Professional/Consultant - Live in Denver, now for about 10 years. Grew up and went to college in the Midwest. Into sports, golf, skiing, hiking, history, writing, and, clearly, the occasional smoke.
In the middle of the woods about 20 miles north of Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Last weekend of my freshman year of college. At night, hiking out to this big open field and no one was around for miles. Everyone else had smoked many times before - so I'm sure I was entertaining. I was certainly entertained. And, hooked. Got more hooked after chemo. Got legal in January 2011.
(Authors Note: You'll notice if you've read my other reviews that I do not give specific letter grades by point. As you read this, I'll let you form your own conclusions as to why.)
I got home on a Sunday night after a long day of skiing in January. Got my mail, and saw that it had finally arrived. By it, I'm referring to the very highly anticipated moment of becoming a law-abiding, clinical user of marijuana. And, I'd have to wait one more day to go make my first visit to a MMJ dispensary because they close at 7pm. I was very excited to go, but I also was in a position to contain my excitement. And, I figured this may be as close as I can get to the night before Christmas. On the plus side, it gave me a chance to do some research. I have been intrigued by the idea of edibles for a long time. Hmm... Google search: "Best edibles in Denver". Winner! Ganja Gourmet. Nice website. Cool menu. A really good list of different strains, with pictures. The staff looks happy in the picture and made it fairly obvious by their demeanor why they were - and I'm not talking about tie-dye shirts, I can assure you that. Cool. I'm absolutely down. Weed pizza. Weed lasagna. Free cookies. Lots of sweets. And herb. And, happy staff.
So, we'll skip to 5:30pm, Monday, January 31st. 2011. A date, I actually just realize as I write this, that has a huge significance. For a startlingly multiple number of reasons. Wow. (The lesson there is that you realize a lot of things as you try to communicate your thoughts to others in a written form - and get to edit. Go figure.)
Ah-ight. It's a cold winter night. Big snow storm. Denver drivers, singularly ill-equipped. But, I somehow managed to get turned around in a traffic jam on Broadway, and found a nice parking spot at the Hookah Bar. Habibi? Can't remember. I'll edit this later. I turn the corner, and I'm walking in. Small, classic old school Denver building. The type that's been here for a while. Nice. I have read up a bit on this place. Ganja Gourmet has been around for a while. It is well known. I missed its hay-day, when it could serve like a restaurant. And, a coffee shop. I can only imagine what kind of an intersection of different awesome people that must have been. I can't speak to it - I didn't get to see it. I bet it was cool.
My suspicion is that Ganja Gourmet is a classic victim of a rule change. One that has merit, but at the same time does not. The market changed. Now, you don't have a good chunk of your niche - but yet, you clearly still have an awesome niche. Take the rule change as nature, accept it, new rules of the game. They did it well in my book. I love Ganja Gourmet. I love the food. I eat it extremely rarely. My favorite entree is the veggie pizza ($12/slice). Their cooking instructions for frozen pizza are not correct, go lower and (much) slower, and the hit it with the broiler at the end. You've got to balance cooking versus browning. It's a good slice - lots of good veggies. Quality ingredients so far as I could tell. I can't say that I love that it's frozen. I love the Ganja Cookies - which consist of chocolate, butterscotch (my favorite sweet), and dried orange peel. BRILLIANT! At one time, you got one just for coming in. Which, is pretty cool. And, pretty smart. They throw it in now too, but now you actually have to make a purchase. If you made one anyway, it's a nice perk that keeps you coming back. If you walk in, take a look around, say: "Free Cookie", get one, bounce... Well, you're SOL. Good call. And, to the latter example - Good luck.
The staff is cool. This is a dispensary that I would imagine has a lot of regulars. I would imagine it has a ton of first timers. This is also a dispensary that has its stars on the staff, particularly because they stand out in the field here. Some of the service... eh. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt, but I'd prefer not to have to.
Would I buy bud here? I'll let you determine that for yourself. Do the edibles keep me coming back enough? Apparently. I really like to grab a slice of pizza on Saturday night before skiing Sunday, and I usually get two other edibles that get me to $25 - which then gets me a free cookie. So, slice of pizza + three edibles for about $28 out the door. That sets you up nice for Sunday - regardless of your medication preferences. Why would you do that? Edibles cut down on smoking, and work nicely for extended physical activity. Or, healing in the aftermath.
So, check it out. If you are new to the game, definitely check it out. Then, check a bunch of other places out. You'll come to your own conclusions. But, having seen a few places and having a TON of options, I will always stop by every month or two. It will always be my first.
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It seems like most people familiar with the Denver MMJ scene have heard of The Clinic. Featured on CNBC, award-winning bud, multiple locations accessible to the core of Denver's affluent and progressive (yet affluent - so, we probably should call it pragmatic) core. Look around - you've got the range of 20 somethings in their post CU, DU, Metro, CSU years - and the 20 somethings who moved here (from the Midwest? Big Ten school?) - and late 20 somethings and 30 somethings who are making some money and can indulge with MMJ like they are buying nice wine or (gasp!) shopping regularly at Whole Foods and Sunflower because they started to figure out that you literally ARE what you eat (and, smoke... ), and quality is worth the investment - and you've got the 30 to 60 (I've seen 70, too) somethings of Park Hill, Cherry Creek, U-Hills, DU, Wash Park, Cap Hill, and (gasp!) Cherry Hills, Cherry Creek North, Belcaro, the NICE parts of Cap Hill, Congress Park, Park Hill. It is the core of progressive (er, pragmatic) Colorado. ... This is the sort of place where you could conceivably run into your parents or their significant other. Or, your kid. This is the potential customer base to become the Trader Joe's of MMJ. I'll be interested to see if they can capitalize on it.
