Patrick Robinson
Chris Montgomerie and Joey Phinney are the owners of Pharmaseed Cooperative, a medical marijuana outlet near Alki. The offer a range of products (normally not on the counter as pictured) from the flower and bud to tincture infused suckers, cookies, brownies, and even hand lotions and lip balm.

Medical marijuana comes to Alki; Pharmaseed Cooperative is now open

The field of alternative medicine offers many modalities from the questionable to the controversial and those offering the services or products are sometimes seen with a deeply skeptical eye. Medical marijuana and the recent growth of outlets that provide it have absolutely been in that questionable category but that is changing.

Two entrepreneurs on Alki believe they can accelerate greater acceptance and help a lot of people in the process.

Chris Montgomerie and Joey Phinney are the men behind a medical marijuana outlet called Pharmaseed Cooperative located on Alki (the exact location is disclosed only to patients). It is now one of two in the West Seattle area. The West Seattle Herald previously covered the story of an outlet in the Junction.

This week the small company opened and began offering a range of products that are intended to be used by approved medical marijuana patients. "Aside from just the bud and the flower we've got different edibles including cookies, tincture infused suckers, and products that appeal to different people to be as widespread as possible," said Montgomerie.

In Washington State the medical marijuana Law became effective Nov. 3, 1998. Those diagnosed with a qualifying condition (see below) are allowed 24 ounces for personal use, or 15 plants (although more can be grown upon application)

The qualifying conditions include: HIV, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy or other seizure disorder, or spasticity disorders, glaucoma (acute or chronic), Crohn's Disease, Hepatitis C, anorexia (resulting in nausea, vomiting, wasting, appetite loss, cramping, seizures, muscle spasms, or spasticity).

Currently under consideration (a public hearing was held on it Feb. 23) is SB 5073 sponsored by Senator Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D) 36th District regarding the medical use of cannabis.

The full text of the original bill can be found here with revisions. The bill seeks to clarify the medical marijuana law since patients continue to face arrest and prosecution. Care providers and growers have been subjected to law enforcement raids and it has forced local jurisdictions to attempt to interpret laws themselves.

Outlets of this type are possible because of the original law and due to the fact that both Montgomerie and Phinney are approved patients themselves in a true non profit cooperative. They work strictly on a salary basis.

The two owners don't have a background in alternative medicine. Phinney is a carpenter and Montgomerie is an audio recording engineer but they saw an opportunity in both the area of the city they plan to serve and in "doing it better than places we've done business with. Some of the places were uncomfortable. We're trying to bring a little higher standard to the industry."

Both of them believe that their approach which puts an emphasis on patient safety, and discretion, is key to getting and keeping customers.

They have taken steps to ensure this by installing bullet proof glass, and a 16 camera hi-def security system.

Customers come to them through the website ( which is still being built) or by telephone but must provide a doctor's prescription prior to admittance to the physical area where the products are dispensed. Prices range from $8 to $12 per gram of the product depending on its form.

While some may doubt the benefits of these products both Montgomerie and Phinney are witness to the positive effects. "We just had a gentleman in who was overseas in the military in Iraq," said Montgomerie. " While he was there he developed some kind of stomach disorder. He has a lot of pain.
He went through normal 'Big Pharma' and he was anti-marijuana prior to this and thought of it as the last resort. He discovered that in very small doses of edibles it will actually help him get by for a day and a half at a time. Hearing people's testimonies about the health effects, I think it's getting to the point that it's undeniable."

Much of the use of these products is misunderstood since there are levels of dosage that have no psychoactive effects, especially in products such as hand lotion or lip balm. Those levels however are hard to determine largely because, "This industry has been suppressed for so long that it hasn't allowed for the technology to do the proper scientific research in a lot of cases," said Montgomerie.

You can reach Pharmaseed via email at (not .com) or by telephone at (206)588-1143.

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