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Dispensary Review: Encanto Green Cross in Phoenix

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See also: How to Get A Medical Marijuana Card in Arizona in 4 Easy Steps

Encanto Green Cross 2620 W. Encanto Blvd. Phoenix 1-888-MEDS-411 Hours: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday Medication price range: $17 per gram, $50 per eighth, $335 per ounce Other types of medicine: Pre-rolls, 180mg brownies, fudge, candy bars, gummy bears, pastries, glycerin tincture, ointment. Online menu? Yes. Handicap accessible? Yes. Offers delivery? Yes, for a quarter-ounce or more. No delivery fee.

Two things I keep forgetting each time I go here: First, if you're heading south on the I-17, don't get off at Thomas. You can't turn left on 35th Avenue, thanks to Grand, and doubling back is a bitch. Instead, get off at McDowell, come around to 35th Avenue and Encanto, and you're right there. It's across from the giant Shamrock Farms factory. Second, EGC doesn't take debit or credit cards. So unless you like ATM fees, bring cash.

Encanto grows its entire crop onsite, using both hydroponics and organic grow methods, but sadly, tours behind the big black door are forbidden. When they harvest, they're eager to tell you via their SMS services, which highlight new deals every day. They have such specials as "Sports Sunday Funday," which gets you 10 percent off your total if you wear a sports jersey. So yeah, it goes without saying, EGC is heavy on the kitsch, and sometimes this daily barrage of messages can be annoying.

The staff will also talk your ear off, which is quite nice compared to some of the more sterile "get in, get out" environments of other dispensaries. You can get so wrapped up in friendly conversation that you kind of forget you're there to buy marijuana. But because the cannabis is grown literally 15 feet behind them, the staff have a very intimate knowledge of how their plants were treated and their various applications. Apparently, their strain of Northern Lights comes from the original strain in California, raised in the 1960s by an aging hippy. I didn't try it, however.

I was looking to get something related to Blue Dream, a higher priced strain, but the guy behind the counter kept insisting on the Crackberry. Because it was priced lower, I really felt like my budtender actually cared about the medicinal benefits I was after and wasn't just steering me toward whatever was most expensive.

The biggest surprise came when I stepped into the checkout room, where a technician sat shielded behind bulletproof glass. The wall behind him was jumbled with giant jars of buds. Handing the guy my order, he took down my chosen strain and pressed the jar up to a small hole, letting me smell and examine the buds up close. Then, he weighed it out on a giant scale, the numbers facing me, snipping away the stems as he went.

I have yet to visit another dispensary that shows patients the weight. It's not that I don't trust dispensaries, but weighing product out shows a lot of respect for the patient, especially when a little over what I ordered was thrown in every time. It feels like you're getting something extra. And so I left with quite an amicable relationship with the staff, and that encouraged me to come back multiple times, especially after exploring what I ordered.

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