PLUS: Excellent (A+) selection of $12 a gram (mix and match, A+) - $40 an 1/8th MMJ - which is consistently good quality. Member prices. Several strains have been recognized (GGB, being the most well-known). Good options across the board for indica, sativa, hybrids - also, edibles, concentrates (I have not tried their Banana Kush Caviar - $30 a gram - but it looks amazing). I've purchased several of their white logo lighters, which subsequently disappear at my regular Tuesday night poker game. I'm not sure how WeedMaps work, but I would happily recommend a large variety of their strains. I literally have 8 in front of me now - again, the beauty of their generous gram by gram prices (A+). The overall bud quality (A-) is balanced by the price. Yes. There is better bud. However... At $12 a gram, especially with the ability to get variety by gram by gram purchases (A++), it makes up for it. I have had some bomb herb - but it's $50 an 1/8th... and funny, somehow $56 after tax. Also, The Clinic has a buy eight, get one (1/8th) free on $40+ purchases. That's basically $5 off of every $40+ if you buy eight times. I recommend buying 4 grams or 3 grams and an edible. Keep your punch card. The Clinic, you should put this in your computer so that I don't have to carry a punch-card (B-), especially if you are someone's care-giver (D).
PLUS: Staff. Very nice (A+) bunch of folks. Generally a younger (24-28ish +/-) crew. Mix of men and women. Clearly smart and easy going. They don't strike you as burn outs. They are the above-listed group of Denverites, just like the clientele. They've got a good knowledge, and seem to have a good understanding of what's good. They tend to have a fairly conventional way of discussing types and effects (A-/ or B+, at times). I'm definitely one for a detailed analysis of effects. HOW does it hit you, body, mind, feeling, etc. Words like strong, not strong, harsh, sweet-smelling, ect. ... eh. Kinda vague. Over-reliance of Full-Spectrum analysis. It's like boiling wine or good beer down to alcohol content. Not (necessarily) a good indicator of quality. BUT! This is my critique of 99% of the people I've dealt with at any level when it comes to MMJ, so before I go too negative, I will add that they always give you the best buds available, they weigh it out in front of you, and they don't skimp. They don't seem to push their lower quality product as some dispensaries will do. Which is smart, considering they deal with a relatively sophisticated customer base. They are happy to let you smell stuff, and talk through a bunch of options, and don't seem to have EVER minded gram by gram purchases when I've done it. Which is frequently. I've been to places where they can act like you're doing them a favor. To me, that earns my business (A+). They are a professional crew.
PLUS, or MINUS: Mainly plus. Fairly sterile environment - which is anonymous, and professional. Not really a "Lifestyle" or "Destination" dispensary. Kinda like a ... clinic. Go figure. People don't hang out. But, I've never felt rushed. I feel like when I go in, I've never had the inclination to look at another customer and shake my head. It's all regular, normal people. I'm usually in a suit. There's an old guy in a nice cardigan, career women, 25-35 men/women who are making good money but not super ambitious or pretentious (good ole' Denver). 20-28 guys who aren't personally affluent yet - their parents are, though. Younger members of the stoner-chique, in all their forms. It's not a place to hang out, and it doesn't really foster interaction with other clientele - but you get plenty with your tender. That is very friendly and professional, but it fails to really engage on the philosophical level. Clinical. I'll mention, I do like that they've got The CannaBible and Books of Bud out on the coffee table. It's never a long wait, but that gets me super excited to try new things. They have those damn full spectrum lab sheets, though. (A- for honesty, B- for being raw data that can be misleading).
PLUS: Really good location. Close to everything. They have two - I've only been to the Holly location. Discrete shopping mall. They are right next to a pizza place, which I will add has EXCELLENT by the slice pizza. I go on my lunch break, get a gram or two (never smoke till later), and get a slice. Then hit up Best Buy, Barnes and Noble, Target, gas, dry-cleaning, etc., and you've got yourself a pretty productive hour lunch break.
OVERALL: A+ Perfect execution for MMJ in 2011. This dispensary is laying the groundwork for the future - which is the group of people who make The Clinic their home for MMJ purchases. I remarked to a successful friend of mine who is thinking of running for office that if (reasonable) people could observe one hour of business at The Clinic, they would have a completely different perception of MMJ. This is not the fringe. This is the model. This is the essence of Denver, Colorado. The product is consistently good at a good price. You won't find killer, but the price makes up for it many times over. I suppose I'll end with the best thing that can be said about any business transaction - the value is fair, I never have to second guess it, and I always enjoy transacting my business at The Clinic. If you are looking for what I've described, then you should be happy with your choice.
Feedback like this is great, thanks so much for taking the time to give us an in-depth review. Next time you are in let us know and we will provide you with a thank you gift.