Posted April 6, 2016 by Cooper Point Journal in Community

Legal Weed Moves West

Two New Recreational Marijuana Stores Open on Olympia’s Westside

By Danny Loose

On Monday March 28, town hall held a public hearing for the approval to license two new recreational marijuana retail stores. Hearing Examiner Mark C. Scheibmeir approved the two prospective shops “Gypsy Greens” set to open on Division Street and “THC Olympia” on Martin Way after a short 30 minute session. This meeting followed the license approval meetings that were held for the west side location of Green Lady Marijuana, which opened up this week.

Jerry Antonelli & Jenna Rodriguez of Gypsy Greens were reviewed first, their application being rather tricky due to the high traffic location of Harrison and Division. Gypsy Greens is replacing the Northwest Express medical marijuana facility but because the shop is a recreational facility the ordinances Gypsy Greens must abide by are a bit more stringent. Recreational facilities must be in compliance with a standard code requirement of a 1000 foot buffer zone away from schools, parks and daycares, which Antonelli and Rodriguez were close to breaching near Jefferson Middle school. Luckily, the buffer was reduced in their favor to 500 feet, which was just enough to let them pass. This reduction has been offered to more recreational facilities in the two years that I-502 has been in effect. Examiner Scheibmeir noted that the reduction has been offered with greater frequency in Olympia because the town’s relationship to recreational facilities have been fruitful in generating tax revenue and for proving to be unobtrusive.

When the council turned to the public for testimonials I looked around the room to see if anyone was going to say anything about the name of the prospective business. To no response I took it upon myself to inquire if Antonelli and Rodriguez were aware that “g*psy” is a racial slur against the Romani people, which they were not. The two were very receptive to my critique despite their initial surprise when I confronted their use of the slur. In my testimonial I noted that their use of a slur would have a negative impact on their business, and that it would be a wiser idea to play it safe with a less offensive name, to which Antonelli responded that “we live in a time when anyone can be offended by anything.”

Considering that those who are presumed to be most likely to be “offended by anything” are liberal college students, I await to see how the Evergreen student body responds to the business’ choice of name with where they choose to spend their money. It should be noted that Gypsy Greens is opening within close geographic and chronological proximity to Green Lady Marijuana’s west side facility on Harrison. Gypsy Greens opened their storefront over the weekend, so my critique appeared to be too late to be put into effect.  After the 20 minute hearing Examiner Scheibmeir approved Gypsy Green’s license, which was met with a sigh of relief from Antonelli and Rodriguez.

The second business “THC of Olympia” was represented by Ciaran Wilburn and Jeff Mahan and had a much shorter hearing. Despite not having their business licensing application submitted, the hearing proceeded. Examiner Scheibmeir equated the proposals to be of a similar nature as the rest of the recreational centers approved during the Gypsy Green’s session and the session held the previous week to approve the license for the west side Green Lady. Examiner Scheibmeir concluded the hearing noting that Olympia has established positive relationships with recreational facilities and that the council usually favors approving licenses, and that Olympia as a town is very liberal in regards to marijuana.

It now stands that Olympia has six recreational marijuana facilities: Green Lady Marijuana West and East, Gypsy Greens, THC Olympia, A Bud & Leaf, and 420 West. Now that recreational facilities are proving to be smart payoffs for small business owners, a climate of competition should inevitably start rearing its head.