By Dorie Morales
After spending an hour at Level Up, an alternative medical marijuana provider in north Scottsdale, I dubbed it the Saks Fifth Avenue of the industry.
The store, located at 14980 N. 78th Way near the Scottsdale Airpark, is an upscale state-licensed medical marijuana dispensary with a unique European flare. Level Up opened in December 2016, assisting around 100 people with medical marijuana needs a day. Now, they often serve four times that many.
The waiting room features a sophisticated lounge with modern-style black leather armchairs and other contemporary accents. The space is flooded with natural light from the exterior windows creating a beautiful connection to the outdoors, which was part of the owner’s vision.
Being at Level Up was a mind-expanding experience. I learned an entirely new vocabulary — industry lingo such as “budtending” and “budtender.” The budtender is the person who assists patients at the budtending station, which is where you choose your medicine.
Jenna Urusky, the marketing director for Level Up and K.I.N.D. Concentrates, was my personal budtender. K.I.N.D. Concentrates is a wholesale cannabis company that provides 70 percent of the marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) to dispensaries throughout Arizona.
Urusky showed me a variety of buds, including Blueberry Kush and Mendo Breath. Some of the buds sell for $14 a gram. I learned that there are different cannabis products for specific needs, from managing energy levels to pain relief.
Marijuana is legal for medical purposes in Arizona, and you need to have a medical marijuana card to purchase the buds at Level Up. Those interested in becoming a medical marijuana patient should apply online at medicalmarijuana.azdhs.gov. A medical marijuana card costs $225 a year. Ten percent of purchases made by Patient for Life members of Level Up are applied to annual card renewals.
Level Up cares about the people who come through their doors. They offer yoga sessions in the breezeway once a month, as well as relaxation techniques.
“As a patient, I really appreciate that Level Up cares about my overall wellness,” said Shelby, a regular customer who chose not to provide her last name. “Sometimes life can get a bit hectic, so it’s nice that they offer free yoga sessions. It’s even nicer that it’s all for charity. For the most recent session, my daughter picked out the toy she wanted to send to The Cancer Foundation for Children. I took it to Level Up and had an amazing yoga session!”
The employees at Level Up feel that the service they provide is an important one. Prior to creating K.I.N.D. Concentrates, Jenna Urusky worked in the mortgage industry in Kentucky. She suffered from fibromyalgia, however, and eventually could no longer work at a desk.
“I was a personal marijuana patient, and I could not work in the office environment any more,” Urusky said.
After recovering from seizures, she searched for a job that was cannabis friendly. She has compassion for cannabis patients and wants to change the stigma around the industry.
“Cannabis is a natural and holistic way to deal with pain,” Urusky said.
A new Level Up location opens this month at 2424 W. University Drive, Tempe. The 2,500-square-foot Tempe dispensary is offering a retail experience for the vibrant, up-and-coming area near ASU. Edgy graphic walls and brand imagery will bring an ultra-hip personality to the store while retaining design features of the Scottsdale location. Signature design elements such as textural brick walls, rhythmic chevron floor patterns, an inviting glass-walled storefront lobby space, and a jaw-dropping showroom will put the customer experience on stage.
As the publisher and editor-in-chief of Green Living magazine, Dorie Morales turns living eco-consciousness into an art form, fully embracing the idea of living, working and playing green. Her vision of a sustainable future drives the magazine, educating, empowering and inspiring readers to make their own eco-conscious choices for the betterment of the planet.