy Brands is putting out for the opening (re-opening, actually) of seven (soon to be eight) medical dispensaries.

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Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: The Green Solution in Denver

The Green Solution on the first day of recreational cannabis sales.
The Green Solution's dual recreational and medical shop on West Alameda reminds me of an old-school shopping mall. There's the Spencer's Gifts side, with the random assortment of pot-related stuff like Green Solution sandals, novelty pot leaf ice cube trays and other trinkets: Who knew you could make a pipe out of a Frisbee? Then there's the Apple store influence for the shop's relatively clean layout of pot, edibles and concentrates and upbeat, hip-looking associates. And then you've got the Abercrombie and Fitch aspect: blasting music that makes you want to shop quickly and get out.

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Marijuana: MMJ Patient Numbers Drop Slightly Despite High Rec Prices, Lawmakers' Fears

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Despite lawmakers' claims that MMJ patient numbers are growing because of people trying to avoid recreational taxes on pot, patient numbers actually dropped slightly between May and June to 113,506 total red-card holders (down about 1,700 people). In fact, the only population that seems to be increasing on the registry are minors, whose numbers grew from 335 at the end of May to 357 at the end of June.

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Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: Mind, Body, Spirit Wellness Clinic in Lakewood

Mind, Body, Spirit Wellness Clinic feels old-school -- if that can even be a thing for a dispensary that is only a few years old. But it does. It's got a vintage suburban Lakewood storefront vibe thanks to its small, 1940s-era stucco building, featuring a curved, glass-brick entrance. And inside, the somewhat loosey-goosey nature of the products crammed on the shelves and in cabinets feels more mom-and-pop than cannabis commercial.

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Marijuana: Could Colorado Springs Approve 26 Percent Tax on Recreational Pot?

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Colorado Springs voters could decide whether to allow recreational cannabis sales in the city next April -- if, that is, pro-pot and anti-pot city leaders can find some common ground first. Recreational cannabis sales are currently banned in the Springs because of a city council vote last year, but in recent months councilwoman Jill Gaebler has been working to get a measure on the April 2015 ballot that would give voters the chance to repeal that ban. Her goal was to have council approve the proposal on August 11; if it failed then, she said, the public would still have time to collect enough signatures for a citizen initiative.

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