Sound Transit's new light rail expansion is being hailed as a transportation miracle—and rightfully so!
As Jim Spady of Dick's Drive-In put it: "Capitol Hill is a wonderful community, but it's difficult to get there. University Link will be amazing, connecting to both downtown and the UW in minutes. We can't wait for opening day!"
But you know what will be more amazing? Taking the train to Sodo, buying a pre-roll in one of the many shops down there, smoking it in a desolate parking lot somewhere (not technically legal, so don't get caught), and then riding the train back to Capitol Hill, where you will emerge across the street from Dick's. Though Seattle is a city of many culinary delights, I've yet to encounter one as wonderful as getting high, buying a bunch of cheap and delicious Dick's food, and plopping down on one of Seattle Central College's big window alcoves to plow through a Dick's Deluxe, fries, and a strawberry shake. While burger-loving potheads definitely have cause to rejoice, so do the stores that make up Seattle's unofficial Green Light District, the cluster of pot shops in close proximity to the Stadium and Sodo light rail stations.
"We are very excited for the light rail expansion," said Ganja Goddess store manager Ananda Green. "I remember taking the 73 from the U-District to downtown when I went to UW, and it was a long trip." Now that long trip will be about 10 minutes, according to the ULink website. To make it even easier, Ganja Goddess offers pickup and drop-off service from Sodo station. Yes, you heard that right. They have a hilarious van they will pick you up in if you contact them. You still have to go to the store to buy your weed, you just get a ride.
Maria Moses, co-owner of Dockside Cannabis, was similarly enthused about the expansion, though she wasn't exactly banking on a tidal wave of new business from it. The city is getting a lot of new pot stores, she said, and she wasn't sure people would make the trip.
"I am hopeful that the light rail expansion will help Sodo's pot businesses, though I'm cautiously optimistic," she said. "I think customers will go to the store that is most convenient for them, and I'm not sure if the light rail will make too much of a difference once all the other new shops open."
Chet, a UW grad student and career stoner who declined to give his last name, said that he didn't expect to see a lot of students rushing down to Sodo.
"Remember, travel time includes the ride, waiting for the ride, and walking to/from both stations, so actually very few students will use the train to buy weed in Sodo," he said. "In fact, most students live closer to American Mary in Wallingford than to Husky Stadium."
Despite her reservations, Moses said that her store would certainly be courting students. While they don't offer any discounts for ironic tattoos, Dockside does plan to offer a discount for stoney students who make the trip.
And though American Mary is certainly an attractive option (being right next to the awesome Kate's Pub and a comic-book store), a weed-buying excursion to Sodo is still a worthwhile adventure for students of legal age.
There's also Cannabis City, which is within walking distance of the light rail station and was the first recreational weed store in Seattle, and a fourth weed store called Seattle Cannabis Company. Two more weed stores are supposed to open in the neighborhood soon, including one that I'm told will be called Herban Legends.
You can't beat the overall selection available between that many stores. Plus, Dockside is expanding its "Cannabis Museum" to include an exhibit featuring the awesome Wirtshafter Collection, Don Wirtshafter's assembly of 1930s medicinal cannabis bottles. Also, Sodo has a ton of awesome nanobreweries. Nothing like a stoned brewery tour, especially if you're not driving.
Speaking of beer, Sodo's neighborhood watering hole Hooverville has more than 20 beers on tap, skeeball, pool, darts, free peanuts, a classic ice-filled urinal, and pretty decent pizza. It's a veritable stoner paradise.
Sound Transit's public information officer, Bruce Gray, had no official statement on the pot connection, but he did have some words of advice for rail-riding stoners.
"All we would say is to remind folks that smoking or vaping of any sort on platforms or trains is prohibited, but light rail is a great way to get around all parts of the city safely," he said. He added one very stoner-appropriate piece of advice: "Don't forget to buy your tickets!"