Because there's nothing more irritating than some anxious person hovering over you, projecting that affected, baritone douche voice into and through your thoughts—searing you with their false enthusiasm. “Hey, buddy! So great to see you here! You've got a really good eye, bro. That's one of our highest-testing strains! Check out those trichromes, am I right?” Fuck. I really need medication after all that.
At Ultra Health my budtender once got his balls busted by every other employee (and maybe your humble reporter as well) for saying, “I got a Hot Pocket ... It was cool.” And another time, when I asked about a particularly strong sativa strain, I got the very honest: “I don't know. It got me a little too jittery.” (Sold!)
Being one of the very few dispensaries on the West Side, and the only one where I rarely bump into other patients, I was selfishly disinclined to share my secret with anyone. I might have to wait in line. They might be too busy to shoot the shit. Shameful, I know.
But their parent company, New Mexico Top Organics, was in the news every week or so for the last month. First, for allowing local rapper Versatile Verse to record a music video in one of their greenhouses, then for getting kicked out of the State Fair when some schlubby fair organizers okayed the company's booth plans, but somehow overlooked their intent to display a four-foot cannabis plant—resulting in Ultra Health being run off the property and somehow getting the brunt of the blame, too. Last week, Ultra Health commissioned a report claiming that if the state were to legalize marijuana, the industry could bring in $412.5 million in the first year. It also said that 40% of that would come from out-of-state customers, who would also be dumping the rest of their money into hotels, restaurants and tourist spots.
I took all of this to be an omen. It was time to go public. Let your favorite dispensary free, and if it loves you, it will fly back.
Ultra Health doesn't have first-time freebies or a rewards program, but they do have some great daily specials. I waited around for a $10 gram Friday (basically getting a gram for free after the discount), and picked up a few grams (remembering to stop for cash before I got there).
The first strain I tried was called Acid Diesel Hog (THC: 16.17%, CBD: 0.29%—$14/gram), a sativa-dominant hybrid. It had a playful taste, sour and bright, and seemed incredibly smooth for something with such a caustic name. The high was very mellow at first, but built slowly over time while remaining laid back. I found the relaxing effect of the indica side of this hybrid brought the almost manic energy of the sativa side into a more manageable space, making conversation come easily while keeping paranoia at arm's length—perfect for those who suffer from depression related to social anxiety.
I followed it with a bowl of PowerNap (THC: 18.59%, CBD: 0.16%—$14/gram), a 50/50 hybrid that was developed by Sin City Seed when they crossed BluePower and WhiteNightmare. PowerNap was green and beautiful to look at. It was sweetly fragrant and tasted like floral-scented dryer sheets oddly enough. The indica side of this hybrid seemed to have the most effect on me, causing me to slow down to a snail's pace while my mind was free to run wild with the highly euphoric shades coming from the sativa end. Word to the wise: This one will have you hacking and sputtering like a 40-year-old jallopy.
I closed out my night a few hours later with the delicious Black Mist (THC: 23.45%, CBD: 0.25%—$14/gram). This potent hybrid crosses Black Widow, Kali Mist and Super Silver Haze, bringing on high notes of openness and optimism that lasted well into the evening. For once, the simple pleasure of tasting this weed seemed to outweigh its high. Nutty and even almost bready, I might have overindulged a bit just to keep running the smooth hits over my palate. Yum.
That night, while enjoying a sunset in a way that only a cannabis user can, I tried to think of exactly what made the West Side Ultra Health my favorite dispensary in town. Here's what I came up with: More than anything, it's honesty and normal human interaction that I value most. And above all else, that's what will keep me coming back time and again—dewy from a brisk walk and ready with the small talk. Now, if only they'd get a damn credit card machine…