Apr 29, 2020

Simplicity and convenience in one location

Entrance to Red River Remedy in Texarkana, AR via Leafly.com

Upon first visit to Red River Remedy in Texarkana I honestly couldn't help but laugh - I haven't stepped foot inside an Electric Cowboy in over 10 years, and I'm honestly taken back by how large their building is.  I assume that later on the owners are planning on utilizing the warehouse space for storage and other business matters, but after entering the lobby and dispensary area you would never tell this used to be the entrance to a night club.

Red River Remedy is situated on the south east side of Texarkana on Broad Street, also known as Highway 67, but not accessible from Interstate 49 just through its back yard.  A straight shot from El Dorado via Hwy 82 West and one right turn will get you there quickly and efficiently.  It is close enough to one of the busiest intersections in the state if you know your way around the area.

A contracted security guard is on site on the premises outside the facility door.  He was friendly and welcoming.  The lobby was clean and there is plenty of seating.  During my first visit I was greeted by the receptionist at the front desk who took my medical card, driver's license, and politely asked me to fill out a brief new patient information sheet.  There is a secure door to the dispensary area operated only by the employees.  My information was verified and entered into their system and then I was instructed to enter through the door.

The showroom is clean and has a sharp, old timey pharmacy type aesthetic.  Large gallon glass jars gleam inside the display case full to the brim with beautiful buds.  Everyone is smiling, attentive, and welcoming.  The bud tenders and employees are very conversational and friendly.  Their menu is displayed on large flat screen TVs behind the distribution counter.  Scales and registers are at each end for ease and speed of transactions.

This day I had my first jar sniffing experience.  I had come prepared to purchase some new strains I had never tried before, and being allowed to smell the terpenes of the flower in my opinion is part of the full dispensary experience.  It's like smelling different roasts of coffee or perfume.  You really never know how your senses will react until you are introduced to their aromas first.

I select my products and they are carefully weighed on scales and put in black plastic squeeze-top containers with an information sticker and my patient ID information.  The packaging is not my favorite as it is not completely child safe, but it is sufficient enough.  A male employee offers to laminate my medical marijuana card and I kindly oblige him.  We chat about the long drive from El Dorado and prospective opening dates for Noah's Ark although unfortunately there's not that much to share.  My purchase is placed in a plain paper bag and stapled shut with my receipt.  Smiles all around and gracious southern, "Come back and see us again soon" resonate from around the room.  The security guard flashes a smile, and a sweet "have a nice day, be careful on your trip home" on my way to the car.

On a subsequent visit since the CDC and Department of Health has mandated certain precautions be put in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, I did not feel as though I was put in danger of exchanging germs with anyone or that there was not enough space in order to properly distance myself.  I felt very safe and have been happy to return to Red River over the past few months.

The charm and simple structure of this place brings a no-fuss approach to the dispensary options in my area, but I wish the interior was dolled up a bit more.  It seems kind of plain and sterile and not very inviting or enticing.  However I do love that flower is not pre-packaged and can be purchased by the gram, and also that taxes are included in all of their prices so you can come prepared financially before your visit.  There is an ATM inside the secure dispensary room for convenience.  Their full menu is available to peruse at your leisure any time via WeedMaps or Leafly, and their social media is updated regularly.

Red River loses a few marks for their far too simple packaging and lack of branding, both inside and outside the facility.  The road sign still touts the large Electric Cowboy lettering and because the building is so far off of the road it was easy to pass up the first time.  Regardless it will be a dispensary that I will be happy to grace the doorways of until there is one closer by and more convenient to my location.  The flower and cart that I purchased were top notch, fresh, and I was extremely happy with my experience at Red River the first time and each visit since.

Apr 27, 2020

Only the best in my morning bowl

A beautiful example of Green Crack's composition

I'm not usually one to follow trends, but when I heard Snoop Dogg's favorite strain was making its way around the dispensaries, I definitely sat up and took notice.  After my first bowl of this wonderfully energizing sativa, I fully understand the hype.  But buyer be wary - it's hard to find but worth the wait.

From Leafly.com: "Don’t let the name fool you: this is pure cannabis. Few strains compare to Green Crack’s sharp energy and focus as it induces an invigorating mental buzz that keeps you going throughout the day. With a tangy, fruity flavor redolent of mango, Green Crack is a great daytime strain that may help consumers fight fatigue, stress, and depression. Because its name perpetuates a negative image of cannabis, some people have taken to calling this strain Cush (with a ‘C’) or Green Cush instead."

Leafly user upinsmk captures the loads of trichomes and fuzzy hairs

Let's take a trip back a couple of weeks: It's the first official Monday of home school during the COVID-19 crisis and I'm awake way before I want to be.  After splashing some water on my face, I shuffle to the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.  Just the smell of Starbucks Veranda Blonde Roast awakens my senses, but I know the caffeine will do me the biggest favor later.  I fill the reservoir with water and start the brewing process, and return to my place of solace to prepare my morning medication.

