Bloom Phoenix
UnitedMMC.org
Bloom Phoenix

Some medical-marijuana dispensaries have nicer showrooms. Some get you to the cash register quicker. But Bloom has something most others don't: quality cannabis on the cheap. The typical price for an ounce of decent weed at Bloom these days is $185, which can be substantially less expensive than other outlets. It's difficult to compare strains at different dispensaries, because the products with the same name often aren't grown from the same crops. But for many strains, only a purist or connoisseur could tell the difference between one premium sativa or indica versus another. An ounce of good-looking, high-THC buds might cost you $250 or even $350 at dispensaries that claim their product is much better. Bloom's concentrates are cheaper, too, with a half-gram of shatter usually going for $20 instead of $25 or more. Yes, you can find good deals or discounts occasionally at other places, and it's good to shop around because cannabis prices everywhere in Arizona are falling. But Bloom's lower prices have been a consistent feature of the dispensary for the past few years, which is very cool. Paying $100 less for an ounce of indica or sativa at Bloom will surely help your pain, or whatever else ails you, because you'll have money left over in your pocket. If you're a frequent flier, cost is probably your biggest concern. So go to Bloom, and be less concerned.

Some say this purplish bud first came on the scene in 2009, its scent reminiscent to some of a newly opened box of Thin Mints Girl Scout cookies. The indica side of this hybrid strain gives it a mule kick of an effect, but the real stuff also has a buzzy sativa feeling. How do you know when you get real GSC? Ask a botanist — otherwise, you may never know for sure. The strain's popularity has undoubtedly led to creative labeling. And worse for GSC lovers, the strain has been vanishing from local dispensaries like its namesake would in any cannabist's kitchen cabinet. The stash itself isn't going away, but its name is. That means GSC may be found under other names these days, so look out for those initials and any alternative spellings. See, the real Girl Scouts are sort of pissed at the marketing ploy. The venerable club's green logo has been tarnished, leaders think. They've threatened dispensaries in Arizona and other states with legal action unless they changed that trademarked name. Most did, but mom-and-pop shops in rural areas probably haven't gotten the message yet. Whether it really is GSC or not, as in the fashion world, sometimes it's the label that counts. But if you get your hands on some actual GSC, you'll know it by either the soft, cookie scent, or the wallop on your brain.

Nature's AZ Medicines Inc.

Put this on your "how to lose a weekend" list: Nature's Medicines' Nature’s Vapes Live Resin Pen cartridges, indica strain. No muss, no fuss — screw the cartridge into a vape-pen battery and inhale. Best of all, no singed fingertips, because unlike dabbing concentrates like crumble or wax, which is like trying to learn glass-blowing, a vape pen is probably not going to hurt you. This oil product set us back $40 for a half-gram, 350-milligram cartridge. The box said the indica strain is derived from the company's AMF OG strain, which is a cross between Obama Kush and Skywalker OG. AMF stands for "adios, motherfucker." The concentrated oil version provides a solid, heady sensation that settles into a cloud-like body high. Nature's Medicines promotes the liquid resin as pure cannabis oil — that is, it contains no additives that didn't spring from cannabis plants, and is about 70 percent THC. The natural terpene flavors make for a mighty tasty buzz. It's a good choice for concentrates connoisseurs and weekend vapers alike.

Inexpensive, tasty, and healthy. And stoney. Very stoney. Find the 100-milligram Flourish AZ Date Brownies for $15 in dozens of Arizona dispensaries, or even better, find them for $12 in some shops. Comparison-shopping is always recommended with edibles, which can be especially pricey for the THC-tolerant. For novices and those with a low tolerance, a single brownie provides two or three doses. Flourish's THC infusion is seamless. Every bite counts, with a noticeable consistency of psychoactive effect in each one. In fact, watch the dosing: It's 100 milligrams that acts more like 150 for some reason. (Be sure to keep them away from kids.) They're perfect for muscle pain or for medicinal-level relaxing, and the Williams, Arizona, company makes them in a 40-milligram size, too. So let's get back to the taste and health-food aspects. Even without the cannabis, they'd be a good treat. Dates are not our thing, but the Flourish brownie has us reconsidering. Maybe it's the beet sugar. Or the splash of espresso. It all comes together for superior flavor. Marketed as the next best thing to health food, Flourish brownies make you feel good about what you're putting in your body. With their wallop of THC, they'll make you feel good, period.

ABC Cake Decorating Supplies

Looking to sheetcake from scratch? ABC's got you covered. From pans to boxes and all the icing that comes in between — as well as decorations for every holiday and plenty of red, white, and blue — this old-school baking supply store can make just about any baking dream come true. For the non-cake-eaters, there are plenty of cookie cutters, candy molds, and pie tins. Start your ovens!

Arizona Art Supply

What began as an aisle in a hardware store is now a micro chain with locations all over the Valley and a loyal, paint-splattered following. From pens to pastels, Arizona Art Supply has kept Phoenicians creating for more than 60 years. You can order online, but what fun is that when there are so many aisles to wander?

Wickenburg is about an hour's drive from town, but if you're a fiber fan headed to Isabelle's, it's worth it. The walls are covered floor to ceiling with high-quality fibers from well-loved companies like Malabrigo and Tahki, as well as yarn from indie dyers and spinners like Arizona-based Mary Gavan. Persian rugs, antique vanities and dressers, and chandeliers create a charming setting for Isabelle's carefully designed displays of notions and needles and everything else a knitter would need. Generous samples and a knowledgeable, friendly staff are always available, as is a beautifully appointed room just for knitting. A work table is available for laying out bigger projects, and coffee, tea, and treats are waiting — along with piles of wonderful yarn — for discerning knitters like you.

Bead World

We're a town full of bead stores, but this one is the best. It's more than just Bead World's wide selection of Czech glass beads, Japanese seed beads, and high-quality findings in a variety of metals. True, we love the large selection of pearls, glass baubles, and ethnic ceramic pendants. But the staff here is so friendly that we always end up feeling like an old friend rather than just a repeat customer. How is it possible that no matter who's working, they always seem to remember us and our area of beading interest from our last visit? Interesting classes taught by knowledgeable teachers are nice, but what we love very most about Bead World is its hyper-organization. Both locations are tidy and well-kept, and beads, tools, and clasps are all neatly arranged by media and price. Even the clearance aisles at both stores are carefully arranged. If only the rest of the world were like Bead World.

Find everything from gold and quartz to metatorbernite at the annual Flagg Gem & Mineral Show — a three-day, tailgate-style event held the first weekend in January as a major fundraiser for the Flagg Mineral Foundation. In its 45th year in 2017, the outdoor FGMS show is a collection of jewelry, gems, beads, fossils, minerals, and lapidary supplies ideal for local mineral and lapidary clubs, enthusiastic collectors, and even the general public. Stations and vendors are set up to showcase their assortment of rocks and minerals for children, teachers, and rockhounds in an informal atmosphere, also known as the west parking lot of Mesa Community College. Parking and admission are free, and kids usually leave with a free sample of something.

We read Goop religiously and indulge occasionally in hippy-dippy endeavors. But the world of herbs and essential oils? It can be intimidating AF. Lucky for aspiring know-it-alls who aren't sure where to start, that's not the case at Desert Sage Herbs. The suburban shop has dealt in teas, herbs, spices, and oils since 1999. It's run by mother-daughter team Vicki Greener and Brittney Sounart, an aromatherapy specialist and clinical herbalist. Housed in a fittingly chill, homey storefront, it's our favorite spot to buy sage for burning and shamelessly ask newbie questions about the 300-plus herbs and spices Desert Sage stocks.

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