By square mileage, Boulder might be a small city, but certainly not without its share of must-see destinations; Chautauqua Park, Folsom Field, and the Taco Bell off of Baseline and Broadway (often called the busiest Taco Bell in the country!), just to name a few. Naturally, visitors to Boulder are definitely encouraged to see the downtown walking mall- the Pearl Street Mall. Of course, every Boulderite – or, at least, every person to spend their collegiate years at CU Boulder – has a very interesting relationship with The Mall. Most people over the legal drinking age typically associate Pearl Street with shady bars, girls kissing stuffed buffaloes on walls, DJs who wear way too much cologne (and sunglasses in dark rooms… cool bro), waiting far too long for a cab, and finishing the night absolutely the most delicious gyro you’ve ever eaten. However, those Coloradans who venture the Pearl Street Mall during the day will notice the sad trend of small, locally owned business being steadily replaced by larger corporate chain boutiques and stores. For that reason, I get genuinely excited when I see a new spot near the mall that is not A) a national chain, or B) a pretentious-as-shit bar offering overpriced cocktails to undergrads in their desperate attempt to seem “cultured.” Fortunately for me, I’ve just recently discovered Helping Hands Herbals, a recreational and medical dispensary in central Boulder, Colorado. With an absolutely unbeatable location, and offering vegan, organic, and soil grown cannabis, I find myself wanting to take trips to downtown Boulder for more than just delicious late-night gyros.
As you might expect at a dispensary that is merely a drunk stumble west of the actual walking mall, parking can be rather hit-or-miss, especially depending on the day of the week and time that you come down. If it were me, I would visit Helping Hands Herbals with my other stops in downtown Boulder. The dispensary itself is surrounded by paid parking, but again, depending on the time, you’d be lucky to nab any spots close by. I parked a block away, and because the sun was ever-so-pleasant, I casually strolled past the grungy dudes asking for money and dope strikingly close to the well-dressed Boulder folk enjoying their meals on patios; such is life in the Boulder bubble. The dispensary’s layout is unusual, to say the least. Originally just a medical facility, the dispensary used to be just one small, waiting room, and a slightly-larger product room. However, since July, the dispensary has expanded into the huge space upstairs to house their massive recreational operation. I started my journey at the original downstairs space, which is now medical only. The space is straightforward enough; a desk, a fish tank, and a chair or two to wait in while the budtenders finish with the patients before you. After a short wait, Tim, one of the dispensary’s budtenders, checked my paperwork, and walked me back into their medical product room.
With soft hip-hop coursing through the small area, I was walked up to the product counter. Immediately, Tim started talking about his favorite strains. Now, I would say Tim is very much unlike many budtenders I’ve talked to, many of whom will dab throughout the day, and somehow manage to maintain a coherent conversation. Impressive. No, Tim is oldschool. He likes the flowers, and he is confident in saying his flowers are tops when it comes to Boulder’s cannabis scene. “Nature’s always best,” he quotes one of his growers, referring to the dispensary’s organic, vegan, soil-grown cannabis. Over his shoulder, a poster of Helping Hands’ iconic blue bird riding a surfboard, advertising “Boulder’s Best Hawaiian Strains.” I had to inquire. Indeed, thanks to one of the owners of the dispensary, several of Helping Hands Herbals’ genetics are straight from The Aloha State, including their famous Tangerine Sunrise. This is an interesting sativa-dominant hybrid combines Colorado and Hawaii into one monochromatic bud; Tangerine Haze is crossed with Hawaiian, to produce a fruity, citrusy original strain. Other notable selections from Helping Hands include their Gupta Kush, which is a strong indica named after Dr.