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This collective, in Olympia, Washington, is a real innovator among medical marijuana access points [Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]
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This collective, in Olympia, Washington, is a real innovator among medical marijuana access points
[Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]

A medical marijuana access point in Olympia, Washington, has taken convenience to the next level, offering a drive-through window for patients.

Having visited about 140 collectives now in my capacity as “Toke Signals” marijuana/dispensaries reviewer for the Seattle Weekly, the drive-through window at Sonshine Organics is a feature I’ve hadn’t seen before this collective opened it during the summer of 2012. To my knowledge, this was the first medical marijuana drive-through in the Pacific Northwest.

According to Sonshine’s Sarena Haskins, the drive-through window is open for the convenience of patients, including those with limited mobility. “For example, the drive-thru window is perfect for busy mothers who don’t want to leave their kids in the car,” she told me. The window is open the same hours as Sonshine Organics itself: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday; and 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday (closed Sunday).

Washington Farmer's Market's Sarena Haskins with Toke Signals editor Steve Elliott in Hoodsport, Washington
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Washington Farmer’s Market’s Sarena Haskins with Toke Signals editor Steve Elliott in Hoodsport, Washington

“We also have Cashy Hyde Foundation bracelets and books, and new toys for the kids at our drive-thru,” Sarena said.

Sonshine, at 3211 Yelm Highway SE in Olympia, also hosts the Washington Farmer’s Market, which gets growers, medibles vendors and patients together in a very community-oriented atmosphere. While lots of people on the medical marijuana scene use the word “community,” some of them actually work to build one, and that’s definitely what’s going on here.

Sonshine's drive-through window menu: Marijuana for mom; ice cream for the kids [Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]
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Sonshine’s drive-through window menu: Marijuana for mom; ice cream for the kids
[Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]

The Washington Farmer’s Market, held from 10:30 to 5:30 the first and third Saturday of each month, features a friendly group of vendors, along regular patients I see almost every time I go. Far from being insular and exclusive, though, the folks at the Market warmly welcome newcomers; from the very first time I visited in 2011, I felt at home.

The Market usually includes around 20 vendor tables, offering a variety of cannabis flowers, concentrates, topicals and medibles. That variety is extremely empowering to patients; good old-fashioned competition helps keep prices low and quality high, and many vendors offer on-the-spot sampling. Also not to be missed are the potent medicated treats, including white chocolates, caramel cups, and peanut butter cups.

There’s much more to the Washington Farmer’s Market than the vendors. The Sonshine Organics crew (a courteous and helpful bunch of folks) makes sure patients are entertained while they’re at the market. For all the world, this innovative approach reminds me of an old-time “flea market” back in Alabama, except with marijuana.

Almost every market features live music in the smoking lounge by the likes of Kim Archer, an absolutely stunning entertainer who combines equal parts Joan Armatrading and Melissa Etheridge. (Yes, I said “smoking lounge.” Patients can consume cannabis on-site at the Market — and hear live music while doing so.) Special events also often feature magicians, comedians, and even dancers; there’s never a dull moment around this place.

“This is the way it should be everywhere, all the time,” my friend and fellow patient Doc said dreamily as we left the Market. I agree.

 

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