Pubdate: Mon, 20 Sep 2010
Source: Bellingham Herald (WA)
Copyright: 2010 Bellingham Herald
Author: Stacia Glenn


A smiling bouncer in a black skull and crossbones sweatshirt stood
guard Sunday outside the door to a rented room where marijuana wafted
through the air and reggae music pulsated.

But only those with medical marijuana authorization forms gained
entrance to an event billed as the state's first cannabis farmers market.

"These are farmers growing agricultural medicine, so it seemed like a
no-brainer," said Jeremy Miller, organizer and owner of Sacred Plant
Medicine. "It's a place where people can network with other patients
in similar situations."

Miller brought in just six vendors for the "dry run," unsure of how
many people would attend the event on South Tacoma Way. Its success
means he may be able to make it a monthly affair from here on out.

It was held at the Conquering Lion, a gathering place and music venue
expected to open soon.

The walls and floor were painted black. Two banners for Sacred Heart
Medicine were draped on the wall. A table with brochures and stacks of
the magazine "West Coast Cannabis" welcomed visitors.

Vendors preferred different terms - farmers, caregivers, providers.
Half declined to give their names, but were happy to explain their
products and how they could help people with various aches and pains.

A steady stream of patients filtered in and out, spending time at each
booth before deciding which marijuana products appealed most. Some
stayed for hours, socializing with friends or sharing a joint.

"Something like this lets people come get what they need in a safe
environment," said Justin Kravis, whose Kravi Crops booth attracted

His offerings were plentiful. He had about 6 ounces of different
marijuana strains marked in clear jars. There was White Widow and
Pandora's Box and Moonwreck.

Next to a scale and plastic baggies were brownies, Rice Krispies
treats and chocolate chip cookies. Two hours after the market opened,
he had only two $20 clone plants left. (A clone plant is a way to
reproduce the same strain of marijuana.)

It is illegal to sell marijuana, and state-authorized providers are
allowed to grow cannabis for only one patient at a time. That's why
the farmers donated their products to the patients and patients in
turn donated money to the farmers.

"For those few minutes, (the farmer is) that one person's caregiver,"
explained one man who declined to give his name.

On the opposite side of the room, Kathy Parkins had set up her
"Cannaceuticals" booth and was busy educating patients about the
effects of eating marijuana rather than smoking it.

She offered snickerdoodles, chocolate fudge, triple chocolate cake,
and fish and oyster stew mix for $5. Her hashish lollipops quickly
sold out, but there were plenty of spiced tea bags and canisters of
marijuana lotion.

"This is a central location for all people who have cannabis products
but don't have a store front," said Parkins, 54.

She said she has been cooking for medical marijuana patients for nine
years, is working on a cookbook and even gives talks at cancer

Although everyone seemed to relish the mellow vibe inside the market,
at least one vendor admitted that he had been nervous bringing in his

"I was kind of paranoid coming down here," said Greg, who offered a
smile but no last name. "You've gotta worry. It's still marijuana."

Many of the patients there to shop appeared to be in their 20s. But
several others said they were in their 50s or 60s. Some used canes to
walk, and at least one man came in a wheelchair.

Ric Smith said he began using medical marijuana after first being
diagnosed with HIV. In addition, he uses pot to treat leukemia, kidney
failure and help with a recent stroke.

He's fond of saying, "Munchies save lives." Marijuana "helped me to
eat," Smith said. "With all the operations and procedures and side
effects, I had no appetite. Munchies saved my life."
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