The Walmart of weed opens in Seattle, retail sales coming nextFebruary 20, 2013 @ 5:07 pm (Updated: 10:29 am - 2/21/13 )
A successful online medical marijuana distributor has opened a brick and mortar store in the city.
"(It's) 5,200 square feet. It is very, very, very large and it's great. We can do things in that space that nobody else has really been able to do with medical marijuana in the city, or in the state," says Dante Jones, founder of Green Ambrosia.
His business is a Seattle co-op for medical marijuana with online sales and deliveries. When the state got out of the liquor business it sold all its stores including a building along 15th Avenue in Ballard.
The old liquor store now has a fresh coat of gray paint on the exterior and a distinct smell inside.
Jones gave me a tour, pointing out cupcakes, cookies and gummy candy laced with marijuana. "We have an energy drink, we have peanut butter and jelly, these cookies here are great for sleep they're great for pain as well," he says. "This blackberry crumble is for heavier dosage patients it's good for about eight hours of pain relief."
There's a rack of a dozen small marijuana plants in pots next to a mature plant that's about four-feet tall. The clones are made from the large plant by simply clipping off leaves. It takes about three weeks to grow roots, plant them in soil and they take off.
Having no experience with marijuana, I ask a stupid question.
"I didn't realize pot was so easy to grow?"
"That's why they call it weed," he answers. Of course.
The store also contains jars filled with the more popular strains of dried bud, but there is a lot of empty space in the building. That's by design. Jones is planning to add inventory to the store and serve the general public once the state issues retailer licenses later this year.
"I'll be honest with you, I don't even know what that looks like," he says. "I can't imagine retail sales but that is exactly what we're planning and setting up."
Green Ambrosia seems to be ahead of the state in the planning process. The Washington Liquor Control Board holds another public hearing, in Tacoma, Thursday night to listen to residents' concerns and solicit advice.
"It's not their fault they don't know what to do," he laughs. "They just don't know what to do. It's really funny."
Jones has studied Initiative 502 to make sure his building complies with all the expected requirements for retail, recreational marijuana sales.
"They don't want any smoking, any vaporizing, any medicating on site so we said, check, and if you look around you'll see 'no smoking' signs posted. They require cameras on every single door. Cameras on every single cash point. Well luckily since this was a liquor store, right before they left they upgraded all the security systems and alarming," says Jones.
Those familiar with the industry say pharmaceutical companies are scouting locations in both Seattle and Tacoma to grow and distribute marijuana.
Washington will have pot businesses that are "every bit as professional and legitimate" as Boeing, Microsoft and Amazon.
"I see this being able to deliver the death hit to the black market," he says. "It's going to become something that is integrated into society in a positive way and the negative aspects are going to be overwhelmed by what industry and capitalism can do with it."
By LINDA THOMAS
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