Going Undercover: My Shocking Discoveries While Inspecting Legal Pot Shops

Going undercover: legal marijuana stores


I recently went “mystery shopping” to experience first hand, how several different local recreational pot shops operate and serve their customers. Indeed, every pot shop is different, but I found out just how different each shop is.

From a marijuana security stand point, I want to know that a facility is not only warm and inviting, but clean and secure as well. I want a facility that is well lit on the outside, with convenient parking. I am also very conscious of the surrounding businesses, their security, and if they will attract unsavory characters. Every store has different set ups, different products, different staff and different security measures – or lack there of. Overall, I was shocked and alarmed in regards to some of my discoveries.

Initially, I was impressed by one marijuana store, which will obviously be unnamed. The store opened recently in the Pierce County area. The modern, decked out facility, looked clean and inviting. However, I was shocked to see no pot shop security personnel on the premises. Why would an owner put so much effort and money into their facility, but not hire real security personnel to help protect the investment? I believe this is very important and necessary, not just for the security of the legal marijuana store, but the security of the customer. In short, security personnel can be an important asset in ID’ing potential customers, monitoring the premises for suspicious characters or activity, and can offer a trained assistance in case an unwanted incident does occur.

I was greeted by a bud tender upon entering the shop. Once in the shop, I conversed with the staff who stood behind the counter. After a short while. I was asked to rotate around the front desk and the proceed behind the counters to get a closer look at a product. Ask yourself this: if you were an owner of a pot shop with lots of cash on site, would you want your staff to break the security codes and measures?

Without any security personnel on site, is saving money that would pay for real security worth the cost of an inside job? Does this bud tender have a plan incase of an emergency? A threat? A deranged citizen who was of his or her meds?

From a pot shop owner’s point of view, you must look at real security as a solution to avoid risks and possible liabilities. From a customer’s point of view, ask yourself does this store care about my security? Will they protect me if I’m placed in harm? Or will they just stand there and watch in shock like most customers would?


My last location was a real winner! Of course, I’m being sarcastic. First of all, the facility that looked very unappealing. In fact, I didn’t even know the facility was a marijuana store. The sign above their store was almost non existent. Because of the color scheme of the building, it was even difficult to find the door.

I waited in the parking lot for a few minutes to see if there was some kind of traffic going in and out of the store. When no one entered, I proceeded to see if anyone was inside. Not surprised, the weed shop was practically empty except for three budtenders. They were all behind the counters checking their phone statuses. No security personnel  to check my ID.

Inside, the facility was bare, even a bit eerie. Two out of three budtenders helped out by answering my questions, while the third guy never even bothered to look up once. The store only carried one brand of cannabis flower and no edibles. Upon asking the budtenders how long the shop has been in business, one of the told me ever since mid August.  In business for roughly 3 months and you still only carry one strain of cannabis?

But here’s the real shocker. Not only was I able to walk inside the shop without showing my ID, but I was able to purchas a pre-rolled joint without having to show my ID! These lack of standards are completely unacceptable! Especially, when there are recreational marijuana shops that are going the extra length and taking their business ventures very seriously. Why would the Washington State Liquor Control Board take an extended amount of time to issue licenses, then allow an operation such as this? Where are the checks and balances?

In my opinion, the WSLCB has got to do a better job of communicating their intent to all legal marijuana retail stores and hold owners accountable for their lack of standards. Oh, and while they are at it, they should also modify their regulations in regards to “third party” security companies, and allow them to be armed. Why wait for a tragedy to occur before changing THAT regulation?

Beware! Fear-Infused Halloween Candy! Don’t bring back ‘Reefer Madness,’ or Razor Blades



Seems like everyone is jumping on the ‘fear bandwagon,’ spreading the possibility that cannabis-infused edibles may be targeted at kids as they innocently trick-or-treat this halloween night in Colorado and Washington.

Remember past Halloweens when we had to be on the lookout for rat poison and razor blades inside our candy? And how many kids did you hear of biting into a razor blade? None? For the most part this fear was generated from urban myths. Yes, there are a couple of true incidences over the last century including one with a laxative and another with some poison, but just a few.

We understand being cautious – especially if you are a parent – and we encourage to take the appropriate steps to ensue safety. But what’s up with all the hysteria? It’s not like edibles were invented yesterday. In fact, Colorado and Washington have had edibles during the last decade with thriving medical marijuana industries. Where was the warning then? And if you didn’t have a medical marijuana card which isn’t difficult to get, it isn’t too difficult to find someone who had a batch of freshly baked pot brownies.

