I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m a terrible Broncos fan. Now, before you fellow Coloradans light your torches and sharpen your pitchforks, hear me out. I’ve only been to one live NFL game in my entire life, and it was when I was around nine or ten years old. Keep in mind, the NFL schedule happens in winter in Denver, which can also be called “Oh look! It’s sunny and beau– SNOW.” It was a November game against the Chiefs, and the crisp Autumn air hung heavily around the stadium. The sun was shining, so I was content in my light nylon jacket… that is, until Denver’s notorious dark clouds started forming around the second quarter. By the end of halftime, the snow was dropping harder than my little child bones could take, and we had to leave. I’m pretty sure the Broncos also lost that game, and I haven’t returned to the stadium (or the new stadium, for that matter) since. Sure, I’ll watch the games on TV, or I’ll drunkenly celebrate with locals down on 16th Street, but for some reason, I just cannot get myself to shell out the cash to be there in person. What does any of this have to do with Mile High Medical and Recreational Cannabis? It’s a store, I believe, that captures the essence of the Mile High Spirit. It’s a fun, urban spot, with plenty of variety and knowledge to stand on its own two feet. In all honesty, it’s like two very separate stores in one.
Mile High Medical and Recreational Cannabis (renamed from just Mile High Medical Cannabis on January 1st, 2014) is located snugly on the corner of 17th and Federal, which overlooks Sports Authority Field at Mile High. It’s a small white building sharing space with a Mexican restaurant, but keep in mind, the entrance on the front of the building is for medical patients only. Not seeing this, I parked up front, where there were about six spots to choose from. I read the fifteen or so signs on the door, which politely informed me the recreational side of the store is around back. So, I walked around the side of the building, where a large blue tent was set up, and a few dispensary workers were chatting. Of course, here was a large parking lot with plenty of lights (a stark contrast to the front of the building). On my way around, the security guard (presumably taking a lunch break) gave me a high-five, and continued on his way. Now, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t slightly nervous at this location. Apparently, the government-subsidized housing across the street from the dispensary is gang turf, but you wouldn’t know it based on the quiet and calm streets around the dispensary. My ID was checked outside the back entrance, and I was asked to stand in line inside.
Perhaps one of the darkest dispensaries I’ve been in, I was a bit disoriented on my entrance. With loud hip-hop blasting over the speaker system, and bright and colorful LED lights wrapping the display cases, the vibe is hip, funky, and urban. After a short wait, a tattooed bud tender, Lora, invited me over to her purple counter. Now, Mile High’s pricing works on a three-tier system, the cheapest strains being black label, green label for the moderately priced, and red label for the most expensive buds. These prices are not based on quality, mind you, but yield. As in, the plants that have the lowest yields will cost you, the consumer, the most. That isn’t to say there isn’t a great strain waiting for you that happens to be a black label. At the time of my visit, there were ten strains available, but only eight at the counter I was standing at. Apparently, the dispensary will have thirty strains at one time, but will rotate the strains in ten at a time. Unfortunately, the dispensary did not provide any testing results of any of the strains when I asked.
One of the owners of the store, Justin, explained to me the philosophy behind the recreational side of his business. “Variety, variety, variety. We want to be that one stop shop for all your cannabis needs.” Indeed, aside from the bud selection, there was quite a bit to choose from in the realm of edibles, concentrates, and smoking devices. With treats from Dixie, EdiPure, Sweet Grass, Love’s Oven, IncrEdibles, and Mountain Medicine, you’re sure to find something to satisfy your sweet tooth. If and when you stop into Mile High, make sure you take a moment to look at The Dab Stash. A project started by Mile High Medical and Recreational, The Dab Stash is a collection of concentrates from a variety of companies. With bubble hash, wax, and shatter from 710 Labs, Infinite Infusions, Mahatma, and TerpX, not only is there a variety of the types of concentrates, but a variety of who makes your concentrates. Want to try a few different companies, to become a more educated consumer? The Dab Stash allows you to do that. The glass box is also filled with plenty of devices to help you dab the night away (and the next day, too).
I took a quick look at the medicinal side of the operation on the front end of the store, and all I can say is it’s a complete 180 degree turn from the vibe and culture of the recreational side. With a calming fish tank, and quiet music, and calm and warm colors, it’s clear that the difference between the sides is intentional. The medical side also had quite a few more strains available. To incentivize Red Card patients becoming members at Mile High, the dispensary offers monthly five dollar eighths to its members. You read that correctly. Members are also rewarded with weekly discounts and coupons. It’s clear Mile High knows what makes its patients happy, and what is going to keep them coming back.
Every year, I tell myself I’ll go back to the stadium, and watch the Broncos live once again. Now that Peyton is wearing orange, there’s always a promise of exciting football. From my experience in downtown bars during games, however, it’s clear to see that Bronco fans are vibrant, full of life (and sometimes vulgarity), and are very proud of the Mile High City. I think, then, calling this dispensary Mile High Medical and Recreational Cannabis is fitting. On the one hand, you have the passion, knowledge, and attention to detail on the medical side. On the other, you have the grittier, louder, and more energetic recreational side. If you want to talk Mile High spirit – the embodiment of this football-crazy city in one store – this is it.