After turning on some lo-fi music, it's just me, my rainbow titanium grinder, and a beautiful glass jar of Green Crack from Suite 443.  The smell of coffee starts to fill the house, and then the scent of bright citrus hits my nose as I open the jar.  My sight joins my scent of smell as I gaze upon the beautiful dark olive chunks, covered in sparkly crystalline trichomes and woven everywhere with dark amber colored hairs.  I'm taken back by its curb appeal, and I almost regret having to destroy how perfect it is just to enjoy it at full potential.

I place a .85 g nug in my grinder and get to work.  Immediately upon opening it to retrieve the spoils of my efforts the overwhelming smell of limonene immediately hits my nose followed directly by what I can best describe is fresh thyme leaves plucked gently from their stems.  I'm excited to see exactly what smoking it will do to me since I'm already awakened only by the smell.  It's like an expensive man's cologne and I'm here for it.

About ten minutes after smoking a hefty bowl before my first cup of coffee is even able to ignite my brain and I'm feeling like I may have injected a ristresso shot straight into my carotid artery.  I'm suddenly holding back the urge to wash all the walls inside my house before breakfast.

This particular batch was tested at 17.8% THC which is not the strongest flower I've had up until this point, but the mildness of this flower is exactly what I was looking for.  I am lucid, don't have a care in the world, and already have enough energy to trade out laundry, unload the dishwasher, and make breakfast before my husband gets out of the shower.  Time after time I've returned to it with the same pleasing results. It has never let me down. Even if I overindulge, I'm still riding a river of clarity I've never felt before in my life.

I know I mentioned before in my introductory blog that I would be adding special content like drink pairings for particular strains.  I had a late night and some things to get done one evening so I prepared a nice bowl of green crack and made myself a tequila mule - the sharpness of the liquor plus the soothing sweetness of the soda paired with the fresh squeeze of lime juice went perfectly with this bright, happy flower.  In the morning I definitely recommend a cup of green tea with a fresh slice of lemon and a drizzle of honey - or canna honey if you have it!  A light roast of coffee with citrus and floral notes is also a great accompaniment to its terpene profile.

I hope that my review of Green Crack (Mango, Green Cush, whatever you would like to call it) will convince you to give it a try the next time you're in need of a pep in your step kind of sativa!

Apr 24, 2020

The bubbler you didn't know you needed

The Kettle Bubbler by Ooze
When shopping for a bong, I wanted all of the features with none of the hassle. After browsing the Smoke Cartel Web site for what felt like hours, I came across the products made by Ooze. The bright colors and interesting mold shapes immediately got my attention, but the customer reviews quickly convinced me that if I bought one of their products I wouldn't be anything less than delighted.

From the Smoke Cartel Web site: "This super functional Ooze Silicone Kettle Bong measures 6.25", so you can easily pack it with the rest of your luggage during travel. 
A built-in magnetic strip holds your dabber tool, and the glass chamber is removable, which is convenient for fast cleanups.  Made with durable silicone and glass, which both offering high resistance to heat and the durability of silicone.
Other features are the herb slide and the quartz banger nail, making the water bubbler functional and ready for use. This tool is suitable for use with dry herbs and potent waxes."
The Ooze Kettle's easily interchangeable quartz banger offers another consumption option.
I was extremely pleased with the bright packaging and how well my order was shipped.  Smoke Cartel also offers glass insurance for some of their pieces - pay a small add-on price to replace your bowl or pipe for 50% off if you are to break it.  But what really got my attention was the included quartz banger bowl which got me more bang for my buck - pun intended.  I had been nervous to try concentrates and didn't want a complicated rig dedicated to only dabs - I'm mostly a flower girl - but having the available attachment is very handy and makes a great package kit for the new user all the way to the avid enthusiast. The included bowl is deep enough to hold a nice cherry for an enjoyable smoke sesh.  However mine did not come with the slide grip as I've seen in some pictures, and trying to pull a hot glass bowl can be kind of tricky.
My favorite part about this little bubbler kit is how easy it is to break down and clean!  Everything comes completely apart for super easy cleaning and storage. The silicon body and downstem don't absorb odor, so after a short trip trough some hot soapy water, along with the glass pieces, it's completely skunk free.  The silicon is malleable so it's portable and great for traveling or throwing into a bag.
Ooze Kettle and all of its components

Overall I give this bubbler kit a 9/10.  It's super easy to put together, use, and extra easy to clean. I'll definitely be checking out more of their products in the future! It is missing a couple of features like a safety grip or a slide tab on the bowl for easier removal.

The Ooze Kettle Bubbler Kit can be purchased here from Smoke Cartel or directly from the Ooze Web site via this link.

This post is not paid for or sponsored by Smoke Cartel or Ooze.

Apr 22, 2020

A hauntingly good experience

Ecto Cooler buds show off their gorgeous trichomes - a user via Leafly.com
Bold Cultivation's Ecto Cooler flower via Leafly.com

My very first purchase upon obtaining my medical marijuana card was 1/8 oz (3.5 gm) of Ecto Cooler flower from Suite 443 in Hot Springs on February 29, 2020.  The nugs were tightly packed and covered in sparkly crystals, not forgetting to mention the spattering of orange-red hairs wound throughout them.  The flower is in an air tight jar with Bold Cultivation's easily recognizable branding, an information sticker, and my patient ID information label.

