When I think about the end of marijuana prohibition in the state of Colorado, I’m instantly drawn back to those zany fourteen years in American history where alcohol was prohibited. Ah yes, the temperance movement. What happened to the head brewers at the country’s major breweries? I think my favorite story must be from the Yuengling Brewery. For the fourteen years of prohibition, the brewery switched to selling their legally ambiguous “Near Beer,” which was a slightly less-shitty version of any alcohol-free beers you see today. During that time, the brewery also survived by opening a dairy, and selling ice cream. Why not? The day after Franklin D. Roosevelt ended alcohol prohibition, Yuengling delivered a crate of full-strength beer straight to the White House. Now, in case you weren’t aware, it takes significantly longer than 24 hours to brew beer. It takes about 504 hours longer, in fact. So, in all that time that they weren’t supposed to be brewing beer, there they were, brewing beer. Think about when Colorado’s Amendment 20 passed back in 2000, which allowed caregivers to cultivate and possess small amounts of marijuana for their patients. Suddenly, these growers who were living in the shadows were able to be a bit more forthcoming with their products. When medical marijuana dispensaries began opening eight years later, even more growers, who had been cultivating cannabis for decades, began showing the world the secrets to their craft. Standing Akimbo, a medical dispensary in Denver, combines old-school growers with new-age technologies, to create a consistently good product. They’ve been a dispensary for nearly five years, but they produce strains like they’ve been doing it for decades.
Standing Akimbo sits in that odd part of town right off of 38th Avenue, which is rapidly entering the Highland’s affluent sphere of influence. The dispensary has its own dedicated parking, but I opted to park off of Jason, where there was plenty of places to park my car. As I was reaching for the door to enter, a middle-aged couple exited, singing a song in unison. “This should be good,” I thought to myself, as Andy, Standing Akimbo’s general manager, showed me to the product room. It was about the time I passed by some Tibetan prayer flags surrounding a statue of Jerry Garcia, that I knew I was in for something different. The product room is straight-forward. A few chairs are pulled up to the long, mahogany bar. The far end of the room has been cut in half from curtains. Apparently, before Standing Akimbo moved in, the place was a restaurant. In fact, for the first few years of the dispensary’s existence, they were mostly known for their edibles and concentrates made on site. However, with new regulations, and some bad publicity about edibles, Standing Akimbo’s days of producing concentrates and edibles are behind them. Fortunately, the flower the dispensary grows is absolutely fabulous.
Andy opened the jar of Jilly Bean behind the bar, and I could smell the pungent and tart cannabis from where I was sitting. The high is often described as a silly, happy experience, similar to its name. However, Standing Akimbo’s version of the flower took home top honors at the Cannabis Cup in 2014 for best medical sativa. With distinctive orange hairs and a haze of trichomes covering these buds, you could say they’re downright frosty. The dispensary had fourteen different strains available, with a solid mix of indicas, sativas, and hybrids. And hey, if you become a member, these guys will give it to you for $20 for the eighth. As a non-member, you’ll be paying either $30 or $35, depending on the strain. Never fear though! For you early bird smokers, the dispensary has a nonmember happy hour from 9-11 AM on Monday-Friday. And I’ll say it again: twenty dollars for this year’s best medical sativa? You’d be a sucker not to at least check these guys out.
Since Standing Akimbo went out of the concentrate and edible game, the dispensary has been slow to replace their stocks. “We carry pretty much only what our patients like, and what we like,” Andy said. You’re left with few options if you’re looking for edibles, but the dispensary does sell the Sweet Grass cookies for $4 a pop. I will say, Sweet Grass makes some delicious flavors (try the lemon and poppy seed!), which makes that price very appetizing. Aside from Sweet Grass, the dispensary also carries the full line by Canyon Cultivation, as well as a few products from Wana. During my visit, the dispensary had shatter and wax from Colorado Concentrates, as well as some deliciously flaky looking live resin extracts. As someone who has fallen into the world of concentrates rather recently, the flavor you get from live resin extracts is unlike anything you’ve had before, due namely to the higher terpene content. If you’re looking for a way to smoke your concentrates (or flower, for that matter), Standing Akimbo really does not have much in the way of smoking devises either.
“We want to maintain our boutique, small-store feel. We don’t want to sell out,” Andy declared proudly. Indeed, the dispensary was set up in a way that would ensure a striking conversation between your bud tender and you. These guys were well informed, passionate, and extraordinarily friendly. Where some dispensaries live off of numbers of customers in, this didn’t seem to phase the employees here. “We’d rather be able to talk to our patients, to find out what they really like, and what they really need.” That explains the edibles being specifically selected by and for the regular patients of Standing Akimbo. That also explains the long and interesting conversation I was able to have with Andy, who probably could have been using his time to ensure the store’s compliance was up to snuff. The fact is, he didn’t. And when patients came in, he took the time with them as well. I hear it all the time, that we’re in a brand new industry, and no one really knows what they’re doing yet. Fine, but it’s not like people just suddenly learned how to treat patients and customers the second the stuff became legal. It’s not like the growers suddenly learned how to grow as soon as the dispensary opened. No, you don’t learn how to make a Cannabis Cup winner overnight, just like you don’t brew a full-strength beer in one day.
If you get an opportunity to visit Standing Akimbo of Denver, Colorado, let them know you heard of them through the Dope Directory, and please give them a rating.