There's a middle-aged woman at the counter nearby who could be your school librarian. On the opposite end of the dispensary, a slender young soldier in a wheelchair with close-cropped hair, dressed in his fatigues, consults with a clerk. There's a gregarious cowboy and an inquisitive pair of baby boomers looking at edibles. A dude in a hoodie walks in with his backpack.
And then there's my husband and me.
The dispensary is split in two: "recreational" on one side, "medical" on the other. Medical customers must have state-issued cards and doctor's approval. The inventory is not taxed, so prices are lower on that side. On the recreational side, where I'm peering at mysterious jars of prickly green goods, "Smoke on the Water" is thumping from stereo speakers. Yes, there's a massive banner advertising a Tommy Chong appearance, and issues of "High Times" are on display. But the many imposing signs posted on the wall emphatically warn: No smoking, no open drug consumption, and absolutely no entry allowed into the locked lab where the cannabis plants sit under bright lights.
Before I tell you how and why my hubby and I ended up at Marisol Therapeutics, some background about my longtime support of medical marijuana: More than 15 years ago in Seattle, while working at The Seattle Times, I met an extraordinary man who changed my mind about the issue. Ralph Seeley was a Navy nuclear submarine officer, pilot, cellist and lawyer suffering from chordoma, a rare form of bone cancer that starts in the spine. He had undergone several surgeries, including removal of one lung and partial removal of the other, and was confined to a wheelchair.
Chronically nauseous from chemotherapy and radiation, weak from a suppressed appetite, and suffering excruciating pain, Seeley turned to marijuana cigarettes for relief.