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/