How did they rate?
It’s a question I get asked frequently and persistently and it’s a question that I would dare say I’m uniquely suited to answer. Where should I buy marijuana? While it may be a question that I can personally answer, it’s not as simple as asking me what gas station to go to, or which liquor store to buy at. Unlike liquor stores, where you’ll find the same stock set of name brand beers and whiskey, every dispensary carries unique products that, chances are, you’ll only find at that locale. Whenever I’m asked that question, however, it’s not the products that will make me recommend one location over another, it’s the people. People are the one factor that will make any dispensary truly unique, and they are what will get me coming back in the door time and time again. The people are what made my experience complete when I went in for my first visit to Native Roots, a recreational and medicinal marijuana dispensary, off the 16th Street Mall, in Denver Colorado. It only took one visit to their flagship location to see the unique experience they are fostering as a company and see why Native Roots has taken Colorado by storm.
I made my way down the 16th street mall, meter fully plugged and photo gear in hand. While I always feel a little silly trouncing about laden with tripods, I know it would rank far from the most bizarre sights I’ve seen downtown. Snuggled along the side of the street, no more pronounced than the other local storefronts I saw the sign for Native Roots. After snapping a few candid shots of the front door (I could be a paparazzi, that door never even know I was there) I stepped in and started my Native Roots experience. The stairs down to the dispensary were open and welcoming, with a mural laden curved wall in front displaying Native Roots traditional and snazzy collage wall design. Halfway down the stairs, there was a massive display set up, holding a bounty of unique Native Roots merchandise items, most of which sported the tree-of-life-esque design that has become synonymous with the chain. As soon as I got to the bottom I was greeted by another kindred Jesse, well a Jess, but that counts in my book. She had me sit down with a couple of medicinal patients waiting to collect their medication while she fetched who I was supposed to meet with. While I didn’t catch his name, an older gentleman who was waiting started by raving that he hasn’t gone anywhere else for his medicinal marijuana for years. An undeniably good endorsement to start me off on my adventure. After a short wait, I was greeted by Travis, who started my tour off by briefly explaining how Native Roots medicinal marijuana worked before taking me back to the rec side. As Travis explained, there are two tables back in the med room, but they usually like to take people back one at a time for a more personal experience. This makes sense since people that have medical conditions may want to ask questions and really get to know what products are best to assuage their ailments. After all, I wouldn’t want someone in the room with me if I was picking up prescription hemorrhoid cream (too far? Maybe, but you get the point). After a flash of my MED badge, I followed Travis back to the recreational sales floor.
For being an entire dispensary located underground, I’ve got to say that the space didn’t feel claustrophobic in the least. Sleek light colored cement floors, white ceiling paint, and black painted walls made the space the perfect combination of roomy yet intimate. Classic rock was making its auditory presence known, and the staff was hard at work selling some sweet buds at several of their six check-out stations. Travis guided me over to one of the open stations and started to explain a little more about what makes Native Roots tick. As he explained all Native Roots are set up to educate the consumer on what they are getting. This location in particular, with its high volume of out-of-town traffic, was loaded with pamphlets on products and laws. As if to drive home this point I saw the educational process happen several times right next to me from some of the budtenders, first when Phil was trying to educate a newcomer on the potency of concentrates and then a moment later when Tawni was trying to drive home the point to not eat all 100mg of your edible at once (been there, done that, and didn’t enjoy it). Now that I had the basic run-down, it was time to get to the good stuff! Travis pulled out their display shelf of strains for me to peruse.
During my visit, Native Roots had a dozen strains on the shelf with several selections of indica, sativa, and hybrid. Travis pointed out a couple of their proprietary strains, and I went into full weed connoisseur mode. I wanted to see some strains that I couldn’t find anywhere else, and Travis was happy to oblige me. Griz Kush, named after the DJ and electronic producer is a strain specifically created with the artist for Native Roots as part of their signature artist strains. I popped the top on the jar of Griz Kush and was immediately rewarded with a potent punch of light, fruity, and almost citrusy dankness. The Kush attributes were definitely there, and the dank scents produced from that heritage were complementary to the sweet fruity notes. The nuggets themselves were simply smattered with trichomes and smacked of high-quality cannabis. Travis mentioned that Griz is a get-up-and-go strain that may be a hybrid on paper but has the heart of a sativa. This makes for a perfect exuberant high sans the paranoia that other strains can instill. Before moving on to concentrates and edibles I had to take a peek at another one of their other artist series strains, Big G. Big G, named after the hip hop group Big Gigantic is the amalgam of two of my all-time favorite strains, Blue Dream and Girl Scouts Cookies (GSC). Words cannot express how excited I was to see two of my all-time favorites mashed together into one super strain. Big G easily had as many trichomes as Griz did, and also bore a unique scent that was very true to its lineage. The smell was slightly earthy, and off the charts sweet.
The Blueberry genetics from Blue Dream definitely made an olfactory appearance and the earthy sweetness indicative of GSC simply added to the dessert-like appeal of this killer strain. Prying my nose from the bottle and only taking a short pause to chat with Brandon, Phil, Justin, Ben, Nathan, Deiam, and the crew, I turned my attention to topicals, edibles, tinctures, concentrates, and paraphernalia.
I started by taking a look at the topical selection at Native Roots, which had just about everything one could desire. As Travis explained, this large selection is there in part to aid medicinal marijuana refugees (aka people with real medical issues that they can’t get a med card for). The full line of Mary’s Medicinals was there, including pens, patches, and salves. Next to that was one of my favorite topical brands Mary Jane’s. The selection from Mary Janes was also very inclusive and had sprays, lotions, salves, and even lip balm. Last, but certainly not least, how could I forget to mention the Evo’s marijuana-infused personal lubricant, for that extra kinky high. Native Roots also had a great selection of edibles and tinctures as well. I took note of products from Wana, MarQaha, Sweet Grass, Stillwater, Ganjala, Cheeba Chew, Kief Kola, Cannapunch, Canyon Cultivations, Highly Edible, Blu Kudu, IncrEdible, Sweet Mary Jane’s, and Julie’s Kitchen (they have amazing low sugar options for diabetics). I finished by taking a peek at the selection of concentrates and devices. The concentrate selection was unique in the fact that the shatters and waxes on the shelf were produced by Native Roots. I’ve personally experienced Native Roots shatter in the past, and I can say with some conviction, it’s damn good stuff!
Possible the only shortcoming that I could pick out at this Native Roots was in the device department. Don’t get me wrong, there was a plethora of different smoking devices on the back wall and several options for vape pens, but it just seemed to be a little lacking. That isn’t to say that if you’re a newcomer to the realm and are looking for a quick and easy smoking solution that Native Roots won’t have you covered, but if you’re looking for the next hand-blown centerpiece to your pipe collection, look elsewhere.
I finished my visit with a few more photos, and a some of the crew got together to pose for me. If there was ever any question as to whether the staff at Native Roots has fun at their job, it was answered for me in our little photo shoot. To sum it up concisely, these are some good folks with some good weed in a killer location. If you are in the downtown area, cavorting along the sidewalks of the 16th street mall then there is no reason not to pay a visit to Native Roots. You may find yourself coming in the first time for the weed, but you’ll likely be coming back again for the people!
If you get an opportunity to visit Native Roots of Denver, Colorado let them know you heard of them through the Dope Directory, and please give them a rating.