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

Lotus' lush digs make patients feel at home.

Having the job reviewing dispensaries has given me an even more critical eye than the one that came along the snarkfest personality I was born with. I’m also a curious gal, so I’ve made it a new hobby of sorts to check out about every single dispensary I see, just for shits n’ giggles. And, as any Denverite will tell you, we have an abundance of those ugly day-glo dispensary green painted buildings dotting out landscape. So believe me when I tell you I’ve seen good, bad, ugly and everything in between. And, as much as I hate to play the gender card, I always have my female guard up. Simply put, there are some places here that no woman should ever want to walk into alone. Ever. Can you say “sketchy as hell?” Good. I knew you could.

This is why I was pleasantly surprised when I entered the oasis known as Lotus Medical, in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood.

You may remember Lotus as one of the main focuses of The Daily Show’s visit to Denver in 2010. But what was portrayed humorously in that clip is in reality something like a day spa for MMJ patients. The entire mood of this joint (pun totally intended) is calming. Gorgeous photographs of lush nature scenes line the exposed brick walls, illuminated by thoughtfully-placed track lighting. Giant pots of landscaped plants, a Zen fountain and plush leather couches pepper the space, all adding up to an environment that is simultaneously serene, comforting and luxurious.

the delicious delicacy known as a Thai stick.

And then there’s the care. In the short time I spent at Lotus, five patients visited. Three of those patients were women, and all were greeted not only by name, but also with a bedside manner than can only be described as professional, caring and consultative. One patient in particular – a new mom who is on her 13th round of chemo and, thanks to MMJ, has never had to use the normally-prescribed toxic medications to fight side effects – spent some extra time in the medicine room, catching up with Lotus’ owners, Shawna and Erik, who have become her close friends as well as a crucial component in her treatment plan. The couple takes great care to help everyone who comes through their doors, embracing with fervor their primary goal of helping patients – many whom have been on opiates for pain or other nasty treatment medications – find a little sense of normalcy and relief. And they know that good product and excellent service will keep people returning time and time again. Case in point: one patient who came in seeking ear wax (Lotus was sold out) was promised a text message when new stock arrived AND given a free joint and Cheeba Chew for the inconvenience. Can’t shake a Thai stick at that kind of service.

Lotus claims to only stock top shelf strains, and I’d have to agree. Along with an ample selection of concentrates and edibles, the jars of flower in the med room will impress even the snootiest of pot snobs. Mouthwatering, to say the least. I tried out four of their two dozen available, which they rotate frequently in order to provide variety. They also hold appreciation days, complete with a barbeque in the courtyard of their historic office building. And, as everyone knows, we love to eat.


The medicine room is stocked with at least two dozen of the 60-90 premium strains Lotus carries.

Hazy Daze
After one glimpse at the Durban Haze X, I could hardly wait to get home to try it. The gorgeous, dare I say fluffy (?) buds of deep greens covered with twisty red hairs and tons of crystals made my mouth water with just a glance. Yes, love at first sight. It carried a hay-ish, springtime scent and, once sparked up, surprised me with the combination tastes of lemon-y citrus and pine, which lingered long after exhale. And did I mention the cure? A perfect 10. This delightful sativa left me happily high, tingly all over, a little spacy (not hard to do…) and very hungry. If I had this on hand too much, I might gain about 20 pounds from the munchies alone.

Ground Control to Major Tom
Lotus’ Space Helmet is a unique strain of Headband and Mean Martian Green. It’s a fairly balanced hybrid with gold, pink and red hues and lots of hair. It had an interesting smell that I just couldn’t place – somewhat lemony, somewhat fuel-y – but with a little je ne sais quoi that offered an extra kick. The taste was even more intriguing – sweet hickory or apple wood. The cure was good, and it made a nice joint. It also burned very quickly. I felt a lot of the effects of the brain hugging Headband that quickly morphed into an all-over body high that lasted quite a while. Lovely.

Each jar of flower has a description card with information on the strain genetics and its effects on the body.

Let this dog out. Now.
Everyone these days seems to have a Chemdog strain. It’s kind of like the McDonalds of weed, no? Let’s just say that Lotus’ raises the bar. The Chemdog #4 was cured beautifully and was absolutely gorgeous – lush mixed green buds covered in fine rusty hairs. It smelled of something that I’ll call tropical gas – diesel with pineapple, perhaps? Or mango. It was a super-spicy smoke, however, and it actually made me cough with a light burning in the back of my throat. Depending on who you talk to, Chemdog is indica or sativa. I’m not (yet) enough of an expert to be able to scientifically dissect the strain, but I can tell you that it killed my pain, kicked my ass, and left me high for close to three hours. In other words, who cares what it is…other than some damn fine pot. Kudos, Lotus, you just made my top 10 list of favorite strains thus far this year.

Bottom line: Check this place out. It’s truly the cream of the crop, from the staff and owners to the medicine they provide. And they’re in a cool building to boot. The flower is a bit pricier than other places, but you get the quality others don’t have. The only complaint I have is that parking downtown sucks, but that’s nothing new. A+

Lotus Denver:  1444 Wazee St # 115 / 720.974.3109
Lotus Boulder: 3107 28th St # B / 303.339.3885
Hours: M-F 10-7, Saturday-Sunday 12-5
Perks: Punch card system – buy 10 1/8s get one free; free 1/8 on your birthday; free joint with every purchase; 20% off all hash for members
Hash: $20/gram
Wax: $60/gram
Flower: $50 per 1/8
Massage, chiropractic care and physical therapy are all offered on site.