Northwest Side Strains

Nature Med could stand to be a bit more "local," but is bike accessible and generally excellent

The Tucson metro area is edging ever closer to a full complement of cannabis dispensaries—we have 11 of an eventual possible 12—and Nature Med, Inc. on the northwest side is among recent local openings.

The Oro Valley dispensary opened last month in a nondescript, steel box on the north side of Ina Road just west of Interstate 10. It's pretty easy to find, despite a customer post on saying they drove past it twice without seeing it. Um, maybe medicate after you go. Just sayin'.

The location makes the dispensary convenient for travelers and commuters buzzing up and down the interstate, and since it's on the less-busy west side of I-10, traffic is lighter than the Nightmare That Is Ina Road. Nature Med is also just off the Santa Cruz bike path, which might seem like a small thing, but I suspect they will get some traffic from cyclists, especially on weekends and also especially as the years pass and we all get out our bikes and go for a ride, saving gas and having fun and staying more fit than we would be if we stayed in our cars.

In any event, if you look for the yellow leaf logo on the building, it's pretty easy to see. Hit the door-side buzzer, and they'll let you into the utilitarian waiting area (typical bank window with slot, MVD-style chairs, cannabis reading materials and coffee), where you can fill out the two-page patient intake form. Another buzzer gets you into the Back Room.

The wood and glass product cases kind of give Nature Med a less clinical, more warm feeling than some places with glass and metal. It feels more like a low-key showroom than a doctor's office. I appreciate low key, because that helps dispensary operators keep costs down. Dispensaries are like any other place—the people who go to North for happy hour generally don't go to the District much and vice versa.

Nature Med prices hover around the middle of the local dispensary road. They have three price tiers for flowers—$15/$50/$90 per gram/eighth/quarter, $18/$55/$100 and $20/$60/$110. The day I went they had 16 strains, all lab tested, ranging from pure sativas to pure indicas. Interestingly, they had a strain called Jerry Berry, which the bud tender said was originally bred in Vermont. Vermont growers are widely known back East as a source of quality cannabis. The Jerry Berry strain at Nature Med bears that out, IMO.

BTW, I've been asked (repeatedly) to list strains in my dispensary reviews. The reason I don't is simple: Dispensary inventories are notoriously unstable, sometimes changing daily. Eventually, when dispensaries get their associated grow operations running, they will have more stability. Until then, I encourage you to check WeedMaps for menus, or just go say hello and ask what they have.

Nature Med also had two sizes of prerolls ($8/$15) and more than one kind of brownies ($30). For now, the edibles are from a Phoenix kitchen, maybe a slight problem for localists. I'm a little bothered by carbon footprints, so I try to lean local when I can. Nature Med loses a couple of points for shopping in Phoenix. At least they aren't shipping in edibles from China. Give it a few years, and someone probably will be.

In the end, I like Nature Med for the prices, selection and convenience. They were quick and professional, and they introduced me to a strain I've never tried before, Jerry Berry, and they had a couple of others I haven't heard of. Sublime Pine? Super Cindy? They boast organic meds, and I believe them, despite the fact that cannabis can't get a federal organic seal.

Mr. Smith approves.