Bud Tales: How to Buy Green in the Evergreen State

By M.J. Scrivener

Whether you’re a college student heading back to campus for the start of the term or you’re visiting Washington for the first time and heard of the new marijuana law, you’re probably wondering where you can get some.

Washington is now dotted with hundreds of retail stores and anyone 21 and over can enter and purchase. Who knew we would see a time when you could chat with a clerk about today’s specials and walk out with your favorite bud? It’s a far cry from my college days in the late 1980s in New York when the dude wearing a tie-dye carrying a backpack with Steal Your Face stickers showed up to my dorm room with a dime bag.

But if you think people are smoking doobies on the streets or that it’s OK to consume at a café, you’re on the wrong side of the Atlantic (try Amsterdam). As of July 2014, Washington state is indeed 420 friendly for recreational use of pot. But, it’s a business folks, which means rules and responsible use. Wah wahh…

A few weeks ago, I hopped on the website www.KushTourism.com to do a quick search for Washington dispensaries. Scanning the list, I giggled. How many bong hits helped brainstorm these names? Smokane (17 N Ralph St., Spokane), High Society (1824 Broadway, Everett), Cannablyss (2705 Hartford Dr., Lake Stevens), and Fresh Greens (Lot 29 Horizon Flats Rd., Winthrop) were just some of the ones that stood out. Another good resource is Leafly.com, which has store ratings and rankings.

I have not yet traveled the entire state, but by and large, based on my experience and scores of online reviews, I’ve found that the recreational retail stores have knowledgeable, friendly clerks who will gladly talk to you in plain English. No hush tones, or whispering. You can say, “weed”, “pot” and “smoke.” It’s a legal business, and it’s cool to discuss head or body highs.

Take my recent visit to 2020 Solutions at 2018 Iron Street in Bellingham. Not much bigger than my friend’s apartment, the store has a greeter welcoming each guest and checking IDs since you need to be at least 21 to enter. A few large screen monitors with updated prices and products adorn the walls.

I’m escorted to the U-shaped display case where I meet my budtender Josh, a smiling, tattoo-clad weed connoisseur. He spends close to an hour walking me through flowers, vape, concentrates and edibles. So I pose the age-old question: what’s the difference between indica and sativa? He tells me, in a very general sense, the indica cannabis strain will give you a “couch-potato-y” sensation while smoking a sativa produces a “heady” and uplifted high. He includes an important footnote: everyone reacts differently.

As the other clerks tend to customers, Josh tells me the place gets busy, especially on weekends. I comment on the attractive overhead lighting, which leads to my next question: why the frosted windows? Apparently, marijuana products must not be visible by the public from the street.

I learn that 2020 Solutions has a second location at 5655 Guide Meridian, on the outskirts of town. In fact, the larger space boasts big comfy couches, but don’t let the cozy factor fool you into thinking you can plunk down and spark up (advocates are working on changing the law). Customers cannot consume weed in a store or on the premises, so don’t open your packages or munch on your cookies.

If you’re wondering where you can enjoy your product, remember it’s a private affair: not on the street or sidewalk or in parks, says Josh, who’s wearing a black t-shirt with the company logo that says in green letters: “Responsible. Knowledgeable. Discreet.” In other words, if you live across the street from a school or park, don’t toke up on your front porch even though you’re on your private property.

If you’re from another land, remember to enjoy your bud right here in the Evergreen state before heading back to wherever you came. The feds still consider weed illegal, so crossing states lines will get you in trouble, as will heading across the border.

M.J. Scrivener is a writer in Washington. For the next installment of Bud Tales, M.J. explores edibles.

Some resources:

Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board
http://www.liq.wa.gov/

Weekly Marijuana Report
http://lcb.wa.gov/marijuana/dashboard

FAQs on I-502
http://www.liq.wa.gov/mj2015/faqs_i-502

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