SEATTLE — In Seattle’s University District sits a blossoming business, the first in a new breed of medical marijuana dispensaries.
“We’ve actually only been here for two weeks,” said Bonnie Fong of The Joint Cooperative.
It’s part store, part medical office that includes growing, dispensing and even having a doctor on hand to give out authorization cards, all out in the open.
“We want to help and if we’re hidden we can’t help all that much,” she said.
Fong believes “The Joint” is what more dispensaries will like if the medical marijuana bill goes through. The House and the Senate have both passed versions, it’s now being looked over once again before being sent to Governor Gregoire.
“If we don’t have any regulations or standards we can’t provide the best service available,” said Fong.
As it stands, those who are authorized to receive medicinal marijuana must also give a donation. Under the new law it would be considered a sale.
“If they make us pay taxes that makes us more legitimate and we would like to bring that to this community,” she said.
The Joint Cooperative is now a licensed as a non-profit. The bill in the legislature would require patients register with the state. Earlier this week protesters voiced their concerns outside of the ACLU offices.
“There’s nothing, not one good thing for patients,” said Steve Sarich of Cannacare.
“If we don’t have any regulations or standards we can’t provide the best service available,” said Fong, who understands the fears but she believes clarity is needed.
Most cooperatives don’t operate in the open and whether police shut them down varies from community to community.
Governor Gregoire has now asked the Justice Department for guidance on how to deal with state licensed marijuana dispensaries.