Medical marijuana dispensaries open in Ballard

Over the past few months, Ballard has become home for two medical marijuana dispensaries: Ballard Herbal Collective and the Seattle Cannabis Co-op.

“People need to feel comfortable here,” explains Stacey K., founder and director of Ballard Herbal Collective, located in a building on NW 56th and 22nd Ave. “My dad has been a longtime patient, and I have seen the benefits of medicinal cannabis.”

Located not too far away on 77th and 15th is the Seattle Cannabis Co-op. “We have been in Ballard for two and a half months and we will probably stay for the next two years. We like this area a lot,” says Jing Mok, key director and president of SCC. “There is less of a social taboo to marijuana amongst the young people.”

Ballard Herbal Collective

In the State of Washington, medical marijuana is already legal, but it seems to be stuck in a gray area. People with authorization from a doctor are able to grow up to 15 plants and hold at least 24 ounces of dry marijuana at a time; or they can dedicate a person to grow and provide for them.  However, under the existing Washington State Medical Marijuana laws, co-ops are not exactly legal, but nothing in the current laws say they cannot be there.

Due to the way the current laws are written, there is not much that the Seattle Police Department can do to shut the dispensaries down. “For us, we know that medical marijuana exists in the city. We are looking at one right now, and ultimately, the reason we are doing it is because of community concern, it’s not a proactive concern,” Sergeant Sean Whitcomb said when I called to ask. “The bottom line for us is that marijuana is a very low priority. Since medical marijuana is legal, dispensaries are not something that we dedicate resources to, that is until they come to our attention in a negative way; via individual, community, or business complaint.”

All of the marijuana dispensaries in Washington must operate as non-profits. When a patient has more than their allotted 24 ounces for 60 days, they will make a donation to one of these centers. The donated marijuana is then sold to people who carry an authorization card, to cover business costs; in Stacey’s case it’s just enough to cover the rent. “We all volunteer,” Stacey tells me. “We are here to help others, not bring in a lot of money.” Despite his intentions, Stacey’s landlord has still not decided whether or not he will allow Ballard Herbal Collective to stay in their current location.

Other tenants in the building do not seem to mind what Stacey does. “We have no concerns,” one tenant says in his office below the dispensary. “As a tenant we would have loved to have been notified before he moved in, but so far no problems.”

Seattle Cannabis Co-op

But one neighbor of Seattle Cannabis Co-op is far from happy. “I smell it every day, it gives me headaches,” says Ann, the owner of Ann’s Hair Salon and Nails. “My customers complain about the smell, and my landlord won’t do anything about it.”

Due to the smell, Ann says a few of her customers have decided to not to come back, which in these economic times have made things extremely difficult. She says she’s also having problem with parking. “I pay for two parking spots, and their customers park in them, even with my signs.”

A firm believer in alternative medicine, Stacey moved to the Ballard area for many of the same reasons as Jing — because of its location. It’s just close enough to downtown, safe, and easy to access from anywhere; especially for those in wheelchairs. “The first location we looked at had stairs and I realized that the group of people I am trying to help can not always do that.” Stacey says. “This is one of the few locations that is wheelchair accessible.”

Both SCC and Ballard Herbal Collective say they’d like to stay in the area. Stacey wants to remain small and focused on serving the Ballard community. He thinks that there are a lot of people in Ballard that could be well served by knowing more about, and even the use of medicinal marijuana.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles has introduced legislation that would establish a regulatory system for the sale and purchase of medical marijuana. “There is much ambiguity around our state’s current medical marijuana laws that is resulting in inconsistent enforcement throughout the state,” she said.

74 thoughts to “Medical marijuana dispensaries open in Ballard”

  1. Thank you for being here, Ballard Herbal Collective and the Seattle Cannabis Co-op. I took care of a dying woman in Ballard, who lost her appetite due to pain and nausea associated with cancer and its treatment. She should have had simple, easy access to medical marijuana when she needed it. Sadly, the laws were complicated, and even her medical team was reticent to consider the use of marijuana to help ease her discomfort. Instead, she was prescribed drugs that had limited positive effects and caused more side effects. Going through that was excruciating.

    Anyone who has qualms about whether marijuana should be made available as a medicine ought to spill the dozens of bottles of drugs a cancer patient has to confront every day and tell me marijuana is worse.

    And HeatherHeather, it sounds like your tax is a punitive tax – why? Or am I reading too much moral judgement into your comment? Medical expenses are high enough – believe me!

