SLIDESHOW: New marijuana business is a friendly fortress
The newest marijuana based business in West Seattle, Northwest Patient Resource Center, now under construction at 9456 35th s.w. is being built as a friendly fortress.
It will feature 2 inch thick, bulletproof plexiglass "teller" like windows with interlocking pass throughs, smash proof glass, glass break alarms, "Threat-proof" Kevlar reinforced walls, separate internal security zones, a 16 camera hi-def surveillance system both inside and out (and they record for up to 30 days), a "man trap" interlocking door system (with a bullet proof internal window for visual bag inspection), blast rated steel internal doors, solid wall reinforcements, architectural elements added to prevent break-ins or smash and grab style burglaries and massive high tech safes for storing medicine. Very little cash will be stored on site.
Owned by John B. Davis and Anthony Lilly the NPRC, set to open in the next 10 days, is built like a bank. Davis and Lily have taken these extra steps to be incredibly security conscious and sensitive to the neighborhood. But it won't be austere inside. It is painted in earth tones, and the lobby area will be much like a library with books on natural healing . The lobby also features a floor and ceiling anchored privacy screen shielding patients from being seen from the street, and those outside from seeing in. The windows are rendered translucent. The facility offers an ADA accessible bathroom.
"This is a patient resource center first and foremost," said Lily," We're here to help patients."
"We want to give patients not only a resource to the medicine but a resource to get with other patients, people who are going through the same thing. A lot of times, people with MS that are being treated with marijuana have a sense of alienation along with their condition. You have to go out and find medicine, you have MS to begin with, people don't understand the tremors, so to have that is a great resource for patients."
Davis is a 25 year marijuana activist and the chairman of the board for Seattle's annual marijuana event, Hempfest, set this year for August 19-21 at Myrtle Edwards Park on the waterfront. Lilly is the Mainstage Photographer for the event.
This isn't the first marijuana based business Davis has built. He has been involved the construction and design of two previous locations, not his own, but he said he learned a lot in the process.
"We are trying to make the community as comfortable with us as we can," Davis said, "and that starts with security." The signage will be very nondescript with a simple green sign, a line outline depicting a mountain image and the letters NWPRC. "Our signs are really relaxed. They don't show anything about marijuana," said Lilly. "If you're a patient you'll know what we are. If you're not, you'll probably have no clue," said Davis, "People don't like these places because they fear it will bring violence to their neighborhood. We've pulled out every stop to make sure there's not going to be any violence in here." The cameras even monitor the alleyway and bus stop. Anyone seen on the system smoking marijuana near the center will be barred.
Patients will have other advantages. The medical marijuana will be on display in jars (also behind bullet proof glass) but upon verification of ID and proof of prescription will be allowed to examine it, smell it and even inspect it with an electronic magnification system that will reveal (if any) mites, mold, mildew and what are known as Trichomes small hair particles that grow off of the buds, stems, and leaves of the marijuana plant. The marijuana will be sold starting at $10 to $15 per gram in child proof containers.
One other unusual aspect of NWPRC is their ability to take credit cards. "We take Mastercard, Visa and others," said Davis. He's also talking about being a source for vendors for insurance that would cover crops.
The company will also sell "Nutraceuticals" in the form of edible products that contain the same active ingredients as the smoked variety. Those will include lemon bars, cookies, snacks, beef jerky and at some point they may offer frozen pizza.
Davis explained that NWPRC will employ a very sophisticated point of sale system. "It understands when you take in bulk product, it draws that down into grams or whatever amount you are selling, and it will keep your accounting for you." Since businesses of this type buy from independent growers they must bring the product in bulk into the facility. The system will take note of this too. "If a strain comes in, one type of marijuana, and you're a customer and you like that strain, it will email you that it's here."
Davis and Lilly (who lives in West Seattle) will both be present at NWPRC but Daniela Bernhard is the company office manager and will run day to day operations.
Once they open, NWPRC will offer all qualified military veterans "a significant discount" said Lilly. "We're going to find a way to help people with low income too," said Davis.
First though they need to finish construction and get their computer systems in place and working properly.
Even though the law regarding marijuana appears to be in a state of flux (our most recent coverage is here), Davis is not worried. "It doesn't really change what I'm doing. It's being left to a local option as far as dispensers and access points. If I were in Eastern Washington or an outlying area it would make me nervous, but luckily enough I'm positioned in the City of Seattle and the city has some of the most enlightened policies on access to medical cannabis in the country."