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Trek to Raymond, Part II

Part I here.

One Raymond, Washington, resident expresses his enthusiasm for the town’s new status:



Washington state’s new recreational cannabis law is known for being a little less “wild westy” than Colorado’s. The Rocky Mountain High state rushed its implementation and has had some problems. Washington (which only legalized private liquor sales shortly before it legalized pot) went about things more slowly and bureaucratically.

Though growers got into business rapidly (and face it, plenty of them had informally been in business for a very long time), retailers weren’t allowed to open until July 8 of this year, a full 20 months after Initiative 502 passed. Even then, the ‘crats didn’t make it easy. Stores-to-be weren’t even allowed to order product until they had jumped through every possible regulatory hoop — a long, iffy process in itself. This meant that those stores that proudly opened on the very first day might have only one or two types of bud, and that in short supply.

Most stores that opened early were in civilization. The majority of towns the size of Raymond (or even three or four times larger) don’t yet have cannabis retailers even if they have people who hold retail licenses. A few cities have even passed ordinances against pot retailers to try to keep reefer madness from sullying their streets.

Once again, though, itty-bitty hard-luck Raymond got into the game. Not on July 8 and not for a long while after. But on November 3 at 12:20 (probably because they didn’t want to wait until 4:20), a very friendly crew opened Mr. Doobees. And once again it’s on port property (as is the area’s sole medical marijuana co-op, BTW, but that’s under a separate set of laws).


Gotta love that name. Speaking of which, the fun name is yet another product of bureaucracy. The store was originally going to be called the [Something or Another, can’t quite recall] Apothecary, but the ‘crats decided that sounded too much like a medical dispensary. So instead Raymond got the much more cheeky, Outlawish, and much better “Mr. Doobees.” Thank you, state bureaucrats.

“Since 2014.” I like that part, too.

It’s a small place and still very much in the process of stocking up. Edibles, oils, and waxes are still to come, and so far they carry just one variety of vaporizor. But visitors can purchase a wild array of pipes and 14 varieties of cannabis, from the knock-your-socks-off AK-47 (20.62% THC) and Afghan Kush (26.34% THC) to the milder Blue Dream (12.1% THC) and Island Sweet Skunk (13.8% THC), a pair of pleasant little sativa dominants.

Their most primo bud goes for $30 a gram (all taxes included in the price), with lesser quality “party packs” and sale items running $15 per gram or less.

Here’s the very friendly Jordyn manning (or womaning) the front counter:


Here’s her very friendly boss, HJ, in the secured area where transactions are completed. I shot this through a set of very hefty iron bars:


And those odd objects in front of him? Well, that’s something you probably never saw back in the day when everybody bought from friends or friends of friends or backstreet dealers. In those jars are 5-gram buds of prime cannabis indica (or an indica-dominant hybrid), wrapped with blinking Christmas tree lights.

Here’s a closer look, complete with tiny snowmen. Aren’t they cute?


They’re nitrogen-preserved, too. Just like the freeze-dried or dehydrated food in those #10 cans you may have in your pantry. Perfect for the survivalist stoner on your Christmas list. Or they would be if they were for sale. They’re actually novelties Mr. Doobees will auction off after Christmas. Still, somebody will end up with a charming conversation piece and, with the nitrogen preservation, an emergency stash with which to survive the zombie apocalypse. (How an emergency stash of grass might help during the zombie apocalypse, I’m not sure. But no doubt it would bring comfort to some folks I know.)

I didn’t get a photo of the equally friendly third staffer, Todd, (Hi, Todd!) who was busy on the computer. Todd says he’s just a flunky, but if so he’s the most enthusiastic flunky I’ve run into. Very eager to show everybody the newest goods, including a foot-long pipe known as The Gandalf. The entire staff is awesome and so full of cheer and excitement it almost makes up for the incredibly stupid state rules and mandated “security” procedures.

“Security” includes being carded twice for any one purchase (until they know you, at which point they’ll skip the second carding). Worse — much worse — it includes being carded into a shared database (for reasons too long, bureaucratic, and pointless to go into here).

Being put into a shared database for buying a legal item is way over the top offensive. I hope that “feature” of the regulations eventually goes away, though I assume that a database of cannabis users will be too delicious for the gov ever to give up.

Yes, there are always advantages, as well as disadvantages, to buying on the old black market. And being databased is possibly the biggest disadvantage of legalization. Or maybe it’s all the taxes. Hm. A toss-up there, I think.

Still, as I say, the eternal good cheer of the Mr. Doobees crew almost makes up for the regulatory nonsense, as does sheer wonder over the fact that the cannabis portion of the insane drug war is finally coming to an end. At least in some places. Long live Mr. Doobees! Long live sanity — and may this business become even more sane.


