The path to legal pot in Arizona was a long and winding one. It started in 2010 when medical marijuana was legalized (actually, longtime advocates will tell you, it started a good while before that). In 2016, a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana suffered a defeat at the ballot box. It returned four years later, survived a legal challenge, and was approved at the polls by a 60-40 margin in November 2020. But even then, it wasn't clear how long it would be until dispensaries would be given the green light to sell recreational pot; in other states, the process had taken nearly a year. Then, one Friday afternoon in January, boom: The state approved dozens of licenses at once, swinging open the doors to recreational sales. There have been lines out the doors of dispensaries ever since. Often, as we walk around town, we now catch a whiff of cannabis in the air, be it in downtown Phoenix or a quiet Arcadia side street. It's just normal now — the way it should be.

The Clarendon Hotel

The rooftop pool deck at The Clarendon Hotel and Spa is generally an excellent place to hang out. But as a setting for a multicourse meal infused with marijuana, it's hard to beat. Chef Derek Upton has been hosting an educational culinary series here called "Elevated Under the Stars" since early spring. The cool rooftop views of central Phoenix are accompanied by anything from gnocchi to infused Bolognese and served with mocktails (infusion optional) and a discussion of cooking, dosing, and flavor profiles and pairings. Tickets for these flower-powered fine-dining events cost $250 each for the gastronomically curious who want to eat, and $50 for a gallery seat sans dinner. Upton often has as-seen-on-TV guests join him for the cannabis dinners and is a bit of a celebrity chef himself since appearing on the 2020 Netflix original series Cooked with Cannabis.

Held every April since 2015, the Errl Cup spring festival is a contest between dispensaries to win awards in over 32 product categories including flower, concentrate, vape pen, edibles, topicals, and CBD, judged by medical marijuana patients. In 2021, the festival was held at the Digital Drive-In AZ property on Alma School Road in Mesa, and hundreds of cannabis vendors set up booths across the lot, kind of like a marijuana swap meet. Errl Cup entries are displayed in a large tent area at the festival for patients to review, and the atmosphere stays high and light with food, live music, and an awards show. Best of all, it's free to attend and free for patients with valid MMJ cards to judge (although you've got to register to win a spot in advance).

Best Medical Marijuana Delivery Service

Supurb

Tempe-based Supurb has been delivering medical marijuana to patients since 2016, and as a result of closures due to COVID-19 in 2020, the company was busier than ever. Its partnership with a wide network of dispensaries allows it to drop medicated products to patients just about anywhere in the metro Phoenix area. It's been a blessing for patients who don't want to be in crowded dispensaries since COVID restrictions have been relaxed and recreational sales started. Delivery is typically same-day, and fees vary depending on how much the buyer spends (often, the more spent on the medical marijuana order, the lower the delivery fee). Gratuity for delivery is not included, so be cool and remember to tip the driver.

The Mint is like Disneyland for potheads. It's got a large grow room always flush with flora for ogling through display glass, a fleet of cheerful budtenders who can tell you anything you want to know about the products behind them, rainforest-meets-head-shop decor, specials, and freebies galore. The Guadalupe/Tempe location has a full kitchen with a menu of THC-infused hot foods including hamburgers, hot dogs, and pizza. It's a great environment for people who like the culture and community feel of cannabis, and it's got the widest selection of products in just about every category. Various locations have also hosted pop-up vaccination clinics and animal adoption events, providing incentives like free edibles. No carnival rides yet, but the Guadalupe dispensary has a drive-thru, making it even easier to get the goods.

Oasis Cannabis not only has a separate menu and specials just for medical marijuana patients, but it has priority pickup reserved for patients as well. Ordering online is fast and easy, and there's rarely a long wait in the lounge (maybe a few minutes at most). The atmosphere at Oasis is a tad bit more clinical than other places (fake-crystal chandeliers notwithstanding), and getting in and out doesn't take a lot of time. The product selection is also impressive, whether patients medicate with a particular vegan gummy or want a wide variety of tested-potency THC tinctures and flower strains.

Chef Payton Curry planted the seeds of Flourish in Flagstaff in 2016, and the company has blossomed from a small kitchen operation into a line of fine medical edibles available at dispensaries all over Arizona. Flourish's cooking process unlocks the aromatic terpenes and essential oils in cannabis to create jammy fruit chews, date-studded brownies, sweet birthday cake bars, savory chili lime and ranch corn nuts, and a "Retro Mix" of pretzels and cheesy little crackers bites that make snack time and nap time a great mix. Sweet, savory, spicy, cheesy, potent, and consistently dosed? That's how Flourish's garden has grown.

Phoenix Chef Aaron Chamberlin is best known for his current and past restaurant concepts like St. Francis, Taco Chelo, and Phoenix Public Market Café, but his brand of marijuana-infused edibles, Good Things Coming, has gained popularity Valleywide for a few reasons. First, the potency — every batch of Good Things Coming fruit jellies is handcrafted and infused with full-spectrum cannabis oil from the company's 50-acre greenhouse grow and extraction lab in Snowflake. Then, the flavor — among the vegan fruit jellies, the pomegranate is especially juicy and the citrus yuzu has a nice, tangy taste. Ingredients are sourced from local farms and all recipes call for organic sugar, so consumers can feel good about what they're eating and the effects that are coming.

"Homeboy, throw in the towel / Your girl got dicked by Ricky Powell" is a line from the Beastie Boys' track "Car Thief" from the Paul's Boutique album that immortalizes Powell, a New York street photographer who was a longtime pal of the band. He passed away earlier this year, but another way his work lives on is as a custom vape cover created by Timeless Vapes, part of the Timeless Refinery cannabis enterprise. Local artist Josh Rhodes is on the Timeless team, and he's instrumental in adorning these slick pot vapes with cool art, making these weed heaters both practical and collectible. Rhodes himself has graced one with his own work, as well as the work of other local artists like Lalo Cota. If you're gonna smoke, might as well do it in style.

Herb 'N Legend

Since 2009, Herb 'N Legend has been the go-to place for artisanal glass pipes, jewelry, and smoking accessories made from 100 percent American glass. In addition to carrying pieces from some of the most popular national manufacturers, Herb 'N Legend is always stocked with beautiful glass options crafted next door at its studio, Melt Lounge. Whether you're looking for a conversation piece pipe shaped like a spiky alien or a monkey with a banana, or you just want to browse a big selection of incense and cool ashtrays, Herb 'N Legend has displays for days. It's like a super emporium for stoners.

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