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Culture Magazine Review: The Herbal Cure

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Interviewed: Brandon Burnham (President & Founder)

How and when did your dispensary start up?

We registered the business in 2009 and officially opened The Herbal Cure on April 1, 2010. We got our start during the home-grown phase, right before House Bill 1284 passed. Fortunately, we are one of the few mom-and-pop shops that made it through all of the regulation and development of the industry, since it exploded in 2010. Owning and operating The Herbal Cure has been one of the most challenging and rewarding processes we could have ever asked for.

What’s the story behind the name of your shop?

Before anyone ever thought recreational legalization could possibly happen, or there were any other shops open with the THC acronym, we thought The Herbal Cure was the most clever way to incorporate the famous cannabinoid into a medically-driven business name. We believe that cannabis has more healing properties than anything else found on the planet, and it really is The Herbal Cure for a vast array of our human conditions.

What does your dispensary offer clients that they can’t find anywhere else? What do you specialize in, if anything?

The Herbal Cure truly is a one-stop shop, specializing in the largest selection of connoisseur quality bud, concentrates and edibles on the market. We are often told that we have the best selection of products, and we even recently won a Best of Denver Award for best patient perks. The Herbal Cure team truly cares about your satisfaction. We specialize in offering high-quality products, exceptional service and keeping our customers happy!

If someone wanted to open a dispensary and get their feet wet in the industry, what advice or counsel would you give them?

Get your badge, be ready for a wild ride, and learn all you can. This industry is still just beginning to develop on a national level. There will be many changes and obstacles ahead. Just keep learning from your mistakes, do the right thing, and be the best you can be, every day. With a little luck to go along with your passion and hard work, you’ll make it.

What is the most important thing you hope to accomplish while in the MJ/MMJ community?

We want to set the standard. The Herbal Cure strives to never lower our standards because it’s easier or cheaper to do so. Simply by being successful, we can influence others in the industry to behave in this same manner. Being part of this up-and-coming industry, we are the pioneers of growing, processing and selling this amazing plant. We owe it to this movement to do it in the most responsible and best ways possible.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary Review: The Herbal Cure

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The outside of The Herbal Cure still looks probably much the way it has since it was built in 1927, minus the giant red railroad trolley in the front, which makes it look like a movie set for a spaghetti western.

The shop is in what was formerly a lumber yard and later a car lot, and the parking lot and back property dwarf the small building on its edge. I used to shop there when they sold another type of wood, and the owners have done a good job of turning the office into a southwestern-styled dispensary. There are two waiting rooms — one in the front of the store and another after you have been led back through the security doors. The front room is long and narrow, with a corner fireplace, unfinished wood walls and roof timbers.

After my paperwork was checked, I got a quick tour around of the cozy space. The bud bar is in a nook to the right as you enter, along with small rooms for patient consultations and storing clones. The rest of the dispensary is taken up by a huge wooden dinner table and, beyond that, a patient lounge.

The poofy couches were comfortable, and there was plenty of reading material and a flat screen TV on the wall– which was good, because I sat for nearly twenty minutes waiting on the chatty customer in front of me to finish up. Jula Burnham, who owns the shop with her husband Brandon, said they pride themselves on having a place patients can hang out, and clearly this guy wanted to do just that. To his credit, I don’t think he realized I was waiting in line behind him. When he leaned around the corner from the bud bar after yakking on about his own garden to check the score on the Steelers game and saw me sitting on the couch, he sped up his transaction.

Once he finished, I was finally called over to the bud bar, where Brandon Burnham gave me the rundown of what they had in stock, starting with the edibles, topical lotions and concentrates stored in a custom wood cabinet. Herb is kept behind the shelf in glass jars on a wooden book case along the wood-paneled wall. The Herbal Cure reminded me of a hunting camp, but with jars of ganja and kokopelli figures hung on the walls instead of dead elk heads. Brandon was friendly and I realized later that I spent nearly as much time at the counter chatting as the guy in front of me had spent — though nobody was waiting behind me. Herb is broken down into three categories and Brandon had no problem with me working my way through a dozen jars one sniff at a time. Top shelf jars sell at $50 an eighth, middle shelf at $40 and bottom shelf at $35, and all eighths are weighed out at four grams. Brandon told me I would notice a difference between their top shelf and their middle shelf, but the only difference I saw for several of the strains was the price.

I did see some good cuts, like the Juicy Fruit, Rough Neck, and Banana Kush. But some of the jars, like the Sour Diesel and Bubba Kush, were down to shake and clearly weren’t of the same quality as the other strains. Jula Burnham told me later that some of the jars were likely low and shaky because it was the end of the day, but she also admitted they have struggled with their price structure in the past. As the market gets more competitive and shops are starting to offer similar quality “top shelf” meds for less, Jula says they plan to drop their prices to $45 per-eighth — probably this summer, in order to coincide with a larger output of new genetics they are currently growing out.

Page down to see what William Breathes took home this week.

Island Sweet Skunk wax
The wax had the same orange color as ISS buds, with a true pine sap smell and consistency that melted like beeswax on my fingertips. Dabbed on an oil plate, the wax sputtered a little but mostly bubbled away into a cloud of thick smoke. The oil had a fresh, cedar taste to it but lacked any strong skunky sensation I hoped for considering its origin. But the purely cerebral sativa high, cotton mouth and munchies that took over within twenty minutes was very much Island Sweet Skunk. As powerful as the buzz was for a solid hour and a half, it quickly petered out at the two-hour mark. I got roughly four good dabs on an oil-specific pipe, but I would think most patients could stretch the $30 half-gram much further.

