I think, one of my absolute favorite aspects of legalization, other than the fact that we Coloradans can legally procure and consume cannabis, is the ever-changing image of the city. Ten years ago, if you found yourself in front of an oddly colored building, you were either at a gaudy Mexican restaurant, a pawn shop, or some lame theme bar. Today, one way that dispensaries are turning heads is by slathering old brick buildings with fresh coats of paint that belong absolutely nowhere else, as if to say “Hey folks, you can buy WEED here!” On top of that Federal Boulevard, a major artery of Denver that runs north-to-south on the west side of town, is probably one of my favorite streets to drive down. Not only is it the street of streets for lowrider cruises on Cinco de Mayo, every few blocks has its own extraordinarily unique character along the colorful road. Up north, you’re more than likely to find fireworks and chili peppers for sale. On the south side of Federal, expect a heaping serving of Vietnamese food and culture. However, The Purple Dragon, a medical only facility, sits right in between these two extremes (closer to the delicious Mexican food and public housing). Just like the color of the building would imply, The Purple Dragon is bright and cheery; and yet, it’s one of the most quiet and relaxing dispensaries I’ve been in. While the interesting dichotomy of the dispensary is off-putting at first, the dispensary’s unique strains and shatter make it certainly a unique and charming experience.
If you miss The Purple Dragon while driving down Federal, you’re either blind and shouldn’t be driving, or you’re already stoned (and you certainly shouldn’t be driving). Located directly off Federal, Purple Dragon sits in a bright purple building with bright green crosses painted onto the sides of the building. The front of the building offers little in the way of parking (two spots, which were full during my visit), but a whole host of parking around the block. Make sure you follow the signs for the appropriate spots for the dispensary, as there are plenty of signs telling you where you shouldn’t park. I will say, walking into the dispensary’s vestibule was one of the more awkward experiences of my visits to dispensaries. While the window to check ID and medical card are not uncommon, they typically have a place to slide your credentials to the bud tender waiting on the other side. However, The Purple Dragon just has a window. One of the bud tenders walked up to the window while I was standing at it. “Can I help you?” she asked sweetly. Fumbling for my ID and Red Card, all I could muster was “I would.. uh.. like to buy some marijuana please.” Fair enough. With a flash of my cards, I was welcomed back into the large and open product room. Purple Dragon has taken the open concept to the point of emptiness; it’s a large room with faux wooden floors, bright yellow and blue walls, and a concoction of different art prints – from Audrey Hepburn, to a jungle bridge, to a large print of the island of Manhattan.
As I walked up to the counter, the two bud tenders in the store, Bryce and Gretchen, started showing me the large variety of flower the dispensary. “The store’s motto is something along the lines of ‘Keep it simple, stupid,'” Gretchen mentioned, as she drew out some of her favorites. Everything at Purple Dragon is soil grown and organic, which becomes rapidly evident based solely on the smell and look of the buds. Of course, one of the dispensary’s popular strains is the Sour Diesel, which is naturally a favorite for any medical patients transplanted from the east coast. For me, not so much. I’m not a major fan of the diesely flavor and smell of Sour D, but I do understand the sativa’s charm. What interested me most was several of the strains that are very hard to come by in Colorado. For instance, take a look at the Goo. With a smell reminiscent of blueberries and sour citrus, it’s a heavy-duty indica which is tough to find around town. For you rare strain hunters out there, I might also suggest The Void. Now, I don’t know much about this strain, other than its bright orange hairs, its leafy green and compact texture, and its sweet and cheesy smell. Finally, take a look at the dispensary’s Recon. According to Gretchen, its a “sweet and heavy indica” which smelled quite a bit like pine trees and candy. All in all, the dispensary had some 22 strains to choose from, which range anywhere from $20 to $30 for the eighth. For just $5, you can buy yourself a strain-specific gram prerolled joint, which are rolled in RAW hemp cones.
Concentrate users should rejoice, because Purple Dragon makes their very own strain specific shatter and wax in store. While the wax supplies were dwindling when I was in the store, these guys were chock full of shatter for you to dab at your heart’s content. At only $35 for the gram, it’s not a bad place to go for affordable shatter made in-house. If you manage to make it into Purple Dragon on the weekends, expect some delicious, old-school bubble hash for only $10 for the gram. The dispensary’s bubble hash was one of Bryce’s favorites: “I do a lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitzu, and nothing is better,” he said with a smile. As far as edibles go, the dispensary had its shelves stocked full with IndrEdibles, including the brand-new Affogato bar. You like coffee and caramel? You like a stupidly potent edible? Affogato. At just $20 for a 300mg bar, it’s an incredible economical (and delicious) way to get your cannabis. Of course, the dispensary had plenty of selections from Cheeba Chew, Wana, and Gaia’s Garden, as well.
Purple Dragon has a very interesting dynamic for a dispensary. It’s an open and dark dispensary, and I was actually pretty impressed by the soothing silence inside the store. No music, just silence. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing either. Personally, I dig the quiet and calm atmosphere (especially when shopping medically), and, despite what you might expect with the bold wall color choices, the place is extraordinarily laid back. If you’re in while there is a wait, help yourself to a coloring book, or a turn at the dispensary’s own arcade cabinet. Read a vulgar article in The Rooster, or just simply admire the dispensary’s hand-drawn artwork representing their strains throughout the store. For homemade shatter, rare strains, and an overall friendly (albeit awkward at times) vibe, Purple Dragon is a solid choice in a medical dispensary. And see? I didn’t even have to make a single Barney the Dinosaur reference throughout the article. Yes. Dinosaurs are pretty much dragons. Shut up.
If you get an opportunity to visit The Purple Dragon of Denver, Colorado, let them know you heard of them through the Dope Directory, and please give them a rating.