Wallingford's Cannabis Farmers Market
It looks like the state Legislature won't be making any more laws regarding medical marijuana. Some changes were signed into law by the governor earlier in the session. But now, cities are left to decide how to handle patient access. One solution? A farmers market.
Miles Alexander: "Come on, this is a nice environment, people are happy, and that's what I think is most important is that people be safe. And get medical marijuana out of the hands of criminals, gangsters, organized crime."
This Seattle market doesn't sell fruits and veggies. It sells medical marijuana. Seattle is one of the only cities in the country where these markets exist. KUOW's Meghan Walker visited one recently to find out how they work.
About once a month a yoga studio in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood is converted into a cannabis farmers market. About 40 vendors are setting out jars of medical marijuana, pot–infused cookies and cannabis tinctures.
Miles Alexander is getting her table ready for the day. She's selling Kung Foo Goo. They're marijuana buds. It's a strain she and her partner Annie have perfected over the years.
Alexander: "It's a Kung Foo Goo, yes it is."
Reporter: "Can you describe it for me?"
Alexander: "Okay, you know what, I'm going to let Annie describe the Kung Foo Goo."
Annie: "Oh, you mean like, it's 50 sative, 50 indica. It's more on the sweeter side. We believe a lot of that is because it's soil–grown."
The cannabis farmers market started late last year. It alternates between Seattle and Tacoma. Patients are only let in with their doctor's authorization.
It's crowded today. Hundreds of patients usually come by. Miles Alexander says it's important to have a safe place for people to get their medicine.
Alexander: "In my experience, every market I've done, the people are extremely happy, relieved and excited that they don't have to try to seek out in undesirable places or people to get their medicine, and that's what this is all about."
The prices for Alexander's products are all clearly stated. It's about $10 for a small baggie of pot. A cookie is $3. That helps offset the price vendors pay to get in — about $200 per table.
Kathy Parkins set up her table a few feet away. She specializes in edibles, like lollipops, hard candy and brownies.
Parkins: "It's a great networking tool, for all of us to get together and it's actually a lot of patients need a reason to get out the house, and this for them is a reason to get out of the house. They can come and see what's new on the market, they can talk to other vendors. I get my regulars that come every week. Sometimes they just want to come and say hi, that's all they want to do, they're just out, seeing what's here, not necessarily picking up any medicine, just checking out what's going on and keeping in touch with what's happening."
The state's medical marijuana law has been heavily debated in Olympia this year. A central issue was how authorized patients could get their medicine. But, the issue of whether marijuana dispensaries would be legal was left unresolved. That's disappointing to Phil Dawdy. He's with the Washington Cannabis Association.
Reporter: "And so what do you think about the market, in this setting?"
Dawdy: "It's addressing a real need, which is patients outside of the protective bubble of King County, have a place to come to, they don't have anywhere to go, for the most part, in Snohomish county or other rural parts of the state because of the confusion around our medical marijuana law in this state. This gives them a safe place they can come to."
Governor Chris Gregoire partially vetoed the bill that addressed dispensaries. And now, medical marijuana access is more restricted than before. The new law, taking effect in July, allows each dispensary to serve just two patients a month. It permits collective gardens. So, 10 patients can grow up to 45 plants. But, they can't sell it.
The organizers of this marijuana farmers market hope they can continue to operate under the new laws. Meanwhile, Seattle officials are working to craft their own rules on marijuana dispensaries and farmers markets.
For KUOW News, I'm Meghan Walker.
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