They do things differently in Belfair. I learned this recently when I visited Mari Meds, a medical-marijuana access point in that small Mason County town. Unlike King County dispensaries, where the cannabis itself is kept discreetly out of sight in the bud room, and is never shown in the reception area, the first thing I saw was some dude rolling up joints behind the counter.
I felt uncertain of exactly what to do when I walked in, due to the fact that there were two counters, each with a Mari Meds employee behind it. One was the aforementioned young man (who turned out to be budtender Mitch) rolling joints out of a big bowl of weed ahead of me, and an older gentleman who didn’t say “hi” or offer to help me to my right. After a long few seconds, Mitch put his joint-in-process and his bowl of weed down, and asked me what I needed.
I told Mitch I was looking for cannabis flowers, and I once again learned how differently they do things here. Rather than display jars, this shop has a “Bud Book,” which consists of single small nugs of various strains in plastic pages with a bunch of little pouches.
Unfortunately, this method, while it allowed me to eyeball the buds, did little else to clue me in. The plastic prevented any attempt to smell the marijuana, and I felt oddly separated from the flowers. I was being asked to select a strain without having enough information to do so.
Another source of trepidation was Mari Meds’ $15-per-gram donation point for top-shelf cannabis. That’s at the very top of my comfort zone when I’m in Seattle shops — I’m much happier with a $10/gram across-the-board approach — but I’m willing to forgive a $15 asking price if it’s exceptional weed. After all, certain strains require longer flowering times, and thus more expense to produce.
I selected the indica dominant Snoqualmie Moonshine — a strain I had never encountered before, an increasingly rare occurrence — and the sativa White Widow. I picked the Snoqualmie because of the name, since I couldn’t tell much about it through the plastic. After you tell ‘em what you need, someone on the other side of a slot in the wall fills your order and gives it to the budtender, who dispenses your medicine in plastic bags.
Both strains, thank goodness, turned out to be quite attractive to both the eye and the nose. While both worked–the Snoqualmie with a sleepy, pain-relieving high and the Widow with an energetic daytime rush–neither was, in my estimation, a $15 strain. “Twelve bucks at best,” I thought to myself.
Mari Meds, 360-275-1181, 23710 NE State Route 3, Belfair
Noon to 6 Mon.-Thurs.; Noon to 8 Fri. and Sat.; Closed Sunday