All photos by Shane Harms

For Ballard's latest pot dispensary, focus on medicinal over recreational

By Ryan Hueter, UW News Lab

While some view marijuana as nothing more than an illicit drug, others have found its medicinal elements very beneficial in reducing stress and pain. And now some of those converts are turning that belief in the healing abilities of marijuana into a storefront and delivery service in Ballard.

Green Ambrosia (7730 15th Ave NW) offers marijuana in a wide array of products, including cookies, gummy candies, tinctures, creams, dried buds, clones that are ready to be grown into plants, even cannabis-infused peanut butter and jellies.

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Founder Dante Jones also works with vendors from the Ballard area, selling medicated honey sticks from a Ballard resident who implores users to “Bee Happy,” and pens that quickly vaporize buds for a puff on the go.

Jones previously worked in the video game industry, where he said he worked 20 hours a day in completely blacked-out buildings. As a result he now suffers from fibromyalgia, hypermobility of his joints, and other ailments. But he has found relief in marijuana.

“Marijuana is something that helps me both fall asleep at night, wake up in the morning, and just even get a meal down,” Jones said. “Now I can take all that I’ve gone through and help other people with it and talk to them about how they can live their lives a little better.”

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Two years ago Jones started Green Ambrosia as a delivery service to help others with medical marijuana authorizations to find the same benefits from the plant that he did. Green Ambrosia opened as a storefront in mid-February.

“We created this company to be patients helping other patients,” Jones said.

For CJ Torres, who now works at Green Ambrosia, marijuana helps relieve pain and ease the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Torres was in the Army for four years and did two separate tours in Iraq – for nine months in 2003 and again for 15 months in 2005.

“This is something that I’ve always believed in,” Torres said. “As soon as I got out of the Army, I was given a bunch of pills that I didn’t really like. I’ve been supporting medical cannabis for a while.”

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CJ Torres

After falling off a four-story building and breaking his back, Danny Greene suffers from arthritis in his neck and back, but marijuana helps reduce the pain and nerve spasticity from the accident.

“I’ve seen a lot of my friends use heavy pharmaceutical painkillers ... and I saw them turn into junkies basically,” Greene said. “I wasn’t into that. ... I use marijuana solely as my pain reliever.”

Greene has found relief in using medicinal marijuana, which allows him to continue working in the construction industry. After the building that used to house a state-run liquor store became available around October, Greene went work remodeling it to turn it into Green Ambrosia.

It’s just one of many projects that Greene has been able to accomplish with the help of marijuana.

“I can go and live a normal life with all the pain that I’m in and function during the day by eating a cookie, by eating a little piece of candy,” Greene said, “instead of something that’s going to completely just ruin my liver and make me feel like a zombie.”

While marijuana is certainly a hot-button issue, Jones said the reaction from the surrounding neighborhood about his business moving in has been positive.

“Overall, the community has been really good here,” Jones said.

The Seattle Department of Planning and Development recently released a map of where businesses for selling both medicinal and recreational marijuana could be established in the Seattle area. Jones’ location was one of few where a business could sell cannabis for both uses and could find an available storefront.

Many of the areas that were marked as possible locations for such a storefront are heavily industrial areas, such as Boeing Field and shipyards, where a suitable building could not be reasonably found.

“We were actually really excited,” Jones said.

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CJ Torres, left, and Dante Jones, right

In the meantime, I-502 brings with it questions.

Recently, Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Belltown) told the Ballard News-Tribune that the legislature is on standby until the fall, when the State Liquor Control Board should roll out a plan defining policy for the sale of marijuana. A bill she tried to pass this year did not get a hearing in the Republican controlled state senate, she said.

Jones admits that there is a lot gray area surrounding what will be legal and what won’t as I-502 goes into effect, but he is looking forward to the possibilities that the new legislation will provide.

“As I-502 starts to take effect, we’re hoping that we’ll be able to change from a medical marijuana model to the licensed retailer model,” Jones said. “And from that, we’re not quite sure what it’s going to be, what the laws are going to be, what the regulations are going to be, or what the fees and costs are going to be, so we’re not quite sure beyond that.”

Green Ambrosia is open every day, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and offers delivery service for in-store products.

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