The Denver Police Department has created a video warning parents and what to look for . Really? If you are going to create a video showing parents what to look for when it comes to THC infused candy, might as well bring back the whole rat poison and razor blade hysteria. Or, maybe a video should be created to warn kids of consuming massive amounts of refined sugar and saturated fats. After all, hasn’t refined sugar and saturated fats have been more dangerous than a lot of things, even candied razor blades and rat poison?

In the video, Patrick Johnson, owner of Urban dispensary states in regards to some of the cannabis-infused candies: ‘…there’s really no way for a child, or parent, or even an expert in the field, to tell you whether a product is infused or not.’

Really? Not even an expert? I guess we’re all screwed then.

Just be cool, be aware, and have a fun Halloween this year. No real need to bring back ‘Reefer Madness,’ or razor blades.



Yes, You Can Overdose on Weed

Yes you can overdose on weed

Hold off on any scoffs or prepared eye rolls, because I am well aware that you cannot overdose on weed like other, more harmful drugs. Death from consuming too much weed by itself is extremely unlikely but having more than your share can be quite uncomfortable. Users can experience some side effects after smoking marijuana and those reactions are only exacerbated by overdosing. Ghost face, hallucinations, severe dehydration, nausea and even fainting can occur.These reactions are a common occurrence in stoner n00bs and is nothing to be ashamed of. It is a very harsh learning experience and I want to share with you a couple overdose stories of my own that I feel newcomers should read to understand what could possibly occur and how best to help a person who is in an uncomfortable situation.

Water Bong

Water Bong


Have you heard this story before: a friend introduces you to his new water bong and you want to make sure you don’t look like an idiot so you overdue by smoking the entire bowl. The next few hours I’m sure you spent in a sweat, itching at your throat and wishing the spinning light show would halt. Keeping hydrated while smoking is one of the easiest ways to prevent these poor side effects and understanding that all these symptoms will pass with time will help keep that paranoid voice from overreacting. I’ve been known to have a inner mantra to keep me focused while I come down from an overdose and I highly recommend coming up with one yourself even if it’s just telling yourself ‘everything will be okay’.


Dorm Room #420


 One of my first experiences with weed was in college at the oddly appropriate dorm number, 420. A group of friends were hitting their new bong contraption and were inviting fellow neighbors over to join in the fun. I didn’t join the group and instead opted to go home for a quick snack before returning to the party. I returned to find a sophomore graphic design student mumbling to herself and half slumping on the wall. Another sophomore was giggling to himself and speaking Spanish. Both were experiencing hallucinations, nausea and had that eerie ghost face. We propped both of them up, gave them water and tried to keep them alert. After a quick nap and more water, those students were back to watching cartoons on the couch like nothing had happened.

 My final addition to these overdose stories comes from two separate instances where a friend who was really high fainted suddenly. Watching an adult ragdoll and hearing the thud of 200 pounds hit the floor can come as quite the shock to a mellowed-out stoner. I’ve called the paramedics both times and while this kind of overkill cannot hurt, it wasn’t necessary as my friend was both dehydrated and had just stood up way too quickly. The blood rushed to his head because like most stoners, his concept of time was…skewed. He had been sitting quietly playing Lord of the Rings Online for nearly two hours and then quickly stood up to go to the restroom and woke up with three worried friends hovering over him, making sure he did crack his head open on the linoleum.

Keeping hydrated is important

Keeping hydrated is important


I hope by sharing these stories you might have a better idea of what to expect when you overdose. The important things to remember are to stay hydrated, don’t move or stand up too quickly and do your best to stay alert and keep your body comfortably propped up. Next time you take one too many hits, take comfort in the fact that you will not die; however the next 30 minutes to 2 hours you might feel like it. Just ask Maureen Dowd.


Who To Follow? Top Active Seattle Marijuana Businesses on Social Media

Top Seattle Marijuana businesses Social Media


If you ‘re a fan of marijuana, a fan of social media, and you live in Seattle, then you may be interested in some of the most active Seattle marijuana businesses on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. These local cannabis businesses do a fantastic job of showcasing their product, keeping us up to date with news, engaging the community, dropping some humor, and even some eye candy.


Cannabis City (Twitter / Facebook)

Ever since this retail marijuana store’s grand opening back in July, Cannabis City has been active on Twitter keeping the industry up do date with their product, when the State flag is lowered (which means they are out of marijuana due to limited supply), and whenever someone jams on a marijuana glass pipe!


Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop (Twitter / Facebook)

Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop has barely even opened and is as busy as anyone on social media. Whether it’s updating the cannabis menu, offering deals on certain strains of marijuana, some humor to brighten up your day, or even a video update of the church protest on their Facebook, the Central District pot shop has got it covered.