  2. I’ve never seen a MMJ dispensary before, but I don’t expect it’s like a methadone clinic where junkies stream in and out or a Netherlands coffee shop where people go for recreation. This is essentially a pharmacy.

  3. I’ve never seen a MMJ dispensary before, but I don’t expect it’s like a methadone clinic where junkies stream in and out or a Netherlands coffee shop where people go for recreation. This is essentially a pharmacy.

  4. Good for them. I hope they can help the people that need it. But please do try to keep the smell down (aren’t there containers that could help with that?) I only say that because I am allergic to it and it makes me vomit…I am most definitely NOT the customer of that salon.

    Also, yes if it is broadly legalized (for any use not medical only), tax the living hell out of it. It is NOT a medicine, it is just used that way for SOME people. The majority use/abuse it like alcohol, and so it should be taxed. It is already legal for medical use and isn’t taxed…but I do hope the law is solidified so “the average joe” can actually KNOW what their rights are and aren’t.

    @soundcitizen – Yep seeing all the crap my father was taking to ease the pain of chemo and before he died of colon cancer was disgusting. I seriously doubt he would have used weed to help him though. Not sure if that is a good or bad thing…

  5. How many people are sick and or dying from alcohol right now? How many are hooked on the anti-depression meds? What’s the exit strategy to get off those? To attempt to equate pot with much else is a waste of time. Nobody died last year from pot. You don’t “Jones” as one does from most other substances. This is 2011. We aren’t all still watching/believing Reefer Madness, are we? Imagine if aspirin hadn’t been discovered yet? Would that EVER be legalized? Calm down Heather. They’ll (democrats) will tax anything/everything that moves or doesn’t. Your feelings are still in tact sweetie!

  6. I get my hair cut in the same building as Seattle Cannabis Co-op and it is a joke. Apparently most of the “sick” people are males under 25. The entire building now reeks of dope.

    I’m sure some people need this but if you spend one hour near this place you’ll see it is just stoners picking up their stash. That’s fine but let’s not call it “medical”.

  7. Please. The smell gives you headaches? The chemicals you use to bleach, dye and perm all that hair is doing a lot worse for you and your customers than the smell of some pot. In fact, some are likely giving you or someone cancer, turning them into someone who may need medical marijuana one day.

  8. Are you the same person that makes a comment about the afro guy even when there is almost no logical connection? Maybe you and the afro guy should go on Dr. Phil and sort things out.

  9. If we’re gonna legalize it for recreation, it would be an ideal candidate to support the irrational and irresponsible spending of this community’s unaccountable legislature. However, that burden should not be assigned to the ill.

  10. Mr. President is the poster child for what happens when you smoke too much weed. A little is fine, but pot heads are a waste of space.

  11. When a patient has more than their allotted 24 ounces for 60 days. 24 ounces!? Somebody needs to be really, really sick to need even an ounce let alone 24 ounces.

  12. awesome. now there is a tittie bar, cash for blood, booze shop, and porn store all with in a couple hundred feet of each other. Thanks for continuing to shit and piss on crown hill/north ballard seattle city council. thanks a lot.

  13. You don’t know for sure so please don’t judge. If medical marijuana helps one single person through the horrible pain and cost of a debilitating illness then we are morally obligated to support it. Thankfully medical marijuana helps many, many people through these times.

  14. Everyone of those places have been there for at least a decade if not three or four decades. The porn shop is maybe the most recent place besides the medical marijunana “shop”. Unless you are in your late sixties I doubt there is a time in your life that you can remember 15th ave being anything other than a shaddy creep street. Don’t act so surprised. Are you also suddenly mad that there is a donut shop that has a 24 hours a day sign but is only open for about six hours a day, every other day? I would think that super creepy christian dentist would cancel out one of two of those for you.

  15. The donut shop may not be open 24 hours, but apparently the scumbags have decided that the donut shop’s cash register is open 24/7 for their convenience.

  16. Depends on how you consume it. Cancer patients need highly concentrated oil made from the buds and 24 ounces would not be enough for even 1 month, much less 2.

  17. oh hello damianfeelsgood. its kind of sad that you are content with the filth of 15th. perhaps its like home to you? lets get together and clean that up. I will bring over a few dumpsters and we can tackle your living room first. I bet you have not seen your floor for a few years.

