Dispensary Review: Encanto Green Cross in Phoenix

Categories: Culture News

Chitral Hays
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.

The first word that comes to mind when describing Encanto Green Cross dispensary is "disorganized." The waiting room is crammed with magazines, free drinks, holiday decorations, and the table's scattered with menus. A new patient who arrived before me was accidentally handed forms that were already filled out. The bud room resembles a gift shop, with assortments of marijuana jewelry, stash boxes, and every wall jammed corner to corner with artwork for sale. It's all very nice, but you have to ask, who goes into a patient center and decides they want a painting of Van Gogh's Sunflowers redone as cannabis?

But if you can look past the mess, you may find that Encanto Green Cross has quite a lot to offer that other dispensaries don't.

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

Encanto Green Cross
2620 W. Encanto Blvd.
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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My Voice Nation Help

first word that came to mind, after reading your article about Encanto Green Cross, was "respond."  And, so I am.  I don't like to think of our waiting room as "crammed" with magazines.  Instead "variety" comes to mind, as I have put out recent copies of National Geographic, Time Magazine, and of course, Arizona Highways.  If there is going to be a wait, you can use your time and read.  It just might make the time go by quicker and you might even learn a thing, or two, as well.  Encanto Green Cross opened the end of July.  Historically, it gets so hot in the Valley that I wouldn't be surprised if I saw a small bird explode in mid-air from the heat!  Because of the terrible heat, and because I'd like to think that my Mother, (we affectionately called her "Grambo") raised me the right way.  I just wanted to be kind.  I purchased a large, glass ice tea container, cut some fresh peppermint from my garden, added some lemon slices and decaf peppermint tea bags, and covered it all with ice cubes.  Yes, it's free.  I'm happy to do that for people, especially when the temperature has reached three digits.  As for decorations, maybe you don't put any holiday decorations up, Mr. Grinch, but I thought a 6 foot musical, animated nutcracker for the lobby waiting room was rather novel and colorful.  May the ghosts of Christmas past jingle your bells. . . .If the magazines were scattered with the menus, and it really bothered you, keep in mind we had over 200 patients come in.  No one else complained about the place being "scattered", except you.  Why didn't you just separate them, then stack them all in a neat pile?  You missed your opportunity to commit a random act of kindness, or, in your case, a random act of neatness.  F.Y.I. Mr. Hayes, or whoever the author of this article is, the Bud Room IS a gift shop.  Ruth Kriaris, a sweet, loving soul, died at home on Sunday, Nov. 25th, 2012.  My Ruth suffered with manic depression, diabetes, and schizophrenia for many years.  She was 46.  She was the only daughter of one of the owners, and sister to the 2 young men who also share ownership.  In spite of a loving family and medications, horrible voices tortured and tormented her.  Our whole family suffered along with her.  For 26 years I took Ruth to her appointments, met many others suffering with mental illness, both in hospital settings and in the waiting room of the old ComCare offices.  To honor my Ruth, I wanted to start a charity that would help not only the mentally ill, but abused animals, as well.  My daughter had an uncanny affinity for animals and birds.  A local attorney helped me form "Remembering Ruth."  How could I raise money?  I spent hours staining small wooden boxes, decorating them with colorful leaves or gems.  I purchased a painting from a gallery in Pine, Az., from a well-known artist, Kay O'Rouke, and donated it to EGC.  I made home-made jewelry, emptied all my own jewelry boxes for the cause, even started painting, all in hopes of raising some money for those I could help. I took some beautiful photos of large marijuana plants, had them enlarged, and then used dried, enameled cannabis leaves to cover over the ones in the photo.  So far, no one has ordered a rendition of Gogh's Sunflowers.  We have had some local, talented artists bring in some of their work, with a promise of 15% commission for Remembering Ruth, if one of their pieces sell.  In the meanwhile, after reading your criticism of EGC, I have taken a step back, and am now trying to remove some of the paintings and MJ boxes, to hopefully, make it more color coordinated and eye pleasing.  In your article you make mention that your biggest surprise came when you stepped into the checkout room and saw a technician shielded behind bulletproof glass.  Should we have hung saran wrap in front of him?  In these bleak economic times, bulletproof glass is a definite deter ant against robbery.  We also have full time security on duty, for the safety of all.  High tech security cameras are also all over the property, in side and out side. We care about the people who work there and the patients who come to EGC for their medicine.  Last, but not least, you mentioned that EGC does not permit tours.  We have had many people tour our grow rooms.  We have even had many owners of other dispensaries come in and want to see what we have in the back.  The end result of our growers knowledge, along with the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on setting up the grow, and how he does this and what he uses, is not open for public information.  Rather like wanting Colonel Sanders recipe for chicken.  The proof will be in the product, thank you.  After testing, we have some very sophisticated patients who will definitely judge our grow.  It is their opinion and satisfaction that is important to us.  It took over two years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to open Encanto Green Cross.  In the interim, my mother passed away, my own health took a down hill spiral, and my daughter died.  But, everyone's opinion is important to us.  As I respect your opinions, I am hoping you will also respect mine and print my response.  I would welcome you to announce yourself if you come to Encanto Green Cross in the future.  I would definitely try to have someone take you on a tour of our grow rooms.  And, I agree with you regarding the names of some of the strains.  If I could name one after you, it would be dubbed "Crab Ass."

Sincerely,Kate McAllisterOwner/Agent/Board MemberEncanto Green Cross Dispensary

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