Cap Hill Cannabis: More medical marijuana providers coming as dispensary opens on 14th Ave

As the law appears set to shift in Olympia, the medi-juana rush has hit Capitol Hill with intensity. Only weeks after Apothecary Seattle, Capitol Hill’s “first full-service wellness center,” opened on Broadway, a new crop of medical marijuana providers is preparing to provide medical grade cannabis on the Hill including one new space already open on 14th Ave.

“What you’re going to see on Capitol Hill is the beginning of the new medical marijuana coming to the Hill,” Philip Dawdy, media and policy director for the Washington Cannabis Association, told CHS in February when we talked to him about the Washington state dispensary trend finally coming to Capitol Hill.

On Tuesday, we found Dawdy inside the Capitol Hill Patient Group dispensary on 14th Ave in the former shop where designer underwear store Red Drawers folded last fall. Behind the dispensary is 60 Minute Photo. Next door is the expanding Spinasse on a suddenly busy 14th Ave. Dawdy said he isn’t an employee of the nonprofit but he is there to help Capitol Hill Patient Group get started in its new space.

According to Washington state records, the Patient Group is backed by Jeremy Miller who is also organizing the Seattle Cannabis Farmers Market effort in the city. You can learn more about on the CHPG Facebook page.

“We’re being cautious,” Dawdy said sitting in front of a monitor giving him multiple camera views from the newly installed video surveillance system. “The closest thing I can think of is the end of liquor (prohibition), you know — some people are going to do it differently.”

Dawdy said CHPG doesn’t show off its marijuana and questions some of the marketing he has seen from other dispensaries in the city. He also says he expects plenty of “competition” — saying there will be at least five active providers on the Hill by summer.

You already have met real estate agent turned medical marijuana provider Cass Stewart here as we profiled Apothecary Seattle. Apothecary, by the way, is currently a CHS advertiser.

CHS can now tell you a little about two more.

We have learned that a dispensary will soon be operating on 15th Ave directly across from Group Health next to the planned Gyro Cafe, Terriyaki Madness and a 7-11. Go ahead and make a joke but we’re told this isn’t exactly a Cheech and Chong situation — the dispensary will provide its product and services to patients most seriously in need of pain relief.

Meanwhile, in three or four weeks, carpetbaggers from the south will be bringing their product to the Central District-Capitol Hill border zone as Tacoma Cross opens an outlet on Madison near 24th Ave.

The medical marijuana co-op has already been making deliveries from its Capitol Hill location since it received its license three months ago.

James Lucas, owner of Tacoma Cross, said he is bringing his co-op to Seattle to provide a service. “We try to keep the medicine high quality and affordable,” Lucas said. “I’m hearing prices of $400 an ounce. We’re going to come up there and try to help people out.”

Lucas said Tacoma Cross utilizes an identification card that also works like a membership rewards program. He says Tacoma Cross currently has about 3,500 members.

Will, an upper manager at Tacoma Cross, said the coo-p tries to be a good neighbor.

“We try not to impact the area around us except in a positive way,” he said. The co-op does not produce any of the medicine, clothing, glass or other products themselves, instead sourcing what they can from people in the Tacoma area. The co-op also teaches classes for people who want to grow their own marijuana.

Eight people connected to Tacoma Cross were charged with felonies last year after seven of their homes were raided. In the end, five people pleaded guilty to lesser misdemeanor charges and were let off without suspended or deferred jail sentences.

“After a year in court, we finally beat it,” said Will. He noted that the dispensary was never raided, only people’s homes.

Lucas says the move onto Madison will be one of two near-term expansions for Tacoma Cross — the other new dispensary is planned for Lacey. “We wanted to be on Capitol Hill,” Lucas said. “It has the largest population and we liked the demographic. [It] seems like the people are progressive.”

Until the shop opens fully, people can become members of the co-op by visiting the Tacoma location, which has been open since 2009. Here’s a video tour of the Tacoma space and its amenities. You can learn more at http://tacomacross.org/

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26 thoughts on “Cap Hill Cannabis: More medical marijuana providers coming as dispensary opens on 14th Ave

  1. Really, this dispensary is right across the street from the AME Church and they have a daycare and preschool on site. I know that restaraunts and the coffe shop on the same block had to be a certain number of feet clear of this because of liquor laws. I question whether or not they researched the area and whether or not they care if they are within the “new guidelines and regulations” that are now being passed thru the government.

    I don’t care if it becomes legal or not but let’s make it fair – does it really need to be in our childrens backyard?

    As stated in a recent article from the PI:

    The bill, originally sponsored by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, aims to bring medical marijuana dispensaries out of the legal gray area in which they operate under current law.

    It establishes a licensing process for cannabis producers and sets up regulations for dispensaries, including a provision that they must be located at least 500 feet away from a school.