Rough Neck
The strain comes from Centennial Seeds, one of Colorado’s first cannabis seed companies, and they aren’t giving up the lineage. However, the budtender told me he thought this strain had hints of something from the chem family. It’s the first I’ve seen of this strain and I hope to see a lot more. The strongest smell out of the jar was a sweet haze, like Super Silver Haze minus the dank muskiness. Very fluffy strain, even without the excessive fan leaves left on the bud. It had tall, fat calyxes that were coated in long tomato-orange hairs. The trichomes were equally as lengthy and they gave the bud a fuzzy appearance. It looked nice, but with the sugar leaves it burned rough in the bubbler. It had a mild skunky taste with a very light hazy finish that I hope they can bring out in future crops.

Banana Kush
I didn’t get a look at as many of the indicas as I did the sativas, but their Banana Kush stood out the most from three feet away and again up close. More of the Colorado trim, sans fan leaves — but the coating of crystals left this olive-colored herb almost amber in appearance. Left out, it didn’t stink up my office, but up close, the herb had a definite banana smell — and breaking it open released a deeper, Jamba Juice-like fruitiness. The taste didn’t have much of the banana or fruit flavor to it, and within two hits, my spliff tasted and smelled indistinguishable from other herb. (Between you and me, I don’t really like the taste of bananas anyway.) Flavor aside, within five minutes I was — for lack of any more appropriate term — fucking stoned, with completely dulled senses and a Valium-like numbness for a good two-and-a-half hours. Maybe not the tastiest strain, but for a knockout, it was exactly what I was looking forward to when walking out of the shop

UTech partners with Colorado firm on ganja research

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THE University of Technology Jamaica, (UTech) on Monday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ganja Labs, USA — a subsidiary of Ganja Inc — to collaborate on research in science, technology and best practices in the cultivation of medicinal marijuana under controlled and secure conditions.

The collaboration will involve development of a multimillion-dollar public/private joint venture regarding construction and operation of a specialised laboratory and high-tech indoor and outdoor greenhouse facilities at UTech’s Papine campus for research and experimentation. Through the operation of the facility, the partners will also demonstrate to licensed growers state-of-the-art technology and control regimens for security and compliance for small cultivations of medicinal marijuana.

The outcomes of the partnership are expected to be of benefit to the development of the nutraceutical industry in Jamaica and also provide guidance and education to rural small farmers who expect to participate in the emerging medical marijuana industry, under licence.

Acting president of UTech, Ambassador Burchell Whiteman, said the partnership is “an opportunity for UTech and Jamaica’s development”.

“UTech’s expertise in science and technology and our expertise in medicinal marijuana research will be enhanced by this partnership with Ganja Labs, USA. We are very pleased as this will allow those who produce the raw material for the emerging medicinal marijuana industry to have the best scientific and technological guidance. This will ensure that Jamaica is competitive and has necessary compliant arrangements in place for production and medicinal use, with the necessary quality assurance,” he said.

The university is preparing itself to be a major researcher and developer in Jamaica’s medicinal marijuana industry and to play a leading role in the application of science and technology in the development of the raw material for its marijuana research.

Dr Claire Sutherland, senior director of international and institutional linkages at UTech, explained that “the collaboration with Ganja Labs, USA, will allow UTech to play a leading role in the development of this new medicinal marijuana industry and to engage with Ganja labs LLC on corporate social responsibility initiatives.

“This collaboration will allow us to determine different unique marijuana strains that can be produced in the Jamaican environment, potentially enlarging the internationally recognised brand Jamaica. This partnership will ultimately have a positive influence on the livelihood and knowledge of small rural farmers by making knowledge of international best practices and standards available to them in this emerging legal environment and regulated industry in Jamaica,” she emphasised.

“The partnership is also significant to Jamaica on a whole as the government positions the country for participation in the global nutraceutical market for economic growth with jobs. In the area of medicinal marijuana, strategic partnership opportunities are established in distinct areas for potential scientific research and technology investigation. It will also contribute to the learning environment for our students and prepare them for entering the global market,” she added.

Meanwhile, Balram Vaswani, chairman of Ganja Labs, USA, explained the concepts and benefits of controlled growing methods, especially for small cultivations which need to adhere to clinical procedures for medicinal research. “We plan to showcase three different growing methods using similar strains and carry out the necessary internal quality assurance during the lifespan of each plant to ensure that the desired chemical characteristics are achieved. This will give a real-life case study that could also be shared with potential licensed farmers/growers so that they can compare growing methods and the associated costs of each. It is very important that we give the knowledge and the tools to the local farmers and grassroots people, so they are able to provide the highest grade products to the marketplace, which will help to build wealth creation for those who take part in this new industry ahead,” he said.

The company, through its parent company Ganja Inc, also has extensive expertise in the business, science and technology of regulated cultivation of marijuana for therapeutic purposes in the USA.

Production will begin after the necessary permissions and licence to UTech are in place under the anticipated Dangerous Drug (Amendment) Act, 2015, and any other relevant legislation and regulations. This legislation, when enacted, will make legal provisions that will facilitate scientific research on medicinal marijuana by accredited and approved tertiary institutions in Jamaica.

Some of the earliest research on marijuana in Jamaica was done at UTech. The institution has been conducting research in several natural products, including indigenous flora and fauna in the Cockpit Country for medicinal uses. The university also offers programmes and conducts research in health sciences, pharmacy, alternative medicine, herbology and rural development planning, among others which will draw on the research to be conducted with Ganja Labs, USA.

UTech has several active MOU partnerships in various fields of study with universities and other institutions across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Asia and the Caribbean.