As a former CU Buff, and someone who hasn’t left Boulder since college, it’s pretty easy to make some harsh (but oftentimes accurate) generalizations about my fellow residents of The Bubble. I was sitting at one of those “too-cool-for-you” cafes in the middle of town, which happens to be an excellent spot for people-watching. As I sipped my overpriced bean juice, in bursts a couple who embodied every single Boulder stereotype that you could possibly conceive: designer winter jacket, yoga pants, Uggs, who was joined by Ziggy Marley shirt, corduroys, and dreadlocks. This should be good. The oddball couple strode up to the counter, where Designer Winter Jacket dove into her frightfully complex order, while Ziggy Marley Shirt stared passively at the menu. She finishes her order a solid ninety seconds later, allowing the barista to rest her hand which had been hastily scrawling the intricacies of this girl’s desired concoction (which you’d be hard-pressed to even call “coffee” anymore). “And for you?” The barista then fixes her gaze at Ziggy Marley Shirt, obviously anticipating another barrage of “soy, half caf, half whip, double foam, caramel drizzle, extra spice” bullshit. However, he only asked one question: “Is your coffee organic?” Perhaps it was the way that he lingered on the last word, as if he had invented the term, but I thought it was an interesting (and fortunately spartan) question. Organic? I looked at my own cup. “Are you organic?” I whispered, drawing the stares of the hip people around me. It seems like, more and more, the term is thrown out by anyone to imply healthy. More and more too, the term “organic” will appear in taglines of various dispensaries. So, is there value in a dispensary that will tout its organic bud? Let’s consider River Rock, a dispensary situated on the north side of Denver, which guarantees all organic, soil grown bud, in a large, friendly and informative space.
Elyria-Swansea is that portion on the northern edge of Denver that is very rarely mentioned in tourism guides to the city. Considered to be a food desert, in that affordable and nutritious food is simply not present in the immediate area, the old neighborhood is an unsurprising mix of heavy industry, urban decay, and low income housing. Imagine my surprise, then, to see a building with the term “Organic” scrawled across its large exterior. The dispensary is situated on the north end of York, surrounded by industrial sites on all sides. As I approached the door, a man in a polo shirt, a hat, and jeans stood by, serious in his composure. Not realizing he was actually security to the place, I almost walked right past him, until he extended his palm and politely asked for my ID. A smile, a nod, a thank you, and I was through the first door. Then, I was to be buzzed into the second door, where a second person checked my ID and my Red Card. After a brief wait in their small, but comfortable waiting room, I was welcomed back into River Rock’s enormous product room.
The room itself is divided down the middle: the left side of the counter is reserved for recreational customers, while the right is devoted to medical patients. I was met at the long counter by Chris, my budtender, who was the kind of guy you could tell loved his job. The selection flower at River Rock was unbelievably large. At the time of my visit, medical patients could pick up any one of 39 strains (recreational friends still had the choice of 11). Chris excitedly pulled out jar after jar of product for me to sniff, his eyes glowing. Then there came that word again. “All of our product is organic, seed-to-sale.” Is organic cannabis “better” for you? As far as smoking the product, probably not. However, anyone who grows organically will not use artificial pesticides or adulterants in the soil. That means you do not run the risk of inhaling some wicked chemical used to treat your bud. Frankly, with as much scary press coming out about bud testing positive for Lord-knows-what, I’ll say that’s a selling point for me. Chris proudly pulled out one of his favorite strains: the Jack Frost. It’s a sativa-dominant strain that is a cross between Jack Herer, White Widow, and Northern Lights #5. If it were possible for three celebrities to all contribute their genetics to a child, this would be its ganja-equivalent. Now, anyone who smokes sativas regularly knows that sometimes, with some strains, you might smoke a tad bit too much, and you’ll end up with a whole host of paranoid thoughts. Not so for Jack Frost. Despite its high THC count, the bud is funky, uplifting, and certainly won’t make you go to bed scared (a situation I’ve personally been in enough times already). Whether you are shopping medically or recreationally, the smallest increment you can buy your herb in is an eighth. On the plus side, an eighth will only set you back $42 out the door for their top-shelf recreational strains. Solid! For medical patients, expect to pay just over $35 for an eighth of their top flowers; however, some of River Rock’s prepackaged ounces can be yours for only $120. Holy deals, Batman!
Chris then tagged out for another budtender, Jared, who raced over to their fridge, and produced a giant tray of concentrates. For shatter, the dispensary offers selections from TC Labs. However, the dispensary’s pièce de résistance would have to be its live resin wax, and full melt bubble hash, made in house. At any time, you’ll be able to procure at least seven different varieties of organic bubble hash, and at least one kind of live resin wax when you drop in. For members, that bubble hash can be yours for only $35 for the gram, and just $40 for the live resin extracts.
Behind the counter was an impressive edible selection, mostly made with cannabis supplied by River Rock. You have your gold standards, like IncrEdibles, who had their full line of chocolate bars on display, as well as their Gum E edibles, which have some added Vitamin C. I’m not entirely sure why that’s a selling point for them (and no, there’s no evidence to suggest Vitamin C will get you “higher”), but they are delicious. Try the mango! The dispensary also had its pick alliteration-inducing edibles: Cheeba Chews, Karma Kandies, Gaia’s Garden, just to name a few. Stacked neatly on the wall behind the counter was a large selection of Magical Butter machines. Essentially, it’s a crock pot that comes equipped with recipes to help make some cannabis-infused recipes at home. While I’ve never tried one myself, I’ve heard the user-friendly apparatus is hard to screw up. Illuzion Glass Galleries had a very impressive display of their fancy glass for sale at the right end of the counter. To say the least, the selection of smoking devices at River Rock was more geared towards those seeking more artistic pieces, rather than something cheap.
Frankly, I think we can all learn a lesson from Ziggy Marley Shirt’s laconic interaction with his barista. Don’t over-complicate things, and ask the questions that matter. If organic cannabis matters to you, it would be very difficult to find a dispensary with as much selection as River Rock, while maintaining a fully organic grow. Overall, I really enjoyed my time at River Rock. I’m a big fan of big selection, and I’m a big fan of passionate people. These guys could not wait to show me everything they had. Right on!
If you get an opportunity to visit River Rock of Denver, Colorado, let them know you heard of them through the Dope Directory, and please give them a rating.