Tumbleweeds Health Center owners Dana Zygmunt and Kim Williams have long known the benefits of medical marijuana, so when Arizona voters passed Proposition 203 in 2012, the duo decided against moving to Colorado to open their marijuana health facility, instead staying right here in Tucson.
On Sept. 11, 2011, Zygmunt and Williams opened Tumbleweeds, 5315 E. Broadway Blvd., a premier cannabis health and certification center with the goal of educating medical marijuana users and potential users, whose qualifying conditions range from such things as seizures to cancer to chronic pain.
Williams said when first starting out, there were a lot of uncertainties in the industry.
"It was very scary at the start because it's a new business in a new industry, and we didn't know what type of people we would have coming in," she said. "But in the last three years, as the world and our country has decided medical marijuana is okay, the attitude is changing so much. We were whispering about it at first, and now we're proudly yelling about it."
While Tumbleweeds is not a dispensary and therefore does not carry cannabis products, it does sell high CBD tinctures, salves, lotions, and candies, and also carries numerous vapors and vaporizers.
"Not only do we carry a lot of products, but we also help educate our patients on how to use these products," said Zygmunt.
Still, Williams and Zygmunt say they intend to apply for a dispensary license at the next available opportunity, and will eventually also harvest their own cannabis on-site.
This will complement their current educational efforts, giving the company an even bigger footprint in the medical marijuana industry.
Williams and Zygmunt are hosts of a weekly podcast show called "Weedsday Wednesday" that educates listeners about marijuana, breaks the latest industry news and hosts several expert interviews.
Next Wednesday, the show will feature Robert Melamede, CEO of Cannabis Science.
Podcast listeners can dial in at 646-915-8421.
The community following due to such efforts has translated into better business for Tumbleweeds. Often, Williams said, patients stop in to learn, or even just to say hello and thank them for continued assistance.
"We're a cozy, friendly atmosphere, and people really feel welcome coming in," she said. "We're here to give people an education they can't get at other places in town."
The most rewarding part of the business, Williams continued, is seeing how medical marijuana has aided those who are ill.
"It's watching their pain go away and their smiles come back," she said, noting there are still a number of misconceptions about the industry.
"Our government has led the general public to believe that you will go insane if you use cannabis—literally that it will drive you to an insane, mad state," she said. "That's one of the stigmas that older people come in with and have a hard time wrapping their heads around, especially if they've never seen or used marijuana before."
For such reasons, Tumbleweeds sells a number of health educational books and videos. For those looking to apply for a medical marijuana card, it also serves as the lowest-cost certification center in town.
"If anyone does it cheaper, we will match them," said Williams.
For more information on Tumbleweeds or on how to become certified, visit tumbleweedshealthcenter.com or call 838-4430. Tumbleweeds is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.