With recreational marijuana stores legal in only 4 out of 50 states, residents from all over those other 46 states have been dipping into their vacation time to travel to Washington and Colorado. They’re starting to flock to Oregon and Alaska as well, with those states opening up their first recreational shops in late 2015.
But if you happen to be one of these tourists, what do you do when you finally arrive at your weed destination? Where’s the best place to go to grab some good ganja?
Well, if Seattle happens to be your destination and you don’t know anything about the city other than it’s the home of Starbucks and the Seahawks, allow me to be your guide.
If you read my earlier piece on legalizing recreational marijuana, you know that I’m a bona fide Seattle resident. As such, I have a good bit of experience buying weed in the city, so for your reference I’ll be ranking all the local stores I’ve previously patronized (from my most favorite to least):
Note: You must be 21 or older to buy cannabis in Washington, and you cannot buy or possess more than 1 ounce at a time
1. Stash Pot Shop
Where: 4912 17th Ave NW
Stash Pot Shop provides the absolute opposite experience of your average illegal deal i.e. meeting someone you barely know in their car at the Walmart parking lot, meeting someone you barely know at their apartment and having to exchange a few minutes of awkward conversation and bong rips before you can pick up your bud, etc.
It’s professional, in other words. There’s a wide selection, a friendly and helpful staff, and the storefront (as well as the interior) gives off the polished vibe of a high-end café, or maybe a Swedish furniture store. In my humble opinion, this is the best place to buy weed in Seattle.
2. American Mary
Where: 321 NE 45th St
Just east of Stash Pot Shop and Ballard you’ll find American Mary in Wallingford, also a fine establishment. Like Stash Pot Shop, American Mary has the atmosphere of a hip boutique, with modern floor-to-ceiling windows juxtaposed with rustic exposed rafters.
One important thing to remember about this place is that the hours are a little wonky, with the store closing at 9PM Monday – Wednesday, at 10PM Thursday – Saturday, and at 8PM on Sunday.
3. Herbs House
Where: 716 NW 65th St
Herbs House is a stark contrast to Stash and American Mary, as it’s nothing like a normal store. As the name implies, it looks and feels more like someone’s house.
But what Herbs House lacks in professionalism it makes up for with some charming features like its outdoor lounge area, which is covered by a thick screen of grape vines.
I’ve given Herbs House an average rating though, because I believe most tourists enjoy the novelty of buying weed like it’s soup or a sweater or anything else you can get in a normal store in the other 46 states, rather than going to someone’s house. And frankly, the staff can be a little rude.
4. Uncle Ike’s
Where: 2310 E Union St
Neighborhood: Central District
Uncle Ike’s is more like Stash than Herbs House in that it feels more like a traditional business (it’s not as pretty as Stash, though). One positive is that there’s usually a food truck in the parking lot, so you can conveniently grab some snacks to enjoy later when you sample your purchase. A negative is that the prices at Uncle Ike’s tend to run a little higher than the rest of the stores in town.
Where: 2413 E Union St
Neighborhood: Central District
Ponder is just across the street from Uncle Ike’s, with a smaller store and a smaller selection to match. The prices are pretty good, though.
6. Cannabis City
Where: 2733 4th Ave S
Neighborhood: Industrial District
Cannabis City was the first recreational marijuana store to open in Seattle. Maybe having 100% control of the market for a little while spoiled Cannabis City since they could pretty much get away with anything before other shops opened up, because you won’t find a worse weed store in Seattle. The prices are stupid high, the staff is not helpful, and it’s in a shitty neighborhood. Steer clear of this place.