Capitol Hill marijuana entrepreneurs go mobile, get ready for 502 future

It’s the seeming Catch-22 of Initiative-502’s legalization of marijuana in Washington. Come December 6th, it will be legal to smoke a joint — provided you are safely inside and not at a magic show. But with no state-authorized stores in place for the foreseeable future, where will the good citizens of Seattle get their weed? Some of the people behind the small wave of Capitol Hill marijuana dispensaries that came — and went — over the last two years believe they have the answer.

“There’s an opportunity. Who better to provide it?” asks Cass Stewart who opened the Apothecary dispensary on Broadway in 2011 only to quickly close the medicinal marijuana provider in the wake of a summer sortie of letters sent out by the Drug Enforcement Agency warning area dispensaries located within 1,000 feet of schools and other fuzzily-defined entities.


Stewart and others looking to continue their entrepreneurial headstart but not tangle with Washington D.C. shut down and moved on.

But few, including Stewart, quit. Instead, the new wave of dispensaries are moving away from brick and mortar storefronts and rebranding themselves as virtual delivery services.

So, somebody contacts you with an order for marijuana and you deliver? CHS believes that has been done before.

“It’s different from [being] a dealer because I want to stay within the law,” Stewart said.

The value proposition certainly seems to be in place. December 6th will encourage an impossible to predict increase in the Seattle marijuana economy customer base. These customers will likely seek the safest possible avenue for acquiring marijuana with the lowest likelihood of getting ripped off in the process. Some might even be interested in the connoisseurship once the probability of a safe transaction is established.

Stewart said he still has relationships with customers from his brick and mortar days and the new service will be run with the same requirements around authorization. But he also readily acknowledges that, come December 6th — a Thursday for those planning ahead — the division between “patient” and “customer” will become even more blurred.

His Apothecary Express “Capitol Hill Medical Cannabis Delivery” service is gearing up for a December soft-launch. You can check it out on Facebook.

It’s not the only one. Meet Mr. X. Mr. X Delivery is already up and running and has a tricked-out site complete with an ecommerce enabled pot menu.

“Mr. X only recently launched publicly and we operate exclusively online,” Mr. X writes. “The DEA enforcement thus far have been limited to those dispensaries who have a physical location (there is no mention of internet-based) within 1000 feet of schools and parks. Using this map as a guide, http://legalcannabis.us/map/, it would seem this restriction would limit much of Seattle and nearly all of Capitol Hill.”

There is no school-centered 1,000-foot radius to worry about on the Internet, apparently.

We don’t have any info on the identity of Mr. X and a cursory check of business licenses and domain registrations didn’t yield any clues. Here’s what Mr. X says about who Mr. X is:

We are former Seattle dispensary volunteers who strive to provide safe, discreet and convenient access to our patients with a special emphasis on those who cannot leave their home due to their medical condition.

We started Mr. X because the day-to-day behind-the-scenes shenanigans that happen at Seattle dispensaries quite frankly appalled us. Unfortunately, the medical marijuana industry has truly become fuelled by selfish individuals and greed. In order to satisfy the bottom line, patient needs are neglected and the standards for superior quality medicine have diminished. Enter Mr. X!

Perhaps more free to prognosticate given the anonymity, Mr. X’s predictions for what comes next in 2013 are more chaotic than what the Apothecary’s Stewart expects to happen. “With the passage of I-502, operating in a gray area remains,” Mr. X writes. “Our general feeling has been that most industry members feel as if 2013 will become a ‘jungle of weed’ so to speak. For some that’s going to mean pure greed and an anything goes mentality. We’d like for that to not be the case.”

Meanwhile, not everyone has gone virtual. In the old Apothecary space, a new dispensary quietly moved in following the excitement of the DEA letter. It’s operating on Broadway today — and probably will be on December 6th also.

17 thoughts on “Capitol Hill marijuana entrepreneurs go mobile, get ready for 502 future

  1. Hahahhhahaha, you mean the FCC Republicans have been gutting since Reagan? Uncle Charlie has been toothless for a long time.

    A citizen or federal officer can arrest a person for possessing a single hemp seed anywhere in the USA. Just like they could for someone selling meth in Cal Anderson park. Then the question becomes will the district attorney’s office bring the case to trial. And after that it is up to a judge and/or jury. Laws like I-502 definitely influence judges & juries!

    The DA has already dropped 200+ cases on the books for possession. After I-502 passed, other states immediately introduced laws to legalize pot like CO’s law. The medical mj laws have proved dogs and cats won’t start living together just because there is more pot in the streets. So now we need a transition like we had after prohibition of alcohol was lifted.

    But in the end, it will take an act of Congress to ‘legalize’ hemp.

  2. Thanks for linking to http://legalcannabis.us/map/. It is indeed true that — respecting so-called “school zones” which are defined in federal and state law — medical cannabis access points can not be located in the vast majority of Seattle.

    It is similar, though perhaps not quite as bad, under I-502. I am giving a lecture on I-502 zoning in King County next week, Tuesday, Nov. 27 at noon, and Wednesday, Nov. 28 at 7pm. Space is limited to 20 tickets per session — check out http://legalcannabis.us/ for more info.

  3. Color me confused as to what is going in. Someone has moved into the old Apothecary space, but by heart belongs to the BOTH collective. Is there anyone on the hill that we can count on?

  4. I know what you mean, but I think you should try Mr. X. I was a patient at BOTH and Apothecary and Mr. X blows them out of the water with regards to service and quality. Just my opinion!

  5. Thx for info, rcm.

    Not to quibble w/your business practices–just a Q:

    After Dec 6, is there really any risk if a med provider receives a donation for an eighth from a non-carded customer?

  6. Drug delivery? Sounds just like the old days when you’d call your dealer, and he (almost never she) would park in the alley behind your place and leave the engine running.

    Also, BTW (for Ian and for Raincitymedical, who really ought to know better), there’s no “marijuana card” or marijuana “Rx” — it’s an authorization which states only that your medical professional believes you would benefit from MMJ use. By law it’s on copy-protected 8.5×11″ paper, and contrary to what anybody will tell you it is legally only good for one year at a time.

  7. These delivery services are *already* doing something illegal per *federal* law.

    As of 12/06, small-amount possession is legal per state law. So what’s the risk in selling to–er, I mean, accepting “donations” from–non-mmj-carded customers–or should I say “patients”? What’s the risk?

  8. FCC wouldn’t care

    DEA would. I don’t think they have time to go after anyone for possession. I’d expect them to send cease and desist letters to businesses in the marijuana industry. They may also raid warehouses and stores.

    There’s no way DEA is going to put people on patrol to find stoners.

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