Photo by Tim Clifford.
Ballard’s Deborah Greene (middle) at the opening of Cannabis City in SODO.
A greener shade of history
Ballard woman first in line for historic Seattle marijuana purchase
By Tim Clifford
Being at the front of the line to make the first historic retail purchase of marijuana in Seattle was not the initial plan for Ballard’s Deborah Greene.
“James [the owner of Cannabis City] came walking out the door and said “Oh my god, it’s my first customer," looks at his watch and it was 2:58. ”This is incredible, and I said 'I guess I can’t go home now,'” Greene describes of showing up the day before Cannabis City begins legal retail sales of marijuana.
With well over 200 people in line and waiting before mid-day and after hosting a media event to inaugurate the grand opening the small retail space that is Cannabis City was swarmed beyond capacity. After winning in a lottery held by the state liquor board to obtain a license to sell marijuana and a lengthy inspection process Cannabis City opened Tuesday at noon as the first retail marijuana store in Seattle, with Deborah Greene as their first customer.
The price for 2 grams on opening day will be $40 dollars and Cannabis city is prepared to sell out quickly despite the high mark up.
“I probably smoke a bowl once a month if that. So it really isn’t about getting the pot today necessarily, it’s about being a part of the history of it,” says Greene. A four year resident of Ballard the 65 year old felt comfortable camping overnight in the SODO since Cannabis City had prepared for early arrivals by hiring Eastside Security to manage crowd control and food was provided to those in line by representatives from Leafly, a cannabis information app.
“Security was here all night, armed security, and there were some characters who came through, but nothing was ever really threatening,” says Greene of the overnight experience.
After James Lathrop, owner of Cannabis City, cut away the mock police tape that acted as the ceremonial ribbon over the door a short press conference was held.
Alison Holcomb, the driving force behind Initiative 502 which has made today possible for shops like Cannabis City, was the first to speak cited the occasion as a progressive step for civil liberties. “Decriminalization, ending the arrest of users is something that has already been done in other several states and countries. What we are tackling today is the supply side of the equation. Removing marijuana out of the shadows, regulating it for consumer and community safety, and dedicating new tax revenues to keeping kids healthy and in school” said Holcomb.
Next up was city attorney Pete Holmes who drew an uproar of applause when he closed his speech by saying “The most important take away for everyone here is that today marijuana sales became legal, and I am here to personally exercise [that right] myself”.
Greene stood and posed for pictures in front of the press as if being on a red carpet next to Magical Butter’s Jeremy Cooper. Cooper, along with the rest of his crew, wore a Willy Wonka-esque bright green wig the entire morning. With the declaration from Lathrop of “I think it’s time to free the weed” the doors were open and sales and Greene was lead inside to make her purchase and her way into a chapter of Seattle history.