  18. If you are not careful, MJ will take over your community and ruin it like so many areas in California. Is that what you want Washington to become? You can’t legalize it and tax it. It is criminal on the federal level. It has become a criminal way of life in Northern California. 23 year olds with no work experience who make 20k a month on dope. They don’t contribute one dime to charity or pay taxes. Some of the indoor grows have subsidized electricity because the “growers” don’t have reportable income. They then come into the electric company and pay thousands of dollars for their so called “legal” grow electricity each month. Talk about a carbon footprint.

    People with recommendations for pot who have made up illnesses and who have simply bought the recommendation for 500 bucks from a “doctor” who does nothing but write 500 dollar recommendations for pot all day. The growers in California know how to get up to 4 pounds of pot off of one plant. Some DA’s in NorCal allow up to 99 plants and they will simply look the other way. What happens next is the good people leave and the criminals take over.

    No thanks.

  19. For the record, I don’t smoke, eat, vaporize, etc…

    I am pleased to see that Ballard is establishing itself as a forward thinking neighborhood and welcome these new businesses.

  20. I also think that after 13 years of medical cannabis legalization;the people of washington are exercising the right to a medicine that has been studied more than any other and the worst side effects are hunger and sleepiness My wish for ballard is they do it right when it comes to making it AFFORDABLE / SAFE and SECURE environment ;then maybe the hair dresser lady will see that this is a law of compassion and even gain more clients by being open to her new business neighbors .How many jobs do dispensary’s create directly or indirectly ? Does any one know?

  21. (Re posting since it seems comments with intact links are put in moderator approval limbo)

    While I detest the stereotypical “pot head” and don’t smoke myself, I can see the value of marijuana as a valid form of medical treatment. As such, there would need to be a reputable place for people with terminal/chronic medical issues to purchase it from, even if it’s in my neighborhood.

    However, in looking at their website (seattlecannabisco-op dot com / Medicine_573E dot html -take out the spaces, change the dots) I have a hard time seeing this as a reputable “pharmacy.” Medical distributors don’t have websites that look like they were designed by and for stoners with psychedelic pinwheels. I have a hard time taking seriously any “medicine” called things like “AK-47, Black Widow, and Trainwreck” and dispensed by people with names like “ChRon Don” and “Mama Stacy.”

    I highly suggest doing a Google search for “Seattle Cannabis Co-op” and reading some of the message boards. I do not get the impression that many of people posting are suffering from anything more than a chronic case of the munchies.

  22. Re: AK-47, Black Widow, etc.

    While the names are often silly, distinguishing the strains of marijuana is important. The effectiveness of a single strain diminishes with repeated use. Also, there are differences between each strain, and some people have aversions to the qualities of particular varieties.

    The culture around the smoking of pot is a cult culture. The image of the cult helps smokers identify where they are safe, but peace symbols, tie-dye, and Bob Marley posters are also goofy and tacky. It all works against the promotion of the practical and beneficial purposes of marijuana. Until pot is freed from it’s illegal status, it likewise will not be freed from the cult culture and that hippy-stoner stereotype that accompanies it.

  23. Nail salon owner & barber customers:

    “The smell of pot from across the building is interfering with the chemicals we use & breathe every day here, so when I get a headache, I blame pot”

  24. Please, 98% of the medical cases are twenty-somethings who paid a doc $300 to prescribe pot for their ‘back problem’. If you want pot selling near your home, at least be honest.

  25. Most of the medical cases are twenty-somethings who paid a doc $300 to prescribe pot for their ‘back problem’. If you want pot selling near your home, at least be honest.

  26. It is really important that we as a community separate the issue of whether medical marijuana should be legal ( which I believe there is wipe support for) from what is the best way to provide access to it safely and reliably. Allowing private unregulated un-licensed businesses to dispense medicine in residential neighborhoods makes no sense, and is a public safety issue since they are proven larceny targets. Pharmacies are we we fine trained professional dispensing medicine in secure facilities.

  27. Maybe you could name some of these towns, describe the ruin. And then explain how you think Seattle will be similarly affected.

  28. Guess how soon the volunteers will want pay for their job and will start selling pot secretly? Everyone better watch out for strange teens hanging around those locations.

  29. Three things/comments:
    1) I agree there are benefits to the drug. But there is NO PROOF that smoking it is the best delievery system to administer it.
    2) If it’s going to be legal. Why can’t cops, firemen, doctors, school bus drivers and teachers use it? Is it really ‘harmless’; then let your kids’ school bus driver use it every am, cool right?
    3) People Drive there and use and then drive away. I hope society is ready for more arrests for DUI-drugs and accepts more deaths on our HIGHways. Move over alcohol, you have another killer in the hood!

