Convenience is a key reason to have an Arizona medical marijuana card. The card turns the chore of getting meds into something akin to grabbing a gallon of milk—"Sure, honey. I'll grab an eighth on my way home from work."
There are suddenly a lot of dispensaries in el Pueblo Viejo, all vying for a chunk of your bud budget, so convenience has become an important part of the equation. Let's face it, most patients are unlikely to drive across town to get meds unless they have to—in which case they almost certainly will. But we don't have to waste the gas anymore, and the cannabis quality, prices and selection really don't vary much from place to place, so the Place becomes more important.
I spend a lot of time working on Fourth Avenue, so the Downtown Dispensary is at the top of the convenience list for me. The shop on the north side of Sixth Street, half a block west of Fourth, is easy walking distance from my office, which usually rotates between the Epic Cafe and Sky Bar, depending on moods. And it's also convenient to downtown events like the street fair or Second Saturdays. I'm guessing they get and will continue to get mad walk-in traffic. Parking is behind the building, but the entrance is on Sixth Street, so you'll have to scurry in if you don't want people to see you. ;)
The waiting area is huge and tidy, with many typical waiting room chairs lining the walls. They have the obligatory cannabis reading materials and the bank-style window—two of them, in fact—through which you thrust your card to be buzzed into the large inner sanctum. They had 12 strains the day I went, but only a handful were lab tested. The story here is the same as at many other dispensaries—they don't have a grow op yet, so they are relying on other dispensaries for inventory.
Prices start at $15/$45/$85/$155/$290 per gram/eighth/quarter/half/ounce and top out at $20/$65/$120/$225/$420. Yes, that top shelf is expensive, but prices are likely to trend downward once all the local dispensaries are growing. Several local dispensaries are limiting purchases to amounts under an ounce. Give it a few months, and that will probably change.
This dispensary had a wide selection of edibles the day I went, including several varieties of cookies and brownies, suckers and gummy candies—even THC-infused sodas from a Phoenix kitchen. Impressive. I suggest buying the larger sizes. A brownie with 60 mg of THC is $15. One with 180 mg is $28. Or you can get a 200 mg gummy worm for $20. Do the math. ;)
Interestingly, the Downtown Dispensary doesn't sell pipes or many other smoking or vaporizing supplies, though it does have rolling papers. There are two reasons: They don't want to seem like a head shop; and they don't want to step on the toes of other Fourth Avenue merchants, such as Moon Smoke Shop, that sell smoking supplies.
The Downtown bud tender seemed knowledgeable and helped me find an indica strain (Ingrid) that wouldn't make me anxious (it doesn't). So I made my purchase, thanked the dispensary crew of two and strolled out into the October sunshine to go back to work at Sky Bar.
How could I not approve of a place less than a stone's throw from my favorite haunts? Especially one with an impressive selection of edibles and a community-minded desire to fit into a niche on Fourth Avenue, not take sales away from existing businesses?
Mr. Smith approves.