Affordable cannabis prices have been one of the themes I've touched upon over and over during the two years I've written "Toke Signals." Most medical-marijuana patients are on limited incomes, and by definition are suffering from chronic or terminal illnesses, so from where I sit, charging $15 or $20 a gram for flowers seems uncomfortably close to profiteering.
Such is not the case at USC. This shop, which shares a duplex with another medical-marijuana access point on Rainier Avenue in South Seattle, offers top-shelf flowers for a donation of just $9 a gram, midline strains for $8, and bargain strains for an incredible $6. Many of the $9 strains go for just $25 an eighth, while a few of them are $28 an eighth, still a good price. (The $9 strains are $200 an ounce, $8 strains are $170, and $6 strains are just $100.)
Laid-back budtender Terry, an affable, middle-aged patient with a good knowledge of the strains in stock, helped me make my excited way through a 35-strain menu filled with good buys. After extensively checking out the entire top shelf (with those $9-a-gram donation points doing wonders for my enthusiasm), I settled on the 80 percent sativa/20 percent indica hybrid Blue Dream.
There's a reason Blue Dream is one of the most popular strains around; its soaring, cerebral consciousness expansion (that's the sativa talkin') is accompanied by soothing pain relief and a warm-blanket body stone (that's the indica). Just be aware that the high THC level of Blue Dream will likely lead you down some quite introspective mental paths, especially if you toke alone. (Relax; as long as you like yourself, you have nothing to fear.)
Selecting the GDP for my second sample (they don't call it Grand Daddy Purple, just GDP, presumably because it has the genetics but not the purple color) accomplished two objectives at once: It allowed me to check out the indica side of things while sampling a $6 strain.
It was great to get effective cannabis for just $30 a quarter-ounce -- so great, in fact, that I didn't get bent out of shape because these flowers had, to all appearances, been tumbled: a process through which some of the trichomes, which contain the psychoactive cannabinoids, are removed through agitation, forming a potent, powdery, hash-like substance called kief. While smoking the flowers (clearly not top-shelf, but still medicinal), I realized that this is how kiefed buds should always be priced. To charge full price for buds which have had part of the medicine removed would be borderline unethical.
On the recent Saturday I visited USC, no concentrates or tinctures were available; the medibles selection was also quite minimal. But if you're looking for marijuana flowers, you won't find a better selection in town at these low prices.
USC 5303 Rainier Ave. S., Suite D, 453-3623. 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.
5303 Rainier Ave. S., Suite D, 453-3623.
10 a.m.-9 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Fri.-Sat.