The Wink in Weed: How Redmond, Washington’s First Legal Pot Shop Will Forever Change The City That Bill Gates Built

By David Rheins

WASHINGTON: Redmond, Washington, is famously the home of Microsoft and Nintendo America, and less famously known as the Bicycle Capital of the World.  The affluent community is home to 60,000 residents, it’s quaint streets lined with upscale shopping choices providing a local population of techies and young families with all their daily needs: Starbucks Coffee, Hot Pot Donuts, Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, and now thanks to the opening of the town’s first legal pot shop — Always Greener Downtown – a fine selection of curated cannabis products.

Established by Redmond’s Jenny Carbon and Shauna Mindt, Always Greener Downtown is a gorgeous shop with natural woods and an organic design that feels more like a jewelry store than dispensary.  The new 502 store joins some 370 licensed marijuana retailers already operating in Washington State, but theirs is not just another pot shop opening.  Redmond is ground zero for Washington’s successful technology industry, and the town is home to many “Microsoft millionaires” and their compatriots who demand the best of mainstream American consumer culture.

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The inclusion of Always Greener Downtown – prominently located in the heart of Redmond’s shopping district — is a victory for cannabis normalization, and a testament to the tireless efforts of Jenny and Shauna and their many cannabis industry supporters who turned out to testify at the countless Redmond City Council Zoning board hearings. The seamless integration of a legal pot shop into the fabric of the community will forever change what it means to be a pot smoker in Redmond.

GrasshopperHub CEO Heidi Arsenault was customer #1 at opening of Always Greener Downtown

GrasshopperHub CEO Heidi Arsenault was customer #1 at opening of Always Greener Downtown

I sat down with Jenny Carbon, and asked her to reflect on the historic store opening.

Q: What does it feel like to be the first pot shop in Microsoft’s home town?

A: We love our local clientele, whether they be Microsofties, local small business or out-of-towners.  Our community has been underserved and unregulated for far too long and we are thrilled when we hear how happy people are that they no longer have to fight traffic to find their products.

Q: It took you 3 years after applying for your license to open your store.  Why was it so difficult?

A: Redmond had a moratorium, once that was lifted it was confirmed that there was NO retail zoning that fit the 1,000 ft. buffers. We had to file to amend the 2030 comprehensive plan to create zoning. We were put on a 18 month wait list, once our issue was heard it went to planning commission for months of discussion, then went to council for a public hearing. In the meantime, legislation passed that allowed for buffers to be reduced and council approved 100ft buffers from parks and playgrounds, which we have a plethora of in Redmond.

Q: Tell us about the store decor, and why you decided to spend so much money on natural materials and reclaimed woods.

A: Choosing materials that are eco-friendly and sustainable just takes a bit more intention, the cost was not much different than most other products out there, but choices are not as readily available, so we had to take the time to source the products. We felt that any way we could help to reduce our carbon footprint was worthwhile. We know that matters to Redmond and wanted to bring our “Always Greener” concept full circle.

Q: What kind of cannabis products will you carry?

A: We carry flower, concentrates and edibles. We have some paraphernalia in house but plan to expand our collection as we grow.

Q: Next to your 502 shop, you will soon be opening Always Greener Mercantile.   What are your plans for that space?

A: AG Mercantile will be a place to showcase our branded eco-friendly apparel line, as well as support our local merchants and artists. We will feature cannabis related products as well as other novelties and non-psychoactive forms of cannabis such as HEMP and CBD products.

Q: The artistic work of Michael Guttsen is featured in the space now.  Who is he and what is his relevance?

A: Michael Guttsen is an artistic genius. He was someone who understood our vision early on and brought what we were thinking and feeling to life through our brand expression. He has done a plethora of work over the years, in many media forms and perceives the world through a larger lens than I could ever imagine. We have danced to a similar drumbeat which has enabled us to develop a kinship and synergy the easily allows for visual creations to appear. He is our muse, and we are forever grateful.

Q: The town of Redmond is abuzz with excitement for a weekend-long grand opening celebration, complete with ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring local politicians, luminaries and industry VIPs. Can you share with us the schedule of festivities?

A: The Grand Opening Celebration begins at “High Noon” on Friday, March 3rd, 2017. 

Highlights include:

Friday

12:00

  • Joy Beckerman presents us with true hemp cord for our cutting ceremony.
  • City officials, OneRedmond, as well as Redmond Reporter will join us for the cutting followed by cakes by Lisa Dupar catering (owner of Pomegrate Bistro, a Redmond favorite).

12:00-3:00

  • Hans Brehmer (jazz pianist) with guest Bassist & our very own Shauna Mindt accompanying them on tap!

Vendors:

12:00-3:00

  • Green Barn Farms

3:00-6:00

  • Washington Bud Co

6:00-9:00

  • Dynamic Harvest
  • Galaxy Donuts (and more!) 3-6pm

Saturday

12:00-5:00

  • Peach and the Pig Food Truck- Incredible pork sandwiches
  • Hans Brehmer (jazz pianist) with guest Bassist

4:00-6:00

  • Joe Duce of Trainwreck for some good old Grateful dead and classic rock

Vendors:

12:00-3:00

  • Mother Earth Farms

3:00-6:00

  • Hemp Zen
  • Ionic

6:00-9:00

  • Bad Ass Grass

Sunday

12:00-2:00

  • African drumming with Alex and friends
  • Espresso cart
  • Top Pot Donuts

Vendors:

10:00-1:00

  • Bondi Farms

1:00-3:00

  • Willie’s Reserve

 

The Long And Winding Road Leads To Where The Grass Is Always Greener…

WASHINGTON: Jenny Carbon & Shauna Mindt have become familiar faces to the Redmond Town Council, appearing regularly over the past three years giving testimony at countless public hearings in an effort to change local zoning restrictions that are impeding the couple’s ability to open the first pot shop in upscale Redmond, WA.

Awarded a lottery #1 position in March of 2014, the pair has found it nearly impossible to find a licensable property due to the tony community’s multitude of parks and other state mandated buffers.

Jenny and Shuana applaud Redmond, WA's new zoning regulations

Jenny and Shuana applaud Redmond, WA’s new zoning regulations

While the city of Redmond voted 62% in favor I-502 in November, 2012,  legalizing the adult use of recreational marijuana, the city council has chosen a cautious “wait and see” approach for making any changes that would reduce restrictions, until this week. On June 7th, the body voted unanimously, with a 6-0 vote, to reduce buffers from 1,000 to 100 ft. —  the first city in Washington state to adopt the minimum requirements.

Although the journey has been much longer and more difficult than ever imagined what the duo has discovered is that “winning over hearts and minds takes time.

“There’s no greater victory then having the full support of your city council behind you,” Carbon told MJ News Network.  “Now we can get to the work of delivering safe and responsible access to our community.”

“We are thrilled to push open this door of discovery for Redmond residents,” Ms. Mindt added. “The world of what cannabis has to offer is still just beginning and what awaits us is amazing. We are very grateful to be at the forefront of the cannabis movement and thank the Marijuana Business Association, the Cannabis Women’s Alliance and support of entire community for bringing us across the finish line.”