I guess you could say a big part of what we do at Dope Directory is take a look at the trends in dispensaries. A few dispensaries have found a system that works, earning them near-ludicrous amounts of cash. Very quickly, you’ll start to see solid business practices spreading to nearby stores. For instance, dispensaries have caught in record time that they are not selling Ziplocs of schwag behind buildings anymore; and, furthermore, hold a very different position than the black-market drug dealers of old. Your drug dealer could be the biggest jerk in the world, but you’d still go to them (don’t pretend you wouldn’t). With recreational marijuana sales almost a year old now, the dispensaries who have not trained their staff in stellar customer service techniques common to retail will simply fall under the bus. Lightshade, despite some hiccups in store layout, and product availability (especially medical), has a staff of highly educated, patient, and ultimately cheery individuals who make cannabis-buying extraordinarily pleasant (that is, more pleasant than it normally would be. Who doesn’t love buying weed?!).
I must admit, walking up to Lightshade’s Holly location was a bit disconcerting. The dispensary is just south of I-70; a location heavy with industry. Other than wholesale suppliers, and industrial manufacturers, there’s not much in the way of business immediately around the dispensary. A distant chorus of dogs barking accompanied me as I walked into the store, and all of my apprehension melted away. Boy oh boy, what a solid interior decorating team can do for outlook and attitude. Lightshade’s waiting room is massive. The space is decorated with plush, comfy chairs and couches gathered around low coffee tables. The otherwise bland cream and brick walls are covered with large art prints of some well-known stoner flicks: Half Baked, Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke, and, of course, the painfully accurate Reefer Madness. A colorful print of Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry hangs on the far wall. Lightshade does an excellent job of converting the large space into a gathering spot; a place you wouldn’t mind waiting for your cannabis. On the tables were a few binders of strains, which gave an in-depth description of the different flowers Lightshade carries. Considering the fact that around 75% of Lightshade’s business comes from tourists, who might not know the first thing about the different strains, having a book that gives them some suggestions based on the desired effects is a solid idea.
After a short wait on the couches in the waiting room, I was greeted by a few of Lightshade’s bud tenders in the product room. The room is set up in an interesting way. Right in front of you as you walk in are different stations for the bud tenders to help you. They can’t, however, ring you up. For that, you have to join a line to the single register on the left side of the room. Why the various stations where the bud tenders help you don’t have point of sale systems is beyond me. It seems that it would be a lot more helpful if there were advanced POS solutions at the stations where you were being served by the bud tenders. Surely, it would make customer service a little easier and a lot more straight forward. They could have really done with an extra highly customisable point of sale system, or two so they can manage busy times with more efficiency. However, Lightshade’s edgy and interesting aesthetic continues into the product room. The dispensary has both medical and recreational counters side-by-side, with vastly different product offerings. For instance, you had your choice of 18 strains on the recreational side, but only eight on the medical side. On the other hand, the medical side was stocked fully with concentrates. For recreational patients? Not so much.
Several of Lightshade’s strains stood out to me in particular. For me, I’m always looking for something I haven’t seen anywhere else, which is what drew me immediately to the Dreamer’s Glass, a cross between Casey’s Dream and Glass Slipper. Weighing in at a respectable 19% THC, this sativa-dominant is energetic, fruity, and perfect for enjoying your daytime hours. If you’re looking for something a little more mellow (but just as difficult to find anywhere), take a look at their Oger 99. Now, this strain’s story is almost as interesting as its scent, and flavor. First of all, no one can really agree upon what it is, exactly. Based on my bud tender’s explanation, I’m lead to believe it’s a mix of OG Kush, Banana, and Cinderella-99. From the nose alone, the OG Kush stands out for its earthy, almost musky smell. However, the taste of the Oger 99 is practically all fruit and bananas. While labeled an indica-dominant hybrid, the Cinderella-99 makes this strain perfect for a daytime smoke, when you don’t want to get up and do a bunch of jumping jacks. Of the strains available, Lightshade has three tiers based on potency and quality of the buds: Connoisseur ($50 an eighth for nonmembers, $35 for members), Premier ($35/$27), and Select ($30/$25). On the recreational side, however, the average prices of eighths range anywhere from $45 to $55. Keep in mind though, the dispensary will offer one strain for $30 an eighth recreational every day. Rejoice!
When it comes to edibles, concentrates, and smoking devices, the dispensary has very solid choices. The selection for edibles, recreational or medical, was modest. With selections from Edipure, Starbarz, Cheeba Chews, and many more, Lightshade has plenty of options if eating cannabis is your method of choice. On the recreational side, the dispensary had a handful of wax and shatter made by Mahatma. They also had some live resin extracts made by Botanico. The selection was not overwhelming, though. On the medical side, both display cases were fully stocked with concentrates from a variety of Colorado’s favorite companies: TerpX, TC Labs, and Mahatma, just to name a few. If you’re looking for a unique way to smoke via vape pen, take a look at the 1000mg cartridge and battery pack from MJARDIN. The entire apparatus looks like a comically large cigar, but with an oil cartridge that big, they tend to last for a very long time. You can brush up on your Freud impression while smoking it too, but your friends might get tired of you psychoanalyzing everything they do. Maybe not. As far as more traditional smoking devices, the dispensary has a wall of various pipes, chillums, and small dab rigs. While the selection is far from complete, you might find something that interests you, especially if you’re just visiting from out of town, and need something quick and small.
Unfortunately for many dispensaries along the eastern I-70 corridor, who draw in the majority of their customers from other states, often times Colorado residents get pushed aside. Not so at Lightshade. If you have a valid Colorado state ID, expect to get 20% off your recreational purchase. Essentially, that makes your purchase tax free, which is saying a lot for recreational. Here’s the thing. Lightshade knows it needs to take care of its base. It’s this kind of consideration for the customer that, I think, might set Lightshade on a different level from other dispensaries in the area. True, their selection was far from comprehensive, but every employee I talked to definitely had a mind for customer relations, customer service, and customer information. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: long gone are the days of the idiot weed dealer. This is a customer-service game now.
If you get an opportunity to visit Lightshade on Holly in Denver, Colorado, let them know you heard of them through the Dope Directory, and please give them a rating.