When I had first entered the queue, I was quickly greeted by Michael, who ended up being my budtender; he asked for the piece of paper with my name/number on it, and wordlessly disappeared behind the counter as I meandered through the line and looked at the other products. “You looking for edibles or smokeables?” he asked from behind the counter. I replied that I was interested in flowers, and he gestured toward the next station and sidled up behind the tall counter.
I asked about pricing, which was divided into three quality tiers, the highest of which was their “Private Stock” — Michael informed me it was “competition-grade weed” and was grown and handled differently than their normal flowers. For a gram, the tiers were $14.95 (top shelf), $16.95 (feature) and $24.95 (private stock), and $70.95, $83.95, and $124.95 for a quarter ounce, all before taxes. They sell ounces to Colorado residents as well, but it appeared that their private-stock strains were limited to a quarter ounce no matter what.
The store had approximately 12 strains available, all of which were displayed in a unique way I hadn’t seen before. Rather than a glass display case full of jars, they have opted for a case filled with digital picture frames that showcased a nice-looking photo of the strain when it was growing as well as lineage, type (indica/sativa/hybrid), and cannabinoid test results. This style of display made the store look even more techy and sleek, while also providing great functionality for the customer. There were three counters with the same recreational strains on display, with one more devoted to medical sales. The medical case had about the same number of strains, though there were a couple of different choices that weren’t available to me as a recreational customer.
I asked to look at the trichome-laden and nicely purple Bubba Kush, which was one of their private-stock choices. Michael handed me a small sample jar with a handful of medium-sized buds in it. The smell that hit my nose was outstanding, a gloriously sweet musk with notes of chocolate and coffee that stood out as one of the best examples of Bubba Kush that I’ve seen over my four-plus years on the dispensary scene.
Though I was pretty sure nothing was going to impress me as much as the Bubba, I soldiered on, asking to smell the Chem OG (just OK), Triangle Kush (very frosty, though it was actually Krome’s The White a.k.a. “Triangle” and not the true Triangle Kush, which is an OG variety), Presidential Kush (very good), and the ChemDawg #4.
The Chem #4 was actually the cheapest strain available and looked almost as visually appealing as the Bubba, though the scent was a little muted in comparison. I would normally have jumped on the Bubba, but considering the super high-ticket cost of the private-stock choices, I simply couldn’t justify nearly $30 per gram including tax and went with a gram of the cheaper-yet-still-impressive ChemDawg #4.
Michael went to get the gram and I made my way to the bank teller-like kiosk, where five other customers ahead of me were paying for their purchases. For a shop serving this many customers almost simultaneously, I never really noticed their presence until this point, which I suppose is a testament to the organization and service style of the store. Michael found me at the empty kiosk and already had my gram ready and jarred up; I wasn’t able to see if the gram was prepackaged or if he actually weighed it out behind the counter out of sight.
The gram was $14.95 before tax, but he explained to me that customers are also required to purchase a child-resistant “exit bag” (which the store attempted to gloss up by calling it a “Colorado marijuana travel bag”) for $3, if they did not already have one. With my total therefore increased, the final damage was $21.34 including tax. I have definitely paid more for a recreational gram of cannabis, and I didn’t feel completely screwed, though having to spend $3 on a bag rubbed me the wrong way.
Obviously packaging is a headache for everyone in this industry, but I think the responsibility should fall on the shop to absorb that cost of doing business rather than passing it on to the customer in this way. Speaking of the bag, it was huge (probably 12″ x 9″) and not particularly nice-looking, with a plain white appearance and an odd flip-latch zipper arrangement that I had to study for a minute to figure out how to open.
One other note is that TGS does take debit cards, using the increasingly popular “cashless ATM” method of payment, which charges the customer a flat amount (in my case, $25) and then returns their change as appropriate. There is a $2 fee for this service, but it was still fairly convenient and easier than walking to a separate ATM and breaking up the flow of the sale (or worse, having to actually leave the building to get cash, as happened during my last review). Michael thanked me and said he hoped to see me in again, and I followed the convenient arrows to the exit.
I got to try my ChemDawg the following morning, when I awoke with some stomach discomfort from a night of hot wings as well as my usual crippling lower back pain. After struggling to stagger my way out to the garage, I did something that I haven’t done for well over a year: loaded a bowl. Being a concentrate and occasional cone joint smoker, I had all but abandoned my formerly beloved color-changing glass pipes that I had collected over the years. The pipe I chose was actually the very first piece of glass I ever owned, which has somehow managed to survive mostly intact for over a decade of lighter-tapping and occasional drops.
After a moment of reminiscing, I pinched the bud of Chem #4 between my fingers, releasing its signature fuel-urine funk underneath my nose before jamming it into the bowl. The bud itself was a little on the dry side for my taste, but it didn’t completely turn to dust under pressure.
I smoked two smallish bowls in an attempt to get two tries at a flavor profile, which turned out to be unnecessary, as the first hit gave me a full palate of acrid Chemminess right off the bat. The later hits lost most of the flavor and I detected a bit of the strange sweetness of residual nutrients, but overall it was better than a lot of dispensary herb.
It burned down to a mostly fluffy speckled white and black ash, which indicates it got a mostly sufficient flush prior to harvest. Though I was still thinking about the way that world-class Bubba Kush might have tasted, I felt pleased with my purchase and also impressed that the absolute cheapest strain I found was this quality.
The ChemDawg almost immediately hit me with a strong buzzing sensation throughout my body. My stomach growled as if the Dawg itself was running around inside my gut, chasing away all the nastiness that was plaguing me only minutes before. I felt better almost instantaneously, which is somewhat rare for me. Back inside the house, I sat down and noticed a distinct warmth radiating throughout my body and face; the cold morning had my skin cold to the touch, but I felt incredibly comfortable. My aching back also received some much-needed relief, as the tightness that had me hunched over much of the morning was gone almost without me noticing. I just sat down and got into a good flow with some writing work, then it occurred to me, “Wow, I’m not in terrible pain!”
The effect was potent, immediate, targeted and long-lasting; that’s about all you can ask for in a variety. Though the store had the Chem #4 listed as mostly indica, I understand it to be a sativa-dominant strain overall, and this experience matched that for the most part. Aside from the warm, buzzing body effect, it was mostly a mental strain and definitely uplifted my mood.
If all of The Green Solution’s stores look as slick and professional as this one, I would be very impressed. The Grape Street location is perhaps the most polished dispensary I have ever visited, both in terms of overall appearance and its flow/organization. The number of strains to choose from on the day I visited was just average, but their quality was certainly not; every jar had a distinct smell and contained well-manicured, nicely-preserved flowers. Though the top tier of pricing was high for my taste, the strains on that tier were definitely head-turners and some of the more impressive dispensary weed I’ve seen in a while. The staff was knowledgeable and courteous (though perhaps a little curt), and despite being one of several customers, I felt like the only person in the shop for most of the experience. I can only imagine the product is basically the same at the other TGS outposts, but if they also provide this top-flight dispensary experience, this chain would be quickly elevated toward the top of my short list of the “big guys who do it right.”
The must-try: The “private stock” Bubba Kush was one of the best examples of the strain I have ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of Bubba. But at $24.95 before tax, it was too rich for my blood.
The lasting impression: I was wowed by the level of polish that my TGS experience provided from the moment I walked into the store, and the flowers mostly matched that quality.