The ambient warmth and relaxation in Minerva is palpable. I fill out my first-time patient forms, and then wait blinking on a couch in the waiting room. While one employee starts checking me in, another comes over to explain the process. He tells me the baked goods are buy-
“I was a patient here for years before I started working here,” he says. “It's a great place. You'll love it.” It feels like a dream—waves of déjà vu. My mouth opens slightly, but before I have to think of anything to say, my bud-tender is next to me, asking if my name is Joshua.
I let her lead me into the showroom, where the glowing feelings intensify. Everyone is smiling so hard I'm sure they'll be feeling it in the morning. The 'tender is telling me that I get a free joint for being a first time patient. She says they roll them with the shake from every strain currently on hand. That nabs my attention for a few seconds, but I'm only listening with a part of my brain. The rest is looking around at all the pretty edibles. Cookies, brownies, rice crispy treats, soda, syrup, lollipops and … chocolate truffles? Holy hell.
He tells me the baked goods are buy-one-get-one-half-off, but the tone of his words carry the same frequency one uses when consoling an injured bird or panicked child.
I've missed something. “Pardon?” I ask. The 'tender is holding up a card in front of me. “You get a free joint every three trips,” she says again. “Um,” I say.
I haven't planned on getting any edibles this time, but that chocolate is calling to me. Why are you talking to that lady, Josh? Ignore her. Come to me. Embrace my delicious chocolatiness. I take a single step in the direction of the candies, pointing at a couple of hybrid strains without really giving them too close an inspection. “Agramofeachplease. What's up with those chocolates?” Scoot five more inches.
The rest of the time is a blur. I'm highly aware of the beautiful, hand-made chai truffle (10 mg THC, $3.50) sitting snugly in a paper bag next to the cash register as my credit card runs. My receipt barely spits out before I'm taking heroic strides toward the lobby and out into the car. It's hot. This masterpiece needs a refrigerator. Two blocks down, the smell of the flower reaches my nose through sealed plastic and the paper bag. My car smells like a rocketship by the time I get home.
When I get there, I take the steps two at a time, holding the bag lightly and thrusting it before me. Inside, I gingerly place it in the fridge for after supper. I don't touch it. Not even a nibble. Well. Maybe a nibble.
In the meantime, I head back to the mystery buds still waiting in the bag. The sativa-dominant hybrid, named Dark Shadow haze (THC: 23.03%, CBG: 0.39%—$12/gram), smells like hibiscus and tastes like fruit punch. A cross between Grape Ape and Nevil’s Wreck, this pretty flower has me up and doing the dishes while the final bud still burns in the bowl. It's late in the afternoon when I smoke it, after a full day of work and running errands in a hot car, but any weariness I've felt is gone.
A few hours later—following an impromptu top-to-bottom house cleaning, dinner and chocolatey snack—I relax on the couch with the indica-dominant Venom OG (THC: 22.79%, CBD 0.24%—$11/gram) and watch Kumaré on Netflix.
Venom is a cross between Poison OG and Rare Dankness #1. Its smooth quality and sweet, lemony taste make it go down easily with hardly a cough. But this beast is sneaky. Nearly 20 minutes into the film, my muscles go slack, my body becomes light and airy. While not quite what I'd call “heady,” the vibe from this strain is very relaxed and will serve those looking for a nice bedtime bud, but don't want to wake up at two in the morning, a DVD menu looping and a pool of drool on their shoulder.
But the real cherry on top of my visit to Minerva wasn't the great weed (and boy was it great) or the gorgeous candy, it was the feeling I got that they really love and believe in cannabis. And their awe is contagious.