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? Seattle Quality Collective is one of several new medical-marijuana dispensaries to open on Aurora Avenue in the past few months. The collective features a

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When Quality Matters: The One Rule Is Avoid the Cheap Stuff

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?Seattle Quality Collective is one of several new medical-marijuana dispensaries to open on Aurora Avenue in the past few months. The collective features a convenient, easy-to-find location, a good selection of cannabis, and a friendly and welcoming staff.

Medical-marijuana patients formed Seattle Quality in order to have access to true medical-grade cannabis, and to help other patients find the same. "We feel medical marijuana should be regarded as any other pharmaceutical: high-quality, consistent, without pesticides, mold, or overall poor quality," the collective says on its website.

The shop had about 20 strains in stock on the recent Saturday afternoon I visited. The flowers started in price at $7 a gram (outdoor Bubble Gum), with $8, $12, and top-shelf $15 strains also available.

Budtender Ken patiently guided me through my options, explaining that Bubble Gum's bargain price wasn't due to poor quality but to its smell (like hay) and taste (harsh). Always on the lookout for a bargain, I got three grams, but it was disappointing, even for a $7 smoke.

I've grown a bit of marijuana myself, and in my opinion the issue with the Bubble Gum flowers weren't that they were grown outdoors; that is almost irrelevant when it comes to taste, smell, and potency. The bouquet and harshness of these buds can be attributed to substandard curing. Despite their dense tightness, these flowers also appeared to have been harvested a week or two early.

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The Blue Dream flowers were covered with an inviting cotton-candy fuzziness of trichomes
?I also sampled some Blue Dream, a potent and medically useful sativa at $12 a gram, with much more favorable results. These flowers were covered with an inviting cotton-candy fuzziness of trichomes that bespoke their potency. Especially after smoking the rough Bubble Gum, the heady aroma and flavor of Blue Dream was delightful.

For my top-shelf selection, I settled on a couple of $15 grams of Ogre Kush, a clone-only 70-percent-indica dominant. It was, as advertised by Ken, definitely a nighttime smoke, even a bedtime smoke, with its heavy body high and very effective pain relief. The Ogre is a potent sleep aid, especially if you suffer from nagging pain that interrupts your rest. It is also definitely couch-lock marijuana. This isn't a cinematic sativa or an energetic hybrid you'd smoke at a concert; this is goofy ganja, and while it provides wonderful pain relief, it will make your thought processes fuzzy (but fun).

Seattle Quality had a nice selection of medibles behind the counter, including a wide range of Cannaceuticals, one of the most reliably delicious and potent lines in town.

Also available was a soda called Pack-A-Punch; this was the first time I'd seen the amusingly named drink. Of course, with a name like that, it had better be potent, and it was. I tried two different flavors--cream soda and cola--and much preferred the former. The cream soda was good enough to make you forget it was medicated. The cola, on the other hand, needs work. I'm a big Coca-Cola fan, drinking more per day than I'd care to admit, so I speak from experience when I say it's a far cry from the classic brand.

Seattle Quality Collective is at 13760 Aurora Ave. N., and is open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, telephone 257-4941 or visit seattle-quality.com.

Steve Elliott edits Toke of the Town, Village Voice Media's site of cannabis news, views, rumor, and humor.


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