    Earlier this month in Komo News Philip Dawdy stated:

    If the state wants to establish a distance requirement for shops located near schools and other entities, fair enough, said Philip Dawdy, media and policy director for the Washington Cannabis Association.

    “We want everybody to have some well-defined limits that they can observe,” he said. “This is butting into a fairly well-known state law that was passed by the voters.”

  2. Yes, with the scary empty storefronts, the trashy vacant lot, the leather shop around the corner, and the homeless guys sleeping in the doorway of the church, I too am really concerned about the impact that a medical marijuana shop will have on the kids at the preschool.

  3. Right. Typical response on this blog is we don’t follow any rules or regulations in this neighborhood whether it is posters, cannibis, or the Volunteer Park Cafe.

    What excuses do we have this time:
    -It’s not as bad as this other thing going on
    -It’s Capitol Hill and we are unique
    -It’s Capitol Hill and we are losing our soul
    -If you don’t like it move to Bellevue

    All crap excuses…

  4. Hi, anonymous concerned parent. I’m very familiar with our state’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act, as well as with SB 5073.

    You didn’t say why you’re concerned about CHPG opening up across the street from the church. Maybe you assumed everyone would be able to guess, but I’d rather hear it from you. What related concerns do you have?

  5. @ excuse–I think you’re really missing my point. I’m arguing that the rule should be changed, if it is in effect (which I don’t think it is yet, per Phil’s link.) Such a restriction (and similar ones on bars, restaurants, liquor stores, etc.) is absurd in an urban environment, which is defined as–among other things–a place where lots of stuff exists in close proximity to lots of other stuff. I also generally resent restrictions on adult behavior and business “for the children”…and that is particularly egregious in this case since what we are talking about is a *medical dispensary*. You might as well say Walgreen’s has to be 500 feet from any school, too.

  6. During House floor debate yesterday, an amendment was proposed that would increase the spacing of dispensaries from other dispensaries, schools, and more, from 500 feet (as in the current version of the bill) to 1000 feet. One representative noted that a 1000-foot restriction would exclude all of Seattle except for a small portion under a highway overpass somewhere.

    I’m still curious what the anonymous parent is worried about.

  7. I will pass on arguing what the definition is or asking you whether you made that up. Regardless of whether we are talking about urban or rural, land-use is regulated.

    I see you put medical dispensary in quotes because anyone can get a “prescription.”

    Life in the city without restrictions and limits would also be absurd.

  8. I’m not arguing against all restrictions, just against this one and ones like it. But keep beating that straw man, I’m sure he’ll give eventually…

  9. Think of the children! Please be serious for a moment. The children are all right. The only problem is the nattering in your own head. The kids in any town will find pot whether or not it is across the street from their school. My opinion is that one should be much more wary of loan sharks and assorted other scammers before the scary MJ people come around. Really now, your lawyer smokes, are you afraid to ask his counsel?

  10. I am more concerned with children in proximity to churches than a dispensary they wouldn’t be allowed to enter selling product they don’t have the paperwork to buy.

  11. Excuse wrote, “I see you put medical dispensary in quotes because anyone can get a “prescription.”

    Look again. That’s enclosed by asterisks, not quotes.

    Quoting RCW 69.51A.010:

    (4) “Qualifying patient” means a person who:

    (a) Is a patient of a health care professional;

    (b) Has been diagnosed by that health care professional as having a terminal or debilitating medical condition;

    (c) Is a resident of the state of Washington at the time of such diagnosis;

    (d) Has been advised by that health care professional about the risks and benefits of the medical use of marijuana; and

    (e) Has been advised by that health care professional that they may benefit from the medical use of marijuana.

    (5) “Tamper-resistant paper” means paper that meets one or more of the following industry-recognized features:

    (a) One or more features designed to prevent copying of the paper;

    (b) One or more features designed to prevent the erasure or modification of information on the paper; or

    (c) One or more features designed to prevent the use of counterfeit valid documentation.

    (6) “Terminal or debilitating medical condition” means:

    (a) Cancer, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders; or

    (b) Intractable pain, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean pain unrelieved by standard medical treatments and medications; or

    (c) Glaucoma, either acute or chronic, limited for the purpose of this chapter to mean increased intraocular pressure unrelieved by standard treatments and medications; or

    (d) Crohn’s disease with debilitating symptoms unrelieved by standard treatments or medications; or

    (e) Hepatitis C with debilitating nausea or intractable pain unrelieved by standard treatments or medications; or

    (f) Diseases, including anorexia, which result in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity, when these symptoms are unrelieved by standard treatments or medications; or

    (g) Any other medical condition duly approved by the Washington state medical quality assurance commission in consultation with the board of osteopathic medicine and surgery as directed in this chapter.

    (7) “Valid documentation” means:

    (a) A statement signed and dated by a qualifying patient’s health care professional written on tamper-resistant paper, which states that, in the health care professional’s professional opinion, the patient may benefit from the medical use of marijuana; and

    (b) Proof of identity such as a Washington state driver’s license or identicard, as defined in RCW 46.20.035.

