There are a lot of budtenders in town, and the quality of service they offer is extremely variable. Some shops sport very attractive budtenders who wouldn't know an indica from a sativa if their pretty little lives depended on it, while others -- the good ones -- actually seem to hire folks on the basis of their ability to handle the job. My recent visit to Seattle Collective Garden (at the former home of Seattle Cannabis Co-op, which was raided and shut down a year ago) showed that it's firmly in the latter camp. My budtender, Ruby, was among the most knowledgeable dispensary employees I've ever encountered. With her assistance, picking my flower strains wasn't a chore, it was a pleasure.
Cherry Kush's fat, trichome-heavy buds bring pain relief (click on photo for larger view)
SCG's donation scheme normally includes strains for $7 and $9 a gram, in addition to $11 and $13 varieties. But on the day I visited, all the $7 and $9 weed was sold out. About a dozen varieties were still available at the higher donation points, though. If you're going to buy an eighth or more, be sure to get one of the $13 strains, because both $11 and $13 varieties go for $35 an eighth. For the same price, you might as well get the top-shelf medicine.
My first selection was the sativa strain Bob Marley. It so happened that they had only 2.9 grams of Marley left at the bottom of the jar, and Ruby dazzled me with her service: She let me get the 2.9 grams for just $20, which means I got a $13 strain for $7 a gram. Of course, as bottom-of-the-jar weed it was mostly shake, but since it had all fallen off well-manicured flowers, it was still good medicine. The high was typically sativa-like in its alertness and motivational qualities, but also faded quickly.
Fat, trichome-heavy buds led me to make Cherry Kush, a 60 percent indica dominant, my second selection. These tasty nugs bore the signature bouquet and sweet-tokin' taste of their namesake, along with a pain-relieving yet functional high that spoke clearly of both parts of their genetic heritage. If the Marley was a good first smoke of the day, Cherry Kush makes a good medicine for the early afternoon, when pain relief is needed but there are a few more chores on the agenda before chillin' time.
My final selection was Mr. Nice Guy, an extraordinary 100-percent indica which I highly recommend for body pain. This is an $11 strain, but let me contradict my above advice to say you should try an eighth of this if pain is a factor. If there's any hurt left over after medicating with Mr. Nice Guy, you can bet that it will certainly matter a lot less than it did before you toked.
Steve Elliott edits Toke of the Town, Village Voice Media's site of cannabis news, views, rumor, and humor.
Seattle Collective Garden
7701 15th Ave. N.W., 457-8196. Open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Mon.-Thurs., 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Fri., 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Sun.