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Peninsula Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Now Total Three

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SEQUIM – Providing marijuana to the medically ill continues to be a growing business on the North Olympic Peninsula.

The Peninsula is home to three known medical marijuana dispensaries, all of which have opened over the past four months.

The most recent to come to light is Olympic Sinsemilla, a Sequim-area nonprofit run by Justin and Bethany Rondeau.

The Rondeaus started delivering marijuana to customers in December.

They said they now serve about 100 people living from Forks to Port Townsend.

Most of their clients have cancer, said Justin Rondeau, a Forks native. The average age of the Rondeaus' customers is 54.

Justin Rondeau said marijuana, which he and Bethany prefer to call cannabis, helps ease pain and restore appetites for their customers without the harsh side effects that can come with manufactured drugs.

"Today, I delivered to a gal who's got a metal pin in her leg and plates in her ankle that were giving her trouble," he said. "Another has ovarian cancer.

"That's kind of our typical day."

The same month the Rondeaus started making deliveries, a medical marijuana dispensary opened in Port Angeles. Olympian Canna LLC was the city's first.

Another dispensary, Rain Shadow Cannabis Co-Operative, opened about a month ago in the Sequim area.

Each operates in a gray area of the state's medical marijuana law that allows people to be designated providers for someone authorized to use the drugs by their physician but technically for only one person at a time.

The Rondeaus, who prefer to call themselves providers rather than dispensary owners, get around that by having their customers sign a form at the start of the transaction that calls them their designated provider, then sign another form that ends that arrangement as soon as the customers are finished.

Rain Shadow Cannabis Co-Operative and Olympian Canna LLC also follow that practice.

Ron Cameron, chief criminal deputy with the Clallam County Sheriff's Office and head of the Peninsula's drug task force, agrees that the law is vague on the matter.

But he said the Olympic Narcotics Enforcement Team and Sheriff's Office are trying to remain neutral on the issue and have no plans to crack down on the dispensaries.

"These people, whether they are following the law or not, do not appear to be a negative impact right now," he said.

"If that changes at any time, then our task force and our deputies will change their focus."

Neither Justin, 26, nor Bethany, 20, said this is what they expected to do together.

Both were students at Oregon State University when they met two years ago and had little to no experience with the drug.

But one day, Bethany Rondeau, who suffers from intense migraines, went temporarily blind because of the pain and had to be rushed to a hospital in Albany, Ore.

There, she was given pain medication, which got rid of the migraine but also made her vomit.

It was at that time that her doctor recommended that she smoke marijuana to ease the pain as an alternative.

Bethany Rondeau said she was hesitant.

"I'm actually from Oklahoma, so it's like devil's blood," she said.

"I was just never really into drugs at all."

After trying it, she found that it eliminated her migraines and didn't upset her stomach like prescription drugs.

Bethany Rondeau said she began to look at it not as a drug, but as medicine.

"It made me feel much better," she said, "and less uncomfortable than Vicodin did."

That's when they said they realized the medical benefits of the drug and decided to become providers so that others could benefit.

And the benefits for themselves, they said, is not financial. (Both receive an hourly wage through their nonprofit and pay sales and income taxes.)

It's the gratitude they receive from their patients, who are tired of feeling sick.

Justin Rondeau recalled one customer who had an adverse reaction to pain pills and couldn't hold food down.

"She was losing weight weekly and was getting to the point where she was going to die from it," he said.

But after using marijuana, Justin Rondeau said, she was able to ease her pain and gain her appetite back.

"For the first time in eight years, she is learning to laugh again," he said.

The Rondeaus have been authorized to use marijuana for their own ailments – Bethany for her migraines, Justin for back pain – which allows them to grow the plants for themselves.

But they declined to say how they acquire the drug for themselves and their customers, which pay through donations.

The plants are grown organically, they said.

News Hawk- Jacob Husky 420 MAGAZINE
Source: peninsuladailynews.com
Author: Tom Callis
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: Horvitz Newspapers
Website: Peninsula medical marijuana dispensaries now total three
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