|Photo: Lui Kit Wong/Tacoma News-Tribune|
|A medical marijuana patient exchanges a plant for a donation at what was billed as Washington's first cannabis farmer's market at the Conquering Lion in Tacoma on Sunday|
A smiling guy in a skull and crossbones sweatshirt guarded the door Sunday to a rented room where the sweet smell of marijuana was heavy in the air, with the pulsing rhythms of reggae providing a soundtrack, reports Stacia Glenn of the Tacoma News-Tribune.
Only authorized medical marijuana patients were allowed inside the event, billed as Washington state's first cannabis farmer's market.
"These are farmers growing agricultural medicine, so it seemed like a no-brainer," said Jeremy Miller, organizer and owner of Sacred Plant Medicine in Tacoma. "It's a place where people can network with other patients in similar situations."
|Photo: Lui Kit Wong/Tacoma News-Tribune|
|Security man Bob Baxter, right, checks out a medical marijuana authorization form before allowing a patient entry into the medical marijuana farmer's market in Tacoma, Sunday, September 19, 2010.|
Only six cannabis vendors were brought in for the inaugural farmer's market, since Miller was unsure how many people would attend the event on South Tacoma Way. With its success, Miller said he may make it a monthly event.
The farmer's market was held at the Conquering Lion, a soon-to-open gathering place and music venue.
Two banners for Sacred Heart Medicine were draped on the wall, which -- like the floor -- was painted black. A table with brochures and stacks of West Coast Cannabis magazine welcomed visitors.
The marijuana vendors in attendance had different preferences as to what, exactly, they should be called. Farmers, caregivers, and providers were most prominent. Half declined to give their names, but happily explained how their products could help people with various aches and pains.
A steady stream of patients came through the event, spending time at each booth before deciding which cannabis products to purchase. Some stayed for hours, socializing with friends or sharing a joint.
|Graphic: Sacred Plant Medicine|
"Something like this lets people come get what they need in a safe environment," said Justin Kravis, whose Kravi Crops booth attracted many.
Kravis had about six ounces of various marijuana strains marked in clear jars, including White Widow, Pandora's Box and Moonwreck. Two hours after the market opened, he had only two $20 clones left (clones are plant cuttings/starts which preserve the same genetic strain of marijuana).
Besides dried marijuana, cannabis edibles were also available, including Rice Krispie treats and chocolate chip cookies.
It's still illegal to sell marijuana -- even medical marijuana -- in Washington, and state-authorized caregivers are allowed to provide for "only one patient at any one time," according to the language of the law. That's why the farmers donated their products to the patients, and the patients in turn donated money to the farmers.
"For those few minutes, (the farmer is) that one person's caregiver," explained one man who declined to give his name.
Kathy Parkins set up her "Canneceuticals" booth and busily educated patients about the effects of eating, rather than smoking, marijuana.
|Photo: Jeremy Miller|
|Jeremy Miller, Sacred Plant Medicine: "These are farmers growing agricultural medicine, so it seemed like a no-brainer"|
Parkins, 54, offered snickerdoodles, chocolate fudge, triple chocolate chocolate cake, and even a fish and oyster stew mix for $5. Her hashish lollipops were lollipopular, selling out quickly, but there were plenty of spiced teabags and canisters of topical marijuana lotion.
"This is a central location for all people who have cannabis products but don't have a storefront," Parkins said.
Parkins, who said she had been cooking for medical marijuana patients for nine years, is working on a marijuana cookbook and even gives talks at cancer treatment centers.
The News-Tribune remarked up on the "mellow vibe" inside the market, but noted that at least one vendor admitted he had been nervous bringing his products.
"I was kind of paranoid coming down here," said Greg. "You've gotta worry. It's still marijuana."
Patient Ric Smith of Seattle said he began using medical marijuana after first being diagnosed with HIV. In addition, he uses pot to treat leukemia, kidney failure and help with a recent stroke.
Cannabis "helped me to eat," Smith said. "With all the operations and procedures and side effects, I had no appetite. Munchies saved my life."
The next cannabis farmer's market, which is free and opened to all legal medical marijuana patients, is scheduled for Sunday, October 24, at 11 a.m., at the Conquering Lion, Tacoma, Washington. Vending spaces are still available; email email@example.com for an application.
According to organizer Miller, marijuana farmer's markets are coming to Seattle and Olympia soon.