By Michelle Talsma Everson
Photos by Kimberly Carrillo
Earlier this year, Arizona became the fifteenth state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana. Now, adults ages 21 and over can legally purchase marijuana (also known as cannabis) in its various forms from qualified dispensaries.
Arizona Natural Concepts, known as ANC, has been providing quality cannabis for its patients since 2018—years before the recent legalization. To ANC partner Lori Hicks and store manager Tammy Stewart, now is an exciting time to continue serving their established patients and introduce new ones to the ever-growing world of cannabis.
Quality Products and Patient Care
Before ANC served recreational users, they were first and foremost a medical facility for medical marijuana patients, according to Hicks. “While cannabis is now legal for recreational use, we were—and still are—a medical facility serving patients,” Stewart emphasizes.
According to ANC, “Cannabis continues producing healing relief and comfort for patients desperately seeking alternative therapies for their ailments.”
Hicks and Stewart share that cannabis can potentially help patients find relief from:
• Anxiety and depression
• Cancer treatment side effects
• Substance abuse issues
• Sleeping issues
• And more.
“We [ANC] take pride in our attention to compassionate patient care,” Hicks explains. “We understand there is no one size fits all approach when it comes to an individual’s need to treat pain, insomnia, anxiety, and other ailments.”
Hicks adds that ANC’s goal, “Is to provide professional service while making high quality medicine available to all its patients and adult use customers, where safety, education and convenience are paramount.”
The ANC Experience
For those who have never been to a marijuana dispensary, there may be a curiosity factor about what it’s like inside and the process to purchasing just the right product.
“The stereotype that a dispensary is not a welcoming environment, or is shady, is a thing of the past,” Hicks shares.
“At ANC, you’re greeted by knowledgeable, friendly staff members with expertise in medical marijuana and recreational marijuana products offering a unique ‘deli style’ service, along with pre-packaged offerings,” she adds. “We will always remember our purpose is to help people in need who can benefit from alternative sources of medicine.”
“Walking into ANC is akin to visiting with an old friend,” Hicks describes. “The atmosphere is filled with an easy feeling and the air is swirling with the smell of sweetness wafting in through the vents; the aroma is as comforting as the smiles on the faces of everyone who is working. With the music softly thumping in the background and the sound of collective laughter being shared in the foreground, the sense of camaraderie and healing is unmistakable.”
When a new or returning patient or recreational client comes in, they meet with an educated patient consultant and go over questions like:
• What is your budget?
• What is the patient/client looking to accomplish?
• How do you want to ingest the cannabis? (Smoking, eating, etc.)
They then make recommendations on their experiences and product knowledge. If a patient/client is using the bud of the plant, they will weigh it out right there. They also always have deals happening to make sure that patients receive the best deals possible.
“It is not uncommon to see our patient consultants spending a significant amount of time with customers, tailoring their cannabis uses to their specific needs,” Stewart says. “Educating the consumer is as important as treating them. We have a motto: passion for the plant and patient.”
To give back to their patients and the community at large, ANC often has thoughtful deals and affordable options—especially when it comes to cannabis for medical use. They also offer veteran discounts and senior discounts year-round.
“We’ve done sponsorships for patients when they, for example, are using cannabis to help them with cancer treatment,” Hicks shares. “We are known for being compassionate and caring, and offering the proper medicine for our patients to help them feel better mentally and physically. To do this, our patient consultants are well educated and have great listening skills to help guide patients to the medicine options that work best for them.”
ANC boasts 16,000 square feet of growth space for its cannabis that not only benefits the shop but also the entire cannabis community. For those interested in the latest products, ANC is the home of the popular handmade edible brands Tipsy Turtle and Yummy Gummy. They also carry the newly launched concentrate brand Achieve.
Community Connections and A Bright Future
Giving back to the local community that supports them is important to ANC. Since ANC’s inception, they have sponsored Bikers for Boobies, a nonprofit charity for breast cancer research. Annually, in November, they hold a sock and food drive, directly followed up by a toy drive for the holidays for Arizona Helping Hands (which is going on now). They also work with local pet adoption agencies and support other community organizations.
“We are loud and proud about what we do—we provide medicine to help people feel better at a price that’s fair,” Hicks says. “We also know that if it wasn’t for our medical patients and recreational clients, we wouldn’t be here, so giving back to the community now and into the future is extremely important to us.”
Looking toward the future, Hicks excitingly shares that ANC has purchased a 60-acre outdoor growing space in Wilcox to continue growing their own products. She also plans for ANC to continue connecting with local businesses and is considering a local business fair to build connections in the North Phoenix community.
Arizona Natural Concepts is located at 1039 East Carefree Highway, Site D, in Phoenix. To learn more, visit ancdispensary.com or call 602-224-5999. You can also follow them on social media as well on Facebook @AZNaturalConcepts and Instagram @arizonanaturalconcepts.