By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News
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Medical marijuana patients living in south county have traveled to Port Townsend, Port Hadlock or Sequim for their medication.
“The community wants this,” said Nicole Black, who is operating the nonprofit Brinnon Herbal Collective at 91 Corey Lane with her father, Nick Black.
“This building fell into my lap last year, and I asked people what they wanted to see here, and a lot of them asked for a medical pot store,” said Nicole Black, who also serves on the Brinnon Parks and Recreation Commission.
The Brinnon Herbal Collective opened Sunday and is open from noon to 7 p.m. daily.
The building, a manufactured home, previously was the purchase point for videos, antiques, liquor and chain saws.
Black said some of the possibilities for the space was a pet store, a package depot or an auto supply store.
But the medical marijuana store idea seemed to have the most traction.
“I was asking around about what I should do, and quite a few elderly women, for some reason they were mostly women, would come up to me, tug on my sleeve and ask me to open a medical marijuana place,” Black said.
Prior to the store’s opening, the closest medical marijuana sources were in Potlatch 27 miles to the south, followed by Port Hadlock 30 miles away; Port Townsend, 37; and Sequim, 43.
“I’ve always gone to Port Townsend,” said Brinnon resident Patty Griffith, who was the store’s second customer Sunday.
“It’s really great to have them open here. It’s only about a mile from my home.”
Griffith, 62, said she acquired a medical authorization in July because of residual pain from a shoulder injury.
Black, 42, obtained an authorization to deal with pain from a gunshot wound several years ago.
Both said they tried other options to deal with the pain. Black used prescription painkillers, while Griffith tried alcohol, but they said marijuana provided the best results and the fewest negative side effects.
While medical marijuana use is authorized by a physician, it is up to the patient to determine dosage and frequency, Griffith said.
The business has two rooms: a large area that is mostly empty and a smaller one where the product is dispensed, in keeping with laws that no one without an authorization is allowed to come into contact with the goods.
Black’s inventory is small, she said. She carries about 15 varieties as well as a limited selection of edibles and lotions.
All of these strains are grown in Jefferson County, Nick Black said.
“We are keeping it local,” he said.
All product and cash are stored off site when the store is closed.
The Blacks also have applied for a retail license and hope to be selected in the upcoming lottery, which the state Liquor Control Board said would be April 21-25, with results posted to the state website at www.liq.wa.gov on May 2.
The board said the lotteries will be double-blind to ensure security, and the board itself will play no role in picking winners.
The first retail sales are expected to begin in July.
The Blacks’ store is one of eight applicants for three allocated spaces in unincorporated Jefferson County. The state allocated another one in the city of Port Townsend.
It gave Clallam County six retail stores: two in Port Angeles, one in Sequim and three anywhere else.
Due to the high number of applicants, the Liquor Control Board is not vetting applicants prior to the lottery.
If an unqualified person is selected, names will be drawn until a vendor who meets all of the qualifications is found.
Requirements include a business plan, a site that is at least 1,000 feet away from parks or schools and no criminal record.
There is no limit on the number of growers or processors that will be licensed, though statewide production has been capped.
If the Blacks’ store becomes a retail outlet, more security measures will be needed, as it won’t be so easy to move the entire inventory each night, they said.
“I don’t know what will happen with this,” Nicole Black said.
“I will listen to the community. It has guided me so far.”
For more information, phone Nicole Black at 360-301-0844.
Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or firstname.lastname@example.org.