Well, folks, the year is nearly over, and that means it's time for the First Annual Baked Goods Awards. If there's one thing I've learned from smoking cannabis, it's that everyone has their own perspectives—based on their unique collection of experiences, brain chemistry and personality. That makes it really hard to judge other people. After all, how is my opinion any more valid than anyone else's? It's in this spirit that I now lay out my final 2016 judgments.
Best in Service: PurLife (3821 Menaul NE)
Go say hello to Indy and the gang from Purlife. This is one place where I never feel rushed or unappreciated. The staff is knowledgeable and friendly, and no one has (to my knowledge) ever fed me a line of bullshit (which has happened more than once at other dispensaries around town). If I have a question about vaping or edibles, I always head here first, because I know I can actually trust the information I get.
Best in Quality: Verdes Foundation (6005 Coronado NE)
I came late in the game to Verdes. Their website used to make it appear as though an eighth of an ounce was the minimum purchase. That scared me away for months. It wasn't the case, though, and they've fixed the site since then. Now, it's easy to find out that all their strains are $11.50 per gram, and with the most consistently high-quality flowers I've come across in ABQ, that's nothing to sneeze at. Always sticky with trichomes and stinkier than hell, their buds always deliver surprisingly potent effects. They've also just opened a new location in Rio Rancho (2320 Grande SE) that's pretty close to all of us on the West Side.
Best in Price: High Desert Relief (4730 Pan American East Freeway NE Ste C)
The first time I went into High Desert, I literally did a double take when I saw the price listings. It's no wonder I nearly always find a long line at this place, considering the absolutely crazy deals you can find there. The staff has really met the demand though, and I never end up waiting longer than 10 minutes. The medicine has never been dry or discolored, and their selection is one of the largest in town.
Best Sativa: Ghost Train Haze
I generally use cannabis to ease depression and social anxiety. For me, that means heavy doses of sativa strains. The active mind and frenetic energy that accompany this species give a sense of euphoria and make everything seem a little more bearable. Ghost Train Haze is especially good for fast-talking and clever wordplay. It also has the incredibly important (and often avoided) effect of bringing up the bothersome thoughts that you've been shoving into the corner of your brain. It's hard to dodge any negative emotions when they're being shoved in your face. You just have to come to terms with them if you want to be mentally healthy (which is, indeed, the model which modern psychology still works under, despite millennial dedication to the contrary). To be completely frank, I think the world could use more of that.
Best Indica: Warlock
If you use cannabis to treat pain, insomnia or physical injuries, then indica is the way to go. And if you want a heady, put-
Best Hybrid: Girl Scout Cookies
Girl Scout Cookies could have gotten a Best in Show Award, too. This incredible hybrid tastes and smells great, but more importantly, it has everything you're looking for in a strain. It's mellow and pain-relieving, yet focused and creative at the same time. Ever since my first interaction with the stuff, it's become the measuring stick by which I judge all other strains. Even its derivatives are great. This one is definitely worth hunting down and stocking up.