Delridge dispensary discussion: Why marijuana’s on the agenda

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

If you’ve seen the agenda for next week’s Delridge Neighborhoods District Council meeting, you might have noticed this item:

Discussion on Medical Marijuana Dispensary @ 5214 Delridge Way

There isn’t one there now, but word circulated in the neighborhood this past week that one was planned for that address, which has been undergoing renovations for months. It’s the same spot that evokes unpleasant memories for longtime community members, since it was long home to Delridge Vacuum and TV, whose license was revoked by the city two years ago after ongoing controversy about everything from the nature of the business to its street-front appearance, plus a criminal investigation.

After hearing about the reported dispensary plan, we tried to confirm it. We attempted to contact the property’s owner, including a visit to the site, but were told he was unreachable till next week; a broker representing at least one space at the address told WSB the space she represented hadn’t been rented yet. A check of the DPD records for the address only mentions a salon, office and live-work unit.

Then we checked today with Southwest Precinct leadership, who say they have word the plan may have changed.

From Capt. Steve Paulsen:

The owner of the property has been in contact with the Seattle Police Southwest Precinct as well as other entities in order to inquire/educate himself on the pro’s and con’s of having a marijuana dispensary at his property. As of today, the owner/landlord is leaning away from entertaining this type of business at this particular time, given the history of the property as well as concern for the continued positive developments the neighborhood has been making in the past year.

Seattle Police Southwest Precinct is maintaining a position of neutrality and will support any business that is legally licensed and responsibly operated in the community. We understand this issue brings about varied emotion amongst our citizens. We will continue to work closely with the community in furthering positive developments to increase the viability to our neighborhoods.

Before this latest development, we had talked with North Delridge Neighborhood Council chair Karrie Kohlhaas, who was intent on keeping an open mind pending the coming week’s discussion, though she confirmed it’s definitely a hot topic:

As neighbors communicate via the Delridge e-mail list, questions are emerging:
(Would) a marijuana dispensary attract or detract new business to Delridge?
(Would) it impact safety and our reduced police force?
(Would) the property owner and business owner respond to the community if concerns arise?
How would a marijuana dispensary affect the perception of our neighborhood? …

The neighborhood and district councils in Delridge have not yet met to discuss this topic. We have an involved and progressive community and I am sure it will be a lively discussion when we do. Delridge has come a long way and I credit much of that to the respectful dialogue that exists here. Though opinions may vary on this topic, I trust that honor and respect will continue.

There are at least two medical-marijuana dispensaries in West Seattle already – Pharmaseed at 2611 58th SW on Alki, and Green Piece at 5437 California SW. The dispensary business is in a gray area; while the state’s voters approved medical marijuana with I-692 in 1998, marijuana remains illegal by federal law. The Seattle Times (WSB partner) thoroughly explained the laws and the state of the state’s burgeoning dispensary industry in this January report. Medical-marijuana legislation that would create licensing for dispensaries (among other things) has been passed by the State Senate already this year (with local Sen. Sharon Nelson voting yes), and has a hearing at 1:30 pm Monday in the State House Health Care and Wellness Committee, chaired by West Seattle’s State Rep. Eileen Cody.

Meantime, whatever is in the future for 5214 Delridge, it remains on the Delridge District Council agenda for Wednesday night. Meeting starts at 7 pm at Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, and as always, all are welcome (other agenda items include the “green stormwater” project planned for a section of Sunrise Heights and Westwood, to reduce overflows at the Barton Pump Station the area feeds, with neighborhood testing now under way).

18 Replies to "Delridge dispensary discussion: Why marijuana's on the agenda"

  • Genesee Hill March 12, 2011 (6:16 pm)

    Get back to me when they open an Opium Den.

  • Pablo Loco March 12, 2011 (7:20 pm)

    just build more bars so we have more drunks

  • tincanrocket March 12, 2011 (8:19 pm)

    The should legalize it or keep it illegal. This grey area bit is ridiculous IMO. Besides that, it really complicates things for honest citizens as well as law enforcement.

  • heathsnow March 12, 2011 (8:42 pm)

    How many doctors even prescribe marijuana to patients? Or does one just apply for a license to buy? I wonder how these businesses stay open unless there’s a lot of doctors prescribing it.

    Doctors have incentive to prescribe other drugs as they are visited by reps and given free samples. Are they also given free samples of pot?

  • toddinwestwood March 12, 2011 (9:02 pm)

    Hey Pablo Loco, there will always be the same amount of drunks. They just have to drive farther now to find it. Build more bars, they can just walk there.

    I have never heard of a person saying “hey they just opened a bar down the street, I think I’ll start drinking” your point is silly.

  • coffee March 12, 2011 (9:27 pm)

    Make pot legal and start realing in the taxes.

  • JanS March 12, 2011 (9:45 pm)

    heathsnow….more docs prescribe it than you think. When they do it has to be on special paper that the state approves of, and you have to have it with you every time you go to purchase. It also has to be prescribed for only certain things, Crohn’s Disease being one of them. Also, it’s prescribed for cancer patients, to offset the harsh side effects of chemo, like pain or nausea. There are different types of medical marijuana..some that fight nausea, help appetite, etc., and then there are one’s that help you to sleep. People who have to take long term prednisone, for instance, can have terrible insomnia, and it helps counter that. There are also combinations of the two at different strengths. It’s not just whatever one of your friends might grow at home. It’s cultivated for different medicinal properties. Honest!