I open the child proof jar and my eyes are instantly locked on the beautiful contents inside. The first waft of scent is of citrus from the high amounts of limonene terpenes. Only after grinding and lighting this brightly scented strain do you unlock the smell that can only be described as taking off your gas cap to fill up - pure high octane gasoline.

I placed a chunk of a bud to be about 0.9 gm in my grinder and twisted it to produce a medium fine texture which I prefer for rolling a joint.  After carefully stuffing small amounts of finely cut flower into the end of the Raw Organic Hemp Cone all that was left was to twist and seal the end of my beautiful creation and get ready to take my first hit.  The THC level in this particular batch was 22.6%.  As the smoke filled my lungs I resisted the urge to cough, exhaled through my nose and smiled.  I had never experienced smoking anything quite like this.

The reaction time for myself was a little slower than I expected.  I had just eaten so I blamed it on my full stomach, but once the euphoria started to set in it was hard to ignore.  The effects swept over me like slipping into a warm bath after a morning cup of coffee.  Relaxed yet surprisingly alert.  This feeling continued to grow as I found myself craving the stimulation of electronic music.  I slipped my earbuds in and drifted off into my own world with a mix of Steve Aoki, Marshmello, and David Guetta.  The rest of my day went by smoothly as though I was strolling through lavender fields without a worry in the world.

I personally loved the Ecto Cooler flower which led me to not hesitate from a future purchase at another dispensary (that's for another post!) but it lost my interest after discovering other strains since then.  The flavor profile is highly stimulating: citrusy, fresh and energizing on the nose.  Smells of diesel and wet lumber when combusted.  Effect is relaxing but uplifting without making one feel paranoid or jittery.  Made me much more focused and less impatient or irritated which is great with an overly talkative pre-teen in the house! Overall a 9/10 💚

Apr 21, 2020

First dispensary trip!

Suite 443 - Hot Springs
Photo credit Misty Drennan via WeedMaps.com

My first trip as an official medical marijuana patient was to Suite 443 in Hot Springs.  From El Dorado, we traveled north west to East Camden by way of Highway 7 north, then on to 79 north until our journey led us to Eagle Mills where the beginning of Highway 9 curves through the Ouachita Forest towards the mountains of Garland County.  The drive up is beautiful, but long. 

After passing through Malvern as the last major town, missing Magnet Cove with a blink, about 9 minutes from the I-20 intersection just on the outskirts of the Lakeside District of Hot Springs we discover a very inconspicuous building on the right of Highway 270 West.  It's easily passed if you don't know what you're looking for, which can be a good thing but also frustrating for new patients. After the first visit, though I can say with confidence I will never forget where Suite 443 is.

The parking lot was clean and well maintained.  There were no scavengers or questionable folk hanging about the building or its premises. I had placed an online order previous to my arrival.  Upon entering the building into the main lobby, I was greeted by a friendly middle aged lady and gentleman whom I assumed were the dispensary owners or managers. All identification protocol was followed to a T without making me feel uncomfortable or rushed.  I did not have my physical card yet but they had no issue scanning the bar code from my digital copy on my phone.  They checked my ID and I passed through to the checkout door.  Each door is secured by a lock that is operated only by the staff. I felt very safe.

At the checkout window I was approached by a young man with long dreads and what looked to be a security guard.  I was kind of nervous with it being my first time so I unfortunately didn't pay much attention to names.  My order was already bagged and a happy conversation ensued about me being a new patient, a first time visitor and our trip from the southernmost part of the state.  They offered me a tour of the showroom and a free hat for my first visit.

Around the corner from the checkout window is a small atrium where there is a coffee bar with a Kuerig, various coffee pods, soda and water in a cooler for patients free of charge. Through another secured doorway lie the expansive showroom with its rustic yet classy display cases and homey, slightly industrial feel.  The experience of taking it all in was akin to walking into your favorite coffee shop where your barista already knows your favorite order and starts working on it as soon as you pass the threshold.  There were smiles all around from staff and customer alike, and I shed my nerves on the way out the door of my first visit.  I decided pretty quickly that this would be the dispensary that would be the standard of comparison to others in my future.

I purchased 3/8 oz of flower,  1/4 oz of one and 1/8 oz of another which total by weight is about 11 grams.  The flower I received was tight buds with sticky centers, dried down in snug happy chunks and nugs.  Upon observation all of the buds seem to have been evenly trimmed and by weight each jar was visibly equally packed.  For convenience all flower at Suite 443 is pre-packaged in glass, airtight jars and labeled with the product information.  Upon purchase the patient information sticker is added to the jar which makes the transaction quicker for the tender and the customer.  However, they do not sell by weight to be measured in front of the customer.  

After emptying the jar and weighing it myself on a kitchen scale each jar was approximately no more than .01 gm off of weight (1/8 oz = approx 3.5 grams). I also purchased a bottle of CBD Companion Drops for my 6 month old labrador puppy and a vape cartridge of a blend of AK-47 x Cookies (or GSC, respectively). The cart by weight was 0.5 gm.

I will be posting my product review for the dispensary in tomorrow's post so be sure and check back for that!