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Tumbleweeds Health Center is a friendly eastside spot for meds, but the hours suck

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Every time I walk into Tumbleweeds Health Center, I get a huge hug, because they've known me awhile and that's just how they roll.

California transplants Kim Williams and Dana Zygmunt opened Tumbleweeds, which is not a state-sanctioned dispensary, a year and a half ago as a way to connect patients, caregivers and meds while falling squarely within the confines of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. I went there shortly after it opened to do a review of the membership-oriented nonprofit, and since Tucson's first major direct-to-you cannabis source recently moved, I thought I'd check in.

Tumbleweeds started in a small office complex at the northeast corner of Broadway and Williams boulevards. Now it's in a small office complex at the northeast corner of Broadway and Williams boulevards. Hehe. On May 1, the center moved just a few doors east, across a breezeway from the old spot. Parking is easiest off Broadway, directly in front of the huge purple planter that marks the front door. You can also park in the back of the complex, if you want to be a little more incognito.

The center's lobby features a cash register and a bookshelf with cannabis culture goods for sale—books, T-shirts and DVDs. Tumbleweeds also has a decent selection of local glass and other smoking wares. Tumbleweeds doesn't give me a medical vibe the way Tucson's dispensaries do; it's somehow warmer. There is no pharmacy window or door buzzer to get to the medication room. They do check MMJ cards, though, so don't be tryin' to sneak in without one. It won't work.

At Tumbleweeds, you pay a $55 daily membership fee, which gives you access to classes (which are numerous and frequent), private consultations, a library of books and other printed materials, movies ... and meds. Classes range from how to make hash to how to use a vaporizer to the history of cannabis to cooking with cannabis. If you'd rather ask questions privately, you can get a one-on-one consultation.

Unlike a dispensary, there is no price list, no top shelf or any other shelf. All of the meds are on one shelf. For your daily membership, you get a ticket that entitles you to one green bottle of your choice from the medication cabinet. The bottles each contain 3.5 to 4 grams—at least an eighth. I like this system. It levels the playing field among strains and eliminates sometimes-arbitrary price differences.

The day I went in, they had 10 strains—all locally grown—ranging from heavily indica to heavily sativa. That's about average for the center, though as with dispensaries the med list fluctuates. The menu shows each strain and the symptoms it is known to effectively treat. That's a nice touch. It gives me another level on which to easily compare strains. Only a handful of Tumbleweeds' strains are lab-tested (these are labeled), largely because several caregivers donate meds in small quantities. Test results would come back after the strains were gone, Williams said.

And you can't come away with more than an eighth, which is a major downside. Tucson's dispensaries offer some good deals when you buy in quantity. Another major strike against Tumbleweeds is convenience. The location is awesome, but the center starts leaking a little suckage where hours are concerned. They only offer meds Thursday and Friday evenings and Saturday afternoons. Ouch.

All in all, though, you can't go wrong at Tumbleweeds. It's a comfortable, cozy, professional place to get meds. And if you're looking for top-shelf cannabis on a budget, they have it. No dispensary in town offers their range of education—classes, demonstrations, books, movies, consultations. They taught me how to make hash from kief, for God's sake. And if you want one, I'm pretty sure you could get a huge hug there, even if they don't know you.

Because that's just how they roll.

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