I was born on a military base in Germany, but Arizona has been my home for most my childhood and adult years. I’ll always bleed purple and orange for the Suns and root for the rest of our home teams. I’ll also always support NAU, UofA, and ASU against any other college teams. And this is what bothers me about Arizona’s cannabis industry.
National brands were forming in this industry from the beginning, and as it grows and matures, major investment money was poured into companies across North America. Canada’s pot legalization poses a bigger threat to Arizona’s cannabis industry than Mexican cartels, and this is because major cannabis conglomerates like Canopy Growth (which is partnered with Constellation Brands in the U.S.), Tilray (partnered with Anheuser Busch InBev), Cronos Group (partnered with Altria), and even Harvest Health & Rec, are coming stateside with massive piles of investment cash from the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX).
Arizona’s local cannabis businesses are in danger. Harvest in particular already owns 18 of Arizona’s limited MMJ business licenses. The industry in-fighting that plagued the 2016 legalization efforts seems to have died down, but there’s a new fight in this state to keep local businesses running against major corporations. Harvest isn’t just taking over the medical marijuana community here – it also has an exclusivity deal with Sunoco and Circle K c-stores to sell its CBD products. And while Harvest is headquartered in Tempe and technically AZ based, it’s also taking foreign investors.
It is our responsibility as Arizona medical marijuana patients to support local businesses, and Harvest is (at the moment) the biggest AZ company, fighting the devil with a demon. Here are some of the local edible brands I bought so far this year.
1. Baked Bros
Co-founders Nadeem Al-Hasan and Thomas Rimbach were only 24 when they founded Baked Bros in Phoenix, AZ back in 2014. This young duo expertly navigated the early lottery-cursed industry to create a line of great medibles. Not only can you get strain-specific edible medications from Baked Bros, but the packaging is simply stellar. So is the social media work they do with hashtags like #DedicationtoMedication.
This energetic team creates a consistent product I can always depend on, and they’re partnered with Dr. Reeferalz and other MMJ doctors to provide a free bottle of its syrup when you renew. Bake Bros gummies and syrup are the only reason I’m not pissed I just renewed my card at the end of July and have to wait another year for my two-year certification.
If you’re not familiar with sizzurp (purple drank, lean, etc.), it’s a promethazine and codeine and basically what’s killing Lil Wayne. I’m happy to have a THC-based syrup that’s infinitely safer while providing similar medicinal properties. It’s just another example of cannabinoids being safer than opioids (though I’m not here to judge you for doing you). Not only that, but the flavor varieties are great – they don’t make purple drank in watermelon and mango, but Baked Bros does.
Baked Bros also has one of the most transparent seed-to-sale tracking mechanisms in place, giving patients detailed information down to the strain used in each product. It’s consistently recognized by AZMarijuana and others for quality. The brand has over 400 reviews on Weed Maps and still holds a 5-star rating.
I’m one of them, and it’s because this Arizona brand is not only on-point for the medical marijuana industry, but also for any five-year-old company in any industry. The polish and professionalism of Baked Bros could make it an international conglomerate of its own some day.
If you’ve never been to Payson, it’s a gorgeous town in between Phoenix and Flagstaff, essentially in the center of Arizona. Uncle Herb’s was one of the early front-runners in Arizona’s cannabis industry, distributing products to Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, and everywhere else it could reach. across the state. Arizona’s license lottery caused some in-fighting in the brand, and the dispensary name changed to Untamed Herbs in September 2018.
Uncle Herb’s was still maintained as an edibles brand that’s distributed statewide. is one of my favorite edibles brands not only for the quality of its edibles infusions, but for the variety of products it actually infuses. I also love that I can find it nearby no matter what city I’m in.
Medicated edibles are more often sweet than savory, as cookies, candies, brownies, and sodas seem to be all anyone makes. Sure, UH makes all the candies, gummies, and baked goods you can eat, but they also have thoughtful infusions like coconut oil, butter, olive oil, peanut butter, nuts, pretzels, dried fruits, and honey. Or you can just get an infused pill or topical.
UH is responsible for me learning how to cook with cannabis, which is an invaluable skill. I also learned oil oil, butter, honey, and peanut butter preserve very well and can still get you high several years later much better than gummies that get hard over time or lollipops that get soft.
Phoenix, AZ-based Sublime Brands uses champagne distillate to craft edibles on a *ahem* higher level. That’s why they stick with the tagline #elevatedcannabis. Sublime sent me their line of medicated edibles last fall, and it’s probably the only thing that kept me sane. They make amazing cakes and baked goods, along with a lot of Southwest staples.
Over the years, I’ve tried Sublime chews and hard candies in flavors like Spicy Chili Mango, Prickly Pear, Cucumber Serrano, Desert Citrus Blossom, and Blood Orange. Even if they weren’t medicated with THC, I would’ve been excited to see candies in these flavors. And that’s not even getting into how amazing Sublime’s medicated honey is.
Sublime also owns the Korova and 4.20 Bar brands, and between the three of them, you can find them in dispensaries around the state. They’re constantly releasing new products and flavors, so keep an eye out. Within the state, they’re good, but Sublime is also a brand to watch, because it could become a casualty of the cannabis industry.
Because state licenses are issued the way they are, there are at least a handful of completely different “Sublime” brands in different states. If/when cannabis is federally decriminalized in the U.S. and the flood of legal filings go through to patent strain genetics, brand names, etc., Sublime may very well be the most heated battle in that war.
And that’s why it’s important that Arizona’s MMJ patients support local Arizona businesses. Cannabis isn’t going anywhere, and there’s a lot of money to be made. Be mindful of who you give yours to. Harvest may be headquartered in AZ, but it’s a public Canadian company whose dividends leave not only Arizona, but the U.S..