Medical marijuana dispensary opens along light rail

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Though Bloom Sky Train was unable to launch on 4/20 as planned, the dispensary opened and began distributing medical marijuana to patients Wednesday. (Thomas Hawthorne/DD)

The first licensed medical-marijuana dispensary in Phoenix opened Wednesday next to the new Sky Train Terminal.

Bloom Sky Train, located next to the 44th Street light rail station is open for business after Arizona voters approved the legalization of medical marijuana in 2010. Bloom Sky Train is licensed to distribute medical marijuana to clients that present their medical card and a doctor’s authorization.

The dispensary opened their doors at 11 a.m. with 30 employees. Lezli Engelking, the owner of Bloom, was very positive and proud of their first day of business.

“The opening went phenomenal,” Engelking said. “In the first hour open, we blew out all expectations and doubled what we predicted our numbers would be for the entire day.”

Although their opening day was a huge success, Bloom was originally set to open this past Saturday on April 20. The dispensary could not open their doors because the Department of Health Services website was down the entire day. This posed a problem, because in order to access a customer’s information, Bloom employees must run their medical marijuana card through the computer, which accesses the website’s database. Because the website was down, no one could purchase medical marijuana throughout the entire state of Arizona.

The delay was also due in part to Bloom’s employees not receiving their dispensary agency cards.

“It was a disappointment we couldn’t open for patients on the day expected, but we wanted to make sure we were 100 percent compliant with the state and their regulations,” Bloom manager Kassidy Croswhite said. He emphasized that all of their clients received their medications, and most importantly, were educated on how to help their symptoms and illnesses.

Bloom’s opening in the Phoenix area not only benefits the many patients in need of their medications, but can also benefit the residents of Phoenix. Dispensaries can create tax benefits, revenue and additional jobs. There are currently 30 direct employees working with the patients in the dispensary, which will soon increase to 50 once business takes off, Engelking said.

“On top of the jobs directly with me at Bloom, you also have architects, CPA’s, construction workers, engineers, suppliers, electricians and multiple other fields that will also benefit from the dispensary opening in Phoenix,” Engelking said.

Bloom employees predict a successful future for the dispensary. After looking at the amount of patients that registered Wednesday, they’re optimistic about the growth of the business.

“I’m super excited about the turnout today and I’m ecstatic for my future endeavors with Bloom,” Bloom employee Kristen Barr said.

Bloom Sky Train is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. Their hours are likely to expand in the future, Engelking said.

Contact the reporter at rcoukoul@asu.edu