    Someone off the street can’t just walk into these places and buy.

  • JanS March 12, 2011 (9:53 pm)

    and you’d be surprised who all uses it, by the way…regular people, not just potheads…even little ol’ gray haired ladies – lol….

  • ellenater March 12, 2011 (10:47 pm)

    I remember in Eugene the feds. raided a “dispensary”. This may have been before the ‘we will look the other way’ protocol. It really is a grey area. I know they do routine raids in Humboldt county which supplies all of the West Coast dispensaries. It’s really touch and go at this point. Having lived in many towns where smoking pot is a huge part of the culture of the place, I am not particularly offended by it. It’s the resulting bad driving that is most annoying! I do not, however, think pot is as harmless as people like to think it is but there might be a huge difference between somewhat regulated medicinal, and street. A fairly recent study overwhelming linked pot to psychotic breaks. This is really interesting. I had no idea we had dispensaries in West Seattle…

  • Karrie Kohlhaas March 12, 2011 (10:56 pm)

    Thank you to Tracy at the West Seattle Blog for the respectful and thorough way you have treated this topic.

    And to the owner at 5412 Delridge Way, please contact me if you would like to attend a North Delridge Neighborhood Council meeting! We’d love to learn more about your plans and for you to learn about us as well!

  • alki_2008 March 12, 2011 (11:48 pm)

    There already IS a dispensary in West Seattle, it’s just not known about by the general public.

    • WSB March 12, 2011 (11:53 pm)

      There are at least two, actually, both mentioned in this story by name and location, with informational links (including Pharmaseed’s own website). We also mention the state legislation seeking licensing and regulation; currently, for example, while both Pharmaseed and Green Piece have business licenses, there is no category into which medical-marijuana dispensaries seem to be automatically placed, so the online business-license database shows Green Piece as an “eating place” (many dispensaries sell marijuana-laced foods for those who don’t wish to smoke their medicine) and Pharmaseed not placed under any particular business “code.” – TR

  • JoB March 13, 2011 (1:48 pm)


    if we are going to talk medications…
    many of them aren’t as “safe” as they originally seemed…
    and that includes the OTCs like aspirin.

    there are two different conversations here.
    One involves the social use of marijauna
    the other involves the medical use of marijauna..

    One is legal in this state.
    The other isn’t.

  • Karrie Kohlhaas March 13, 2011 (10:18 pm)

    Correction: I meant to say 5214 Delridge Way–NOT 5412.

  • Miranda March 14, 2011 (9:12 am)

    I’m not taking a stance on MM, but on drugs in general: they just don’t work that well to cure the disease. I find it really sad that people with these serious diseases that are curable with Chinese Medicine continue to suffer. I know the medicine is hardly recognized in this country, but please spread the word if you have friends with cancer, glaucoma, Crohn’s, insomnia, that a good East Asian Medicine Practitioner can help you get healthy. You can get surgery or continue drugs, but you’ll need less and less over time as you heal. for our state association.

  • Craig March 14, 2011 (8:21 pm)

    Since Alki beach is a public park (i.e. Drug Free Zone), how it is possible to have an establishment that dispenses marijuana across the street?

  • sks March 15, 2011 (2:55 pm)


    Medical marijuana is prescribed to alleviate symptoms, NOT cure diseases. Traditional Chinese medicine is also an excellent choice when looking for alleviating symptoms of terrible diseases and disorders. It does not however, provide cures.

  • Phil M. March 17, 2011 (10:05 am)

    Hi, West Seattleites. I’m an occasional visitor to your neighborhood (Beveridge Place is one of my favorite pubs, and there’s a nice little nursery tucked in somewhere over there). I’m also on the boards of directors of the Capitol Hill Chamber of Commerce, and of the Cannabis Defense Coalition. The latter led me to a blog post that landed me here, and I suspect it won’t be long before the latter is discussing medical cannabis dispensaries.

    Cannabis Defense Coalition are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit activist collective focused on cannabis policy in Washington State. Those of you with questions about our state’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act (RCW 69.51A) would likely find answers in our Washington State Medical Cannabis Primer, which contains the text of the law, along with guides from ACLU and from Americans for Safe Access.

    While SKS is generally correct that cannabis is used to treat symptoms, keep an eye on emergent research, which suggests that it may have curative as well as palliative effects on cancer.

    Tonight (Thursday, March 17, 2011, 7-9pm) at the Cannabis Resource Center (1714 1st Ave. S., one block south of the Mariners’ stadium, next door to Showbox Sodo), we’re hosting a presentation by Sunil Aggarwal, M.D., Ph.D., on his his doctoral research on medical cannabis and patient access in Washington State. It’s free and open to the public. Dr. Aggarwal is an extremely edifying and enlightening speaker. We’d love to see you there.

    * What: Dr. Sunil Aggarwal at Cannabis College
    * When: Thursday, March 17, 2011 at 7 p.m.
    * Where: Cannabis Resource Center, 1714 1st Ave S Seattle in Sodo
    * Map:
    * Details: free and open to the public

    For more on what we do, please see our projects page. Information about Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles’ medical cannabis bill, to which Ellenater referred above, is available on our 2011 legislation page. We publish a roughly-biweekly e-mail newsletter, cdc-alerts, with information about projects we’re working, court cases we’re tracking, pending legislation, and upcoming events. You’re welcome to subscribe or browse the list archives. You can e-mail us at

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