  12. What is everybody so afraid of? It’s still easier for people to get illegal pot than for them to get legal pot, but everybody is freaking out over the existence of the legal stuff.

  13. Why quote RCW? We know from every VPC post on this blog that Capitol Hill does not follow any laws or regulations that at least one person doesn’t agree with. So, don’t reference something that is meaningless.

    Again, anyone can get a “prescription.” And you can quote me on this.

  14. I think it IS true that just about anyone, whether truly qualified or not, can get an authorization for medical marijuana from a health professional. This is one of the major shortcomings of the current legislation as it encourages fraud and misuse of the law.

    Why else would most “dispensaries” hire mercenary doctors to hold on-site “clinics” solely for the purpose of providing authorizations, for a fee? What percentage of people attending these “clinics” get an authorization? (I’m guessing close to 100%). And why has the chief federal prosecutor (Jenny Durkan) publicly stated that her office would prioritize prosecutions of “doctors who abuse their positions and fraudulently certify individuals as medical marijuana patients”?

  15. “I think it IS true that just about anyone, whether truly qualified or not, can get an authorization for medical marijuana from a health professional.”

    I think you’re wrong. On what are you basing your belief?

    “Why else would most “dispensaries” hire mercenary doctors to hold on-site “clinics” solely for the purpose of providing authorizations, for a fee?”

    Can you cite an example of a dispensary doing what you claim most of them do?

    “What percentage of people attending these “clinics” get an authorization?”

    That depends entirely upon how many people who attend are qualified under state law.

    “And why has the chief federal prosecutor (Jenny Durkan) publicly stated that her office would prioritize prosecutions of “doctors who abuse their positions and fraudulently certify individuals as medical marijuana patients”?”

    Maybe because people have heard misinformation like that which you’ve provided here and are concerned that such is happening. Maybe because she doesn’t want it to happen.

  16. You seem to “think” too much Get over it.

    You need real medical records to get an authorization. As noted above, the state does have limitations on who can get it.

    Oh the poor children! How many times have their parents got drunk or smoked cigarettes in front of them?

    Pot is not an issue. Just check online on how much it costs the US tax payer for alcohol and tobacco related accidents, deaths, diseases, injuries, and medical expenses. Billions!

  17. Well I haven’t been drunk or smoked in front of my children. There is no reason too.

    Anyone can get “real” medical records and state limitations are easy to get around.

    Maybe you aren’t thinking enough?

  18. Phil, this is what Cass Stewart (owner of dispensary on Broadway) stated in a previous CHS thread:

    “COMPLIANCE = You cannot get an Authorization over the phone or by just walking into the clinic. You must have medical records from a primary care physician listing your qualifying condition as stated in Washington State Law Chapter 69.51a RCW. If you qualify under state law you can see our clinics physician on pre-set days by appointment only. If qualified you can receive your authorization at that time.”

    So there is one example and I’m sure other places offer the same. I wonder why people are taking their medical records to some anonymous provider at a dispensary, instead of simply getting the authorization from their primary care provider? I think the answer is obvious. I would still like to know what percentage of people being seen at dispensaries are being denied authorization, but I doubt any place wants to admit to the likelihood that it is close to 100%.

    I think it’s relevant that Jenny Durkan (federal prosecutor) is carefully following this issue of fraudulent authorizations, and also that the state legislature is discussing ways to tighten the law in this regard. You dismiss this problem too easily. Do you really think Ms.Durkan would consider taking legal action on the basis of “misinformation?”

    On a related note, I see that a few of the dispensaries are running ads featuring sexy female models in suggestive poses (such as holding a phallic-shaped bong against her crotch)….sleazy! This is not a very wise approach for a business which wants to be taken seriously as a provider of medicine.

  19. “I wonder why people are taking their medical records to some anonymous provider at a dispensary, instead of simply getting the authorization from their primary care provider?”

    I strongly suspect that any health care provider to whom Cass refers someone will not provide his or her services in an anonymous manner. Many doctors are afraid of having anything to do with medical cannabis and many are unfamiliar with related state law. Many people take their medical records to other specialty health care service providers (e.g., lab tests, radiology, etc.)

    “Do you really think Ms.Durkan would consider taking legal action on the basis of `misinformation?'”

    Our federal government’s drug policy is based almost entirely upon misinformation. Durkan’s threats are political.

    “I see that a few of the dispensaries are running ads featuring sexy female models in suggestive poses (such as holding a phallic-shaped bong against her crotch)….sleazy! This is not a very wise approach for a business which wants to be taken seriously as… read more provider of medicine.”

    I completely agree. Note that this is a recent phenomenon. Such was almost completely nonexistent during the first 10 years of our state’s medical cannabis act.