Of course, legal recreational cannabis being a new industry, there’s still a lot of shaking out to do. Much will eventually change. Some of the pioneers may not make it. Already Raymond, with its multitudes of new growers, is seeing a hint of this. One of the biggest grow operations just laid off 10 employees (so the nice young forklift driver from the last post told me). Right before Christmas. On short notice. Sucks, that.

An even bigger — like humongous — grow that’s supposed to take over the entire campus of a former lumber company halted construction a month ago and nobody I talked with knew what was going on. (Virtually all of them enviously signed something like, “They’ve got plenty of money,” though. So hopefully the construction halt is just a winter lull.

No, everything won’t always go well. But man, it’s exciting and heartening to witness this green rush and what it’s doing for this lovable, but formerly moribund berg.


Oh, and you know what else you get with legal pot that you never got from those dorm-room sellers or your friends with the scraggly plants? Receipts.



  1. Joel
    Joel December 22, 2014 5:59 am

    Part of me is jealous. Part of me goes all “I don’ need no steenking permission from the principal to do whatever the hell I want…”

    Carding, I get. Databases? I’d have left empty-handed, I’m afraid. But still, first steps are good. Enjoy! Life to Raymond! And all that.

    Whatayawanna bet that huge new grow will turn out to be financed by somebody or something really ironic and/or infuriating?

  2. Claire
    Claire December 22, 2014 6:33 am

    Joel — I hear ya on the permission slips. And the databasing (in spades). Yet at the same time, if you were in WA to experience the relief of legalization and the excitement of watching a new green industry I think on balance you’d be cheering.

    BTW, From what I learned (all second hand, but consistent), both the large grow that just laid off all those people and the even larger (huge) planned grow that just halted construction are the projects of Marcus Charles — the very guy who started this whole Raymond ball rolling. If he’s really in trouble (too early to say) everybody else will be profiting from his innovation while he loses out. So yeah, some irony. I don’t know who his backers are — just that everybody I talked to insists that there’s still money up the wahzoo behind his efforts.

  3. Claire
    Claire December 22, 2014 6:45 am

    An article from last spring that pretty well outlines what’s happening in and to Raymond. Article says that Marcus Charles has backed off personal plans for growing. But he’s still very obviously involved and locals talk about the two big operations I mentioned being his.

  4. LarryA
    LarryA December 22, 2014 1:12 pm

    First glance I thought that was a gun in HJ’s right hand.

    Washington went about things more slowly and bureaucratically.

    As I understand it both state governments got pushed into MJ by voter referendums. The lawmakers have a bad case of Not Invented Here, and are trying to make implementation as difficult as possible. For the children, of course.

  5. jc2k
    jc2k December 22, 2014 2:12 pm

    Being that Washington has a Sudafed database, I am not surprised. I’m sure the intention is to track anyone that buys huge amounts and check into whether they’re exporting.

  6. Matt, another
    Matt, another December 23, 2014 6:43 am

    I am pretty sure the people that buy huge amounts of sudafed or marijuana are not inclined to do so through a state licensed dealer. The database is like any other database, it allows the state to track and follow it’s citizens activities. It’s future uses will be to share it with the Feds, discriminate for health insurance, etc. Nothing good will come of it. I am suprised though that so many people in the legalize movements seem suprised when the Govt puts all kinds of restrictions and controls on it. Why would a government that restricts and taxes OTC meds and 3.2% beer not control, license and tax pot? Remember, the same storm troopers that have been kicking down doors and rounding up the usual suspects when MJ was illegal, will be the same ones kicking down doors to inquire if one has the required permits, tax stamps etc for growing. These are the same governments that make raw milk illegal.

  7. mark
    mark December 23, 2014 9:00 am

    I grew up on raw milk on the dairy. 4.5 %fat best ever what is sold in stores is pale watered down swill . might as well have a trout in it.

  8. jed
    jed December 23, 2014 10:53 am

    Happy Festivus!

  9. Paul Bonneau
    Paul Bonneau December 28, 2014 8:59 am

    Eh, I’m of two minds with the databases. On one hand, I walked out of a drug store in Idaho when they told me I needed ID to buy cold medicine. On the other hand, just think of all the guns that are sold. The Feds get to experience how big commerce in guns is (and only that portion from dealers – the rest is left to their imagination). I think it can’t help but inform them how risky a prohibition attempt would be. So unlike a lot of people, I never stopped buying guns from dealers because the feds would record the sale. I don’t care that they know; they still aren’t getting my guns.

    [Their most primo bud goes for $30 a gram (all taxes included in the price), with lesser quality “party packs” and sale items running $15 per gram or less.]

    That’s inflation for you. When I was a stoner in the Marine Corps the going rate was $10 for an ounce of weed (ditch weed, admittedly). I’d be on barracks duty with a pistol on my belt, walking through the squad bays, shouting, “Hash, $5 a gram!”

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