  30. Punitive tax will only be felt by the ‘people’ who claim that because they were born; they are ‘terminal’ and need to have the drug. Anyone capable to drive to the dispensary need not be prescribed the drug or recieve it in such a co-op. The state SHOULD be allowed to regulate it. A tax will allow for the resources to make sure it does not get into the hands of those who abuse the substance.

  31. So the TAX should not be used to profit the state, but instead regulate it and have the processes in place to track those who buy more than their 60 day supply. Then the funds to prosecute those places who abuse or allow access to those not authorized. Look at gas tax; we have to pay for transportation needs…..dopers/script peeps can pay for their system.

  32. To all of you not in favor of medical marijuana, it has been used as medican for many years if not decades. How do you think the Indians healed a lot of their own. They passed the medical use to our for fathers and that is when all the bad things started. Try to focuse on the good it does for people not the bad that some people use it for.
    As for the smell of it giving headach’s over the chemicales of the salon,I don’t think so.

  33. wonder if the hair salon gets that having a co=op next door brings her TONS of potentail new customers. instead of bitching she should contact Seattle Cannabis Co-op and ask if she can offer their customers a 10% discount or some such thing to driver her traffic up!

  34. 1. What makes the delivery method important to you? What difference does this make to you?

    2. If it becomes legal, I’m positive that some cops, firemen, doctors, etc. will use it…. on their own time. People on the job are expected to be sober. That is the case now, and it will always be so.

    3. I don’t think the purpose of a dispensary is to provide a space for people to get high. Again, I’ve never been to one, but your assertion doesn’t sound right. After all, people with a prescription for drugs available at a Walgreen or Bartells don’t go to the drugstore to take their medicine.

    As for driving under the influence in general, there are people who will make this mistake. Whether a substance is legal or illegal, it doesn’t change this unfortunate reality.

  35. 1) Smoking is not the best method but it is one of the most efficient and fastest acting.

    2) Cops, firemen, doctors, school bus drivers and teachers drink alcohol, but likely not every am. Why wold you have expectations that they would not consume cannabis responsibly as well?

    3).There is no onsite use at these locations.

    BTW, there is personal use going on now. Where are all the cannabis wrecks? ALCOHOL! How about a safer alternative reducing wrecks?

  36. Please post links to the evidence you cite. News stories, videos, police reports. You know, PROOF?
    4 lbs off one plant? Please cite your source!

  37. Thank you Doctor! You remind me of the LEO’s who testified at 1550 who said, “I’m no doctor, but 75% of those people aren’t sick!”
    Good thing we don’t have doctors doing law enforcement!

  38. I hope so, a legitimately run business should take away his cannabis crutch and let whatever poison he is pushing stand on it’s own.
    No Sale!

  39. I agree with you about the scent. my daughter has the same reaction so I don’t consume around her. It’s called consideration.

    Using the air filtration equipment that growers use to eliminate scent would work equally well in these situations.

    They may want to install some at the salon as well.

    Used as medicine, no tax as with other medicine.

    Social use? Tax it appropriately. Too high a tax will maintain the black market. save our Children! Regulate! You don’t see booze in school because DRUG DEALERS DON”T ID but the liquor stores do!

    In Novemeber after the voting is done, the law will be made very clear!

  40. It’s not about Cheech and Chong anymore! Responsible adult use you never hear about. People drink every day at home and in bars responsibly. Most get home safely without interaction with anyone. The drunks that are not responsible crash, kill people or hopefully are stopped and arrested first.

  41. Your a idiot. We shouldnt have to pay the government anything when we can provide it for ourselves. We already pay taxes on all the supplies in order to produce it but thats not enough? Legalization puts control into the hands of greedy poloticians who justify their positions in life through taxes the hard working person. idiots for legalizations.

  42. Hi All, I just want to ask if someone ever tried using medical cannabis as an alternative medicine? I’ve been reading some article about medical marijuana and how it can help you in terms of pain management, anxiety disorders and panic attacks, inflammation, even cancer and a lot more. Like this review on a certain strain, it has a very high pain suppressing effect. Cbd and thc are also new to me and I don’t even smoke. Alternatively, they’ve also find new ways to infuse cannabis on food and beverages. If this is true I cant find any solid conclusive evidence that speaks to its efficacy. Any personal experience or testimonial would be highly appreciated. Thanks

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