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. Sanjay Gupta himself, and the Night Nurse: a hybrid with Hawaiian genetics that produces a potent cerebral high, mixed with an intensely warm body high. Heck, if none of those sound appealing, the dispensary’s medical side had fourteen different strains available, with twenty-one more being offered upstairs at their recreational side.
It’s worth mentioning that Helping Hands Herbals is one of the very few places in the state that you can buy cannabis seeds. The dispensary sells them both medically and recreationally, for $60, which gets you five seeds. While clones are still illegal in Boulder, seeds are an excellent way to start your own grow (so long as you don’t get too many males in your seeds). The dispensary also carries quite a few different options for wax, shatter, and hash. While I was there, I saw wax from Evolabs and RMR, and various shatter selections blasted by Green Dot Labs (a Boulder favorite). The dispensary also offers a wide array of edibles, both medically and recreationally. With plenty of selections from Canyon Cultivation, The Growing Kitchen, Bhang, Julie & Kate, Sweet Mary Jane, and IncrEdibles, just to name a few, you will not run out of options for edibles to eat here, if that’s your thing. Unfortunately, the spot had a bit of a shortage of glassware, but with plenty of good glass shops none-too-far from downtown, that shouldn’t be an issue. Also, the dispensary had a great selection of vape pens, with selections from Aspen, iPuff, Rempen, and Atmos, so I can’t be too critical about their lack of glass.
I think Helping Hands Herbals is a great example of what the cannabis legalization movement can mean for Colorado. Finally, small, locally owned businesses are becoming successful enough to combat the unfortunate trend towards corporate entities taking over Boulder’s iconic downtown. It’s worth noting again, if you’re looking for that soil-grown cannabis, with organic pesticides, this might be a good spot to check out. You are more than likely to find genetics here that you will not see anywhere else, unless you pack your bags and go break the law in Hawaii. No, I think Helping Hands Herbals brings something special to Boulder’s downtown: a comfortable, trendy spot, with friendly budtenders, who are shelling out awesome organic weed. What else could us Boulderites want, other than that delicious-ass gyro cart right out front?
If you get an opportunity to visit Helping Hands Herbals of Boulder, Colorado, let them know you heard of them through the Dope Directory, and please give them a rating.