I still grin like a kid in Wonkaland when I lay eyes on a bud bar. Yet, as dispensaries go, there are the good, the bad, and every shade of green in between. There are those that sell amateurish product resembling something grown in your 8th-grade cousin’s closet, and others who vend bud that assuredly needs to be in a hall of fame. It’s an adventure, for sure. As 303′s MMJ dispensary blogger, I’ll be seeking out and reporting on the best our city has to offer. I hope to become your trusted source in separating the kind from the shake.  -CC

Kindness interior

Natural light makes for a warm, inviting atmosphere (image by Darrin Frisby)

Ok, I admit your girl Connie here is a bit of a snarkmeister. Case in point: when I first heard the term “Kindness” to describe a dispensary, I must confess I giggled. Somewhere along the line, I think there was a daydream that Jeff Spicoli himself would welcome me at the door and I’d get a complementary hacky sack with purchase. Sad, I know. But it’s my own private Idaho, and I’ll deal with it.

Kindness is nestled in a small building on the corner of East Colfax and Ivanhoe near an antique shop, a Lebanese restaurant and a corner where I have seen some very colorful characters doing very odd things. But, despite the Colfax sketch factor, I had heard really good things so I set out to see for myself what the buzz was about.

The quiet foyer looked somewhat like any waiting room: a few chairs, a shelf with various reading materials, and clipboards with the requisite dispensary paperwork. But before I could even grab a seat, I was greeted with a cheerful “hello!” and welcomed to the window. Score one for the welcome wagon. After all the legal stuff was taken care of, I was buzzed through.

I really wasn’t sure what to expect. I believe what I found can best be summed up this way: remember the awe on Dorothy Gale’s face when, after coming from her black-and-white world full of tornadoes and nasty Miss Gulch, she is welcomed into a colorful, sensual  place, filled with sights, sounds and, yes, smells that titillate her senses and make her eyes grow wide in wonder? Well, welcome to Kindness, the Oz of Colfax.

lounge area

Kindness has a very calming, relaxing atmosphere designed to make patients comfortable and set them at ease.

Other dispensaries could take a cue from Kindness’ playbook. Standing as an antidote to the back-room, artificially-lit dispensary, Kindness at once resembles a contemporary living room, a mini art gallery and an ultra-hip lounge. A large koi fish tank sits in one area, flanked by gorgeous turquoise and white leather Ikea-style couches and chairs. In the atrium, which is responsible for all the lush natural light, is another sitting area with plants, art and chairs. Work from local artists rotates on a regular basis (the day I visited, Japanese woodblock print-flavored work from Mad King lined the walls.) There’s a pitcher of water and real(!) glasses, and materials from the Americans for Safe Access Foundation, detailing MMJ treatment for various ailments, is laid out for reading.

And then there’s the medicine bar. Square glass jars filled with various flowers line the top of the long L-shaped case. Sleek white and steel bar stools welcome customers to sidle up and explore all that is available. There is a fabulous selection of hash, along with oil pipes for a cleaner smoke. The edible selection is quite extensive, with several brands of colas, candies, cookies and crackers from which to choose. They even carry sugars, which are excellent for pain management when taken sublingually.

Beyond the welcoming environment, however, was the dedication Kindness clearly has to their patients. Without ever making me feel like she was prying, my budtender determined my medical and my personal preferences and tastes in order to make an informed recommendation. As a result, my experience truly felt less like a business transaction and more like a visit with a knowledgeable friend who has my best interests at heart. They use a collaborative, consultative approach to medicine, sharing information amongst themselves and with patients in order to form a better collective knowledge of what works, and what doesn’t. Apparently Kindness is more than just a name.

The pricing structure of Kindness is fairly typical – members get a discount, and the strains on the two days I visited ran anywhere from $25-$55 for an 1/8. They also run specials in order to keep their bud fresh and turning over. The only possible detractor I found from Kindness is more a matter of personal taste. Although the buds are gorgeous, a few were a bit dry for my taste. They still tasted delicious and produced the desired effects, but it’s merely my preference to have my bud a little stickier. There is also no online menu, so it is challenging to know what is available and at what price.

Kindness is currently combining forces with Broadway Wellness, which will only extend their selection and hopefully result in a beefed-up website. They are also part of the Kindness Collective, which includes herbal nutritional counseling, the two locations of Kindness Yoga studio, and an agreement with Namaste Hospice.

bud bar

Labeled jars of flower line the counter, welcoming patients to open, sniff and choose. (image by Darrin Frisby)

High-lights:

I dream a little dream…
My particular needs involve treatment of chronic pain, which usually means indica. Yet, I can’t deal with being couch-locked or knocked out during work hours. Enter Blue Dream, a hybrid that seems to encompass the best of both worlds. It produced a long-lasting, tingly body high that kicked the crap out of my pain, yet didn’t knock me out. It also has a delightful hint of fruit to the smell and the smoke. Truly a dream come true.

Wha’choo talkin’ about Willis?
I was really intrigued to discover this strain. As legend has it, the bud on the original plant grew fat and stunted, thus it was dubbed with the name “Gary Coleman.” (Don’t judge me, I read that on the Internet, and we all know the Internet don’t lie.) This is also apparently a mega-rare strain due to most of the original plants being destroyed in a DEA raid. This high sativa is quite dank and stinky, yet carries less chemical and/or pine tones than most. It has a sage-y, herbaceous and savory quality that creates instant smiles. I tend to avoid high sativas since they make me quite jittery. This one did to an extent, but the super quick, very stony high also left me energized enough that I was able to just work through it. I haven’t seen G.C. anywhere other than Kindness. It’s worth the trip alone.

Delicate Flowers
For the record, the Pink Jasmine is on the lower end of Kindness’ price structure. That said, I will choose this over many of their other more expensive varieties, every time. It possesses a unique sweet, flowery smell that reminds me of Juicy Fruit gum, making it one of the most unique buds I’ve ever come across. The smoke itself produces a fizzy, sparkly, all-over body high – one so good that I kind of just forgot I was high, and simply floated about the house getting all kinds of things done with a stupid, blissful grin. It’s apparently a high sativa, but I didn’t get the jitters that such strains usually produce for me. It’s definitely my favorite.

Who let the dogs out?
Just like that ridiculous song I just mentioned, I approached this bud with a bit of trepidation. After all, Chem Dawg is the stuff of legend. Honestly, the smell was odd – and I got both an ether-like quality…and, well, bacon. Two great tastes that taste weird together? Yep. However, the high was awesome, although a bit crippling. I felt euphoric, a bit jumpy, yet not really able to do too much but sit and think. This was not a problem for me, however, since I had the day off and wanted to just do a whole lot of nothing.

Kindness: 5702 E. Colfax Ave., Denver, CO 80220 / 303.733.9956
Hours: Monday – Saturday 11:00am – 7:00pm
Prices
: $25-55 per 1/8th. Edibles: vary depending on brand and product
Website: http://kindnesscannabis.com/
Specials: Members get 20% off all products. Check Kush magazine for some amazing coupons this month.

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