Leafly (Twitter)

This company is quickly become an icon of legal marijuana throughout the nation. It’s website is filled with information about cannabis strains and reviews by real people. It’s not surprising that their social media presence is as extensive, especially on Twitter, as they are constantly engaging with the community.


Analytical 360 (Twitter / Facebook)

This analysis laboratory is really good at promoting their new clients that walk through their door. Case in point, Craft Elixirs, whom just dropped off a batch of their cannabis-infused syrup last week. Analytical 360 also engages the community with some of the latest news.



View on Instagram


Businesses outside of Seattle, but doing business in the City

Bang’s Cannabis Company (Twitter / Instagram)

Good Ol’ Bangs. This husband and wife team of marijuana growers just visited us in the Emerald City. Our guess is, they had some meetings lined up. We haven’t even tried their product yet – actually a lot of people haven’t because they are so new  – but if their cannabis is at least half as good as their photos on Instagram, then we’re going to love it because their photos are eye candy to the max.



View on Instagram


Avitas Agriculture (Twitter / Facebook)

Here is another marijuana grower that’s dazzling us with photos. See, we like shiny things. But, not only does Avitas show off their product, but they also show off their fresh clean package design for their cannabis.


Apache 6 (Twitter)

This security team, who’s working at Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop, has been all over Twitter. Alerting the community, sharing opinions and expertise about the security aspect of the cannabis industry, and engaging with the community, are a few ways they use social media.


Did we miss any? Do you know of a Seattle marijuana business, or a marijuana business in Seattle, that you think should be on this list? Let us know in the comment section!

Guest Article: Aftermath of the Church Protest at Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop


Nacho is a member of the Apache 6 Security Team. This is his perspective of the Aftermath of the Church Protest at Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop.

Well, it’s been about a week since the church protest and roughly two weeks since Uncle Ike’s Pot Shop had its’ grand opening. The church marijuana protest called for a rally everyday at noon and at 5pm, and continue until the pot shop closed down and moved out. With a front row seat every single day, we have witnessed that the church is not that dedicated. Either, they forgot the weed shop protest was at noon and 5pm, or they could only muster five bodies to hold up signs.

From a security company perspective, we respect their point of view. But from a reality/common sense point of view, they need to put aside this anger/hostility towards the pot shop and move on. The shop is not going away. The owner, Ian Eisenberg, has even has reached out to the church and offered to push back the opening hours until after church services are over, or not open Sundays at all. The church refuses to work with the owner.

Recently, the Uncle Ike’s staff went to Starbucks and purchased coffee and coffee cake for the protesters (all 5 of them), and the church members pushed them away with their signs! Luckily someone recorded their behavior and posted it on Facebook. It’s amazing for us to see the strength and numbers when the media is out covering the story, but the minute the video stops rolling, the protesters seem to jump in their cars and drive away. The media recently visited the premises, to do an update, and managed to only gather around eight protesters in front of the camera. That is the largest gathering we have seen since the original protest!

During these protests, or lack thereof, We have seen a fleeing felon on foot, trying to run away from Seattle Police, on 23rd & Union. Three Seattle police officers gave chase. They finally cornered the man within an apartment complex. Even K-9 units were brought in because the suspect was armed and dangerous. So why make note of this when this article is about the church protests? Because, this was in broad day light while the 5 protesters were out flashing their signs! That little corner lot where Uncle Ike’s pot shop is located was, at that time, one of the most secure places to be at the time and the protesters took refuge during this incident. You won’t see that on the media.

The point is, the pot shop is not going away, it’s here to stay. The church needs to find a better way to reach and mentor their youth. The owner didn’t “disrespect” the church, he made a business decision and purchased the land. A member of the church personally told me, on the day of the rally, that ‘they (the church) screwed up by not buying the land when it was available.’ Can you blame a business man for making a business decision? Putting money back into the economy and the community? One person alone is trying to clean up the neighborhood and add security to the lot and you want to protest that? Should we challenge the church to do the same? Why aren’t they protesting the liquor store, or the barbershop, where loiters seem to ‘hang out’ and ‘gather’ well into the night?

I respect the religious values of the protesters and their right to protest, but maybe their is a better way to approach the situation. After all, they appear peaceful and act like victims until you offer them coffee and cake, then they just shove the signs at you! (In one protesters defense, the lady in the video did come over and apologize the next day).

How about we use our strength and numbers, and combine our numbers to fight for the ‘real’ problems? Like the security of everyone in the area? Because, all I see is good honest people walking into Uncle Ike’s pot shop partaking on something the people voted for.