On a Friday afternoon during peak traffic time, I was on the hunt for a recreational weed store with the strict condition that it had no massive, ridiculous after-work line spilling out the door. About 15 minutes earlier, I had stopped by another dispensary on Alameda Avenue and was told it would be a 30-45 minute wait; the tiny reception area was packed completely full with customers clutching deli-style slips of paper with numbers on them which secured their place in line. Deciding that I wanted no part of that grim scene at this particular moment, I scanned my memory banks for another nearby shop that was open for recreational sales and determined that my closest bet might be the Patient’s Choice location on Morrison Road in southwest Denver.
Review: Patient’s Choice-Morrison Road in Denver (recreational purchase).
Connect: 4000 Morrison Road; 303-997-4602;
10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
Date of visit: Feb. 21st, 2014
Patient’s Choice is one of the state’s oldest dispensary chains (dating all the way back to March of 2009), and its empire currently consists of four stores around the Denver metro area (their Edgewater location operates as Bud Med Health Centers. The outlet I visited lies at the intersection of Morrison Road and Perry Street, which is basically the dead zone between Denver and Lakewood. When I say “dead zone,” I say it with a certain amount of love (as I live within a mile or two of this area), but it’s definitely not the best neighborhood. The store itself is a lightly remodeled house, still featuring the front lawn and the wrought iron bars over the windows that seem to be standard issue on the other homes in the area. It seemed to me that street parking was all that is available, though the seemingly empty lot across Perry Street from the store may also be okay to park in if you want to roll the dice.
Upon entering the store, I was greeted by a young female receptionist on the other side of a glass window who simply asked me for my photo ID and told me someone would be with me shortly. She also handed me a slip with the number 35 on it, the purpose of which was unclear because I appeared to be the only person shopping. Less than 15 seconds later, a gentleman who appeared to be hired security escorted me inside the door, which led right to the bud room. He told me that the counter to my right was for medical customers and the one of the left was for recreational. He then gestured past the recreational counter, pointing me to their waiting area, which was definitely more posh and well-appointed than the reception area – and it was practically an oasis compared to the “waiting area” (more like a cattle call) at the other dispensary. I appreciated this simple effort to make customers more comfortable.
As I stood in the waiting area, I felt satisfied that my first condition was met. There was absolutely no line, and the only other person there was being served on the medical side. I was only there for another handful of seconds, browsing one of the printed strain menus they had stacked in neat piles, when a jovial, fresh-faced guy with black-framed glasses named Brian called me over to the counter.
Patient’s Choice has opted for the pre-packaged sales route, which is a controversial topic among dispensary customers. While it often speeds up the overall sales process, it also takes some of the usual choice out of the customer’s hands. No more “can I have those nice dense round ones at the bottom?” It is a service style that I am not a fan of personally, though I understand why it is being done in high-volume recreational centers.
Some of the newest regulations in the Colorado marijuana industry revolve around packaging; starting Jan. 1, cannabis products must be sold in opaque, resealable, child-resistant packages. When combined with the pre-packaged sales style, it takes a lot of the sensory appeal out of the buying process while also reducing the ability to choose the specific flowers that you would like. So on this trip, I wasn’t going to be able to check out big jangly jars of fragrant buds at this shop, and that always makes me die a little bit inside.