Chitral Hays — not his real name — is Jackalope Ranch's resident expert on medical marijuana in Arizona. In Perfectly Blunt, Hays delivers news, reviews, and must-know info. From time to time, he'll review a local dispensary.
Bloom Dispensaries was the first official dispensary to be licensed and fling open its doors to the Phoenix public, so it seemed an obvious choice to survey. (They also have a sister location in Sedona.) Located on the south side of 41st Place and Washington Street, just east of the light rail stop and cowering beneath the massively ugly monolith recently erected at Sky Harbor (a.k.a. Sky Train), Bloom is a squat, gray building with barred windows and a parking lot corralled with razor wire.
As soon as I approached the blank, windowless door on the east side of the building, it was hurled open in my face by a grinning attendant, who led me inside. Taken aback, I entered what I would soon discover is one of the most magnificent places in the Valley.
Bloom Dispensaries 14 S. 41st Place Phoenix 602-396-5757 www.bloomdispensary.com
Hours: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
Medication price range: $14 per gram, $40 per eighth, $270 per ounce
Other types of medicine: Pre-rolls, 20mg cookies, candy, pastries, juices, hemp oil balm, seasoning, hemp oil/capsules.
Online menu? Yes.
Handicap accessible? Yes.
Welcome to Bloom, I'm warmly told. There's a long corridor, strongly lit by fluorescent lighting and I'm led to the right, past a security guard, where a young girl takes my program ID and driver's license, asking if I want some information. Sure. She hands me a thick, color-printed booklet that I flip through as I wait. It covers everything from how to roll a joint to the effects of mixing alcohol with cannabis to how your cannabinoid receptors function and how to manage marijuana addiction. It even lets you know how to avoid drooling in a bong. The book is surely sufficient to make someone a mild expert on marijuana consumption.
Then, I was offered a chance to sign up for their birthday program, through which they will mail you a coupon for a free eighth on your cake day. After signing up in a blink, I was led to the sparse waiting room, where I browsed some old issues of Rolling Stone and read their large computer screen on the wall, featuring a menu through Leafly. (Oh, if you don't know about this site yet, allow me to quickly enlighten you. Leafly is a search engine for strains, dispensaries, and co-ops. It's useful and gives up-to-the-hour menu updates, so you don't even have to leave your couch to decide what to order. Weedmaps.com is another great resource. Which reminds me, Bloom offers online orders as well, with in-store pick-up.)
Next, the bud room. I was guided to a bar stool facing a glass case filled with shake bags (trimmings and scraps from plants), pre-rolls, and a medley of pastry edibles. There were two other occupied stools and a display case for pipes. Behind this display stood a vibrant man in a lab coat who shook my hand and asked, "Are you ready to go on a journey?"
I eagerly nodded. My guide offered me a free no-purchase-necessary eighth for being a first-time customer just so long as I listened to his company's spiel. Well, duh. Read to me from an outdated chemistry book in Korean. Free weed is free weed.
So he tells me Bloom opened in April as the first state-licensed dispensary in Arizona. They grow all their own plants, off-site, completely organically. They send their strains to AZ Med Testing, a third-party facility in Tempe that gives an analysis of all your cannabinoids from THC to CBD to THCV, all the way down. Finally, I was described Bloom's charity outreach, which you can learn more about on its site.
Then, my guide waved his arms over the glass countertop, where approximately 15 plastic petri dishes with small magnifying glasses were laid out. Each canister had a card that described the strain's potency, usefulness, and cannabinoid levels.
I explained to my guide that I had upcoming oral surgery and would not be able to smoke for several days at the risk of getting dry sockets. But I wanted an incredibly strong indica, which is preferable for pain, to chill out with when I was able to burn again, so I could relieve the impending jaw agony.
My guide grinned and laid out all his indicas for me, proceeding to explain his favorites and whatever neat tricks and traits he had memorized for each flower. I was able to smell and closely examine each crop, but my guide's sales pitches made it incredibly easy to choose. I was outta there in no time. I picked out Katsu (hybrid, $55/eighth) and Trinity Blueberry (hybrid, $50/eighth), both for their frosted look and wafting aroma that felt like I was getting a contact high just from sniffling near it.
I also chose four Vital Vending drinks, which I've reviewed before. Now I can say I've tried all five of their flavors: blue raspberry, fruit punch, grape, lemonade, and orange. They all taste about the same with a dry, chemically flavor that's overwhelmed by the sweet tang of THC. This stuff really complemented the Vicodin I was using to dull my surgical agony in such a way that it let me sleep deeply and recover quicker.
My guide punched my order into a computer and sent me off to a final room with bullet-proof glass terminals. I waited while my medicine was gathered, weighed, and put into self-seal baggies with the dispensary logo. Fancy. Then I paid with debit, was given my meds, and got outta there.
Once I had recovered from the oral surgery to the point where I wasn't tasting so much blood, I smoked the Katsu. Already out of the juices, I only had my Vicodin to keep me pain-free but it wore off every night at precisely 2 and 5 a.m., making sure I didn't sleep worth a damn. I crumbled the Katsu in my palm. It smelt faintly like rose-scented perfume, clustered in dense, purple tufts with flecks of ruby. It was so frosted that it resembled Tony the Tiger's favorite bran cereal. And for the first time in many nights, it let me sleep a full eight hours, completely pain free. What a fucking godsend.
For a high, it was nothing short of a rising mellow that helped me stay focused on the amount of work that piled up while I was partially conscious and eating liquefied foods on the couch. There's definitely a sativa edge here, leading me to believe it's a split hybrid. I've never heard of Katsu before, and there's not much information about it online, but that's what it says on the package.
Trinity Blueberry is such a pretty name, which it definitely lived up to, smelling strongly of blueberries. Unlike some strains with a faint resemblance to their fruit, the comparison here was immediate. It was like the inverse of the Katsu in color, more green than purple, but less dense. This was such a spongy, sticky flower that I almost believed it was coated in some kind of glue. On one of the small leaves, there was a gooey ball of THC sap and when it smoked, it made a delightful *pop!*
It immediately tasted like blueberry pastries, blueberry pancakes, blueberry muffins — truly a trinity. And the high was without question one of the most relaxing, pain-relieving things I'd experienced that entire week.
I'm still impressed by Bloom's community outreach, most recently evident by their First Annual Celebration of Courage, held in their parking lot on Saturday, October 19. Although the weather picked this day to start boiling again, it was a nice gig with free food, free beer(!), and a couple of booths for AZ Med Testing, Tastebuds (Bloom's on-site medibles department), and a local DUI lawyer. Accented by a live Rasta band, it was a welcoming and educating experience for both new and old patients. According to a friend, who was there after I left, a homeless man won a raffle for a free medical card renewal.
Bloom's high security and close vicinity to the light rail would help even the most frail of patients arrive safely, assuming they're acquainted with public transportation. They've covered their bases on educating patients and assuring their product is as safe as possible, making it a great choice for newbies. No wonder they were the first to open in this city (Arizona Organix was the first to open in the state overall) — they're a model for every other dispensary to follow.
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