Originally published 7/11/14 INTRODUCTION Medical Marijuana in Arizona has come a long way this year. Since Arizona passed Prop 203 in 2011, the medical marijuana industry has been picking up speed with no signs of sedation. Today, there are over 80 State licensed dispensaries in Arizona, over 48,000 medical marijuana patients and over 600 caregivers. We are so proud of the amazing progress made within the MMJ industry, but we are even more proud of what SWC Arizona has become this year.
Since we opened our doors on July 3, 2013 our shelves have gone from nearly empty, with four lone strains (Master Kush, OG, Trainwreck and Ole 47 for those who were curious or can’t remember) to a place of max capacity (well, maybe not quite- but we would love more space).
We have watched as harvests have produced and kitchens have opened and our shelves have been filled with a variety of natural medicinal options. We even bought more shelves and filled them up too.
Patients now have choices of between 10-15 different strains. We carry a variety of Indica’s or Sativa’s and Hybrids ranging in levels of THC and CBD.
Our patients who are looking for options to avoid smoking appreciate the whole new’ world of edibles (or medibles as some may call it). Patients are enjoying their selection of medicated gummy bears and chocolate, honey, tea, juices, peanut butter and freezer pops. We have something for the health conscious and something for those who embrace the munchies.
Our dispensary has options for topical treatments, tinctures and capsules of CBD for those who still prefer to take a good old fashion pill.
SWC Tempe hosted a few parties this year. Our first Education Fair brought out vendors like AZ Med Testing and Weedmaps. Our patients brought out their friends and family to learn more about the dispensary, enjoy food from Cheba Hut and enter to win raffle prizes like smoking accessories and a skate board. Our second education fair intrigued those interested in learning more about the history of cannabis and hemp from our very own, Dr. Ozalan.
While worked hard- we played hard too. We had some fun at the Arizona Reggae fest and Oktoberfest in Tempe. SWC Tempe raffled off Snoop Dog Concert Tickets and bought a few for dispensary staff. We had a great time at the Arizona State Fair and partying with Snoop until the wee hours at FireHouse on Mill Ave. Our Prescott dispensary joined a softball league. SWC Prescott gave away Sundog Hockey Tickets- November.
Both stores re-kindled our love for the arts and invited our patients on this journey too. We had lots of fun with dispensary staff and patients at Tempe Improv and StandUp Live in Scottsdale. We proclaimed that Laughter is the 2nd best medicine.
SWC joined First Friday in Phoenix and Second Friday in Mesa. We loved the local artists we met so much that we decided to bring the “first friday” vibe right into SWC Arizona. To keep our walls decorated and our patients entertained, the Tempe Dispensary continues to rotate different artists every 3 months. All art work is for sale and we take no commission. (Except the giant elephant because we havent been able to contact the owner since September. If you know this Prescott Artist, please tell them to contact us. We have had much interest in your elephant).
One of the things we are most proud of this year is our fundraising efforts. We have raised thousands of dollars for a number of different organizations including Autism United, The Arizona MS Society, and the Epilepsy Foundation. SWC staff walked to raise money for Parkinson’s, Cancer, and AIDS. We collected canned food for A New Leaf and toys for Toys for Tots. This spring we helped one our patients raise over $1000 to participate in a cycle ride cross country for spokes for strokes.
Throughout the year we have continued to ask our “regulars” why they keep coming back? It is incredibly touching to hear that the most consistent answer is related to our incredible staff. The employees at SWC is one of the fastest growing families most of us have ever seen. We have more than tripled in size and it seems with each person we add we only get stronger. Having a job in the medical marijuana industry is a dream for many. Loving the people you work with is a dream for all. We are one lucky group of beautiful people.
Above all, we are so incredibly grateful for the people we get to meet in our store every day. We have been moved by many of our patients stories of survival and hope. We have enjoyed getting to know our patients and their families and hearing about their pursuit of happiness. Our patients have been by our sides educating, fundraising, and providing the necessary feed back to make SWC Arizona a great success. Our patients are the most important part of this story and complete the SWC Arizona Family.
We are excited about all the great things our second year will bring for us and for our patients. We have no doubt it will include more education and fundraising. We hope it will entail a lot more fun with Snoop Dog and Comedians.