The 1930s-nostalgia, apothecary-themed décor of Cannatonics makes it one of the most visually charming access points I've ever visited. Located in downtown Tacoma, is "not a commercial marijuana dispensary," the access point emphasizes in its patient orientation literature. It is, rather, a private cannabis collective where medical marijuana patients can get the medicine recommended by their health care professionals. But that doesn't change the fact that "several businesses do not approve of or accept" Cannatonics' mission of providing safe access to marijuana for those who need it, the membership sheet inform us. "Please don't ruin things for us" by medicating or loitering in front of our near the store, the sheet implores.
Cannatonics features a 1930s-style apothecary theme
Once you're inside the place, though, it's not at all stuffy or forbidding; all the staff, including my budtender, Miguel, were friendly and knowledgeable, and I quickly realized all that stern verbiage on the intake sheet was due to problems with the neighbors.
Despite all the scientific and anecdotal evidence, it seems some people - and some neighboring businesses - are just never going to accept cannabis, the way it smells, or the people who choose to use it as medicine. Cannatonics' management make sure the place is run by the book, to give the contentious neighbors as little as possible to complain about.
The beautiful old building in which Cannatonics is located is on the National Historic Registry, and the apothecary suite has been designed to look and feel like a turn-of-the-century pharmacy. The theme, while it could have been overdone and a little too cutesy, hits just the right spot.
Cannatonics carries a rotating menu of about 15 strains of marijuana flowers, with donation points ranging from $11 to $14 a gram. Most of the strains are either $11 or $12, with just one strain each at $13 (Cannatonic, the house sativa) and $14 (The White, a hybrid). With Miguel's help, I selected two strains, the sativa dominant Urban Poison (Durban Poison x Northern Lights) and the indica dominant Kyble, for sampling.
Urban Poison's combination of potent South African sativa genetics (the Durban Poison side of things) with indica oompf (Nothern Lights) results in a sativa-dominant variety with the agreeable juniper flavor and trippy come-on of its African forebears. It's tight, spongy flowers emit the woodsy cedar scent of a pine forest, and the high is cheerfully alert, lending itself to activities like housecleaning, writing or appreciating music.
Kyble (pronounced KY-bul, not "kibble;" I asked Miguel) is an obscure, mysterious indica dominant hybrid that I suspect is the creation of a PNW grower, since there's almost no information about it online. (I had Cannatonics ask the grower about the strain's genetics, but he apparently ain't talkin'.) Its flowers are visually stunning, with subtle purple highlights and trichomes so abundant the buds look fuzzy with psychoactive goodness. The strain isn't as heavy-hitting as many indicas, but is nevertheless quite helpful for pain and insomnia.
The shop has a solid selection of cannabis-infused medibles, including "Canndibis," their medicated house blend coffee, at $20 for two ounces. Also available are infused peanut butter for $20 a jar, infused honey for $15, medicated salsa for $12, and marijuana cookie dough for $12. Regular edibles are available for $6, $8, and double-dose for $12.
Cannatonics, at 711 Opera Alley, Court 'C' in Tacoma, is open from Monday to Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sundays from noon until 6, phone (253) 302-5539, cannatonics.org.