Big Budda’s Bears Watching

A few weeks ago I celebrated my first-ever visit to a Kitsap County dispensary, in the unincorporated community of Gorst, between Bremerton and Port Orchard. Now I’ve found another excellent, safe access point there, and I’m thinking suddenly there’s a way better reason to visit Gorst than the go-go bars.

Big Budda’s Collective Meds, located on an out-of-the-way back street—you absolutely have to be looking for the place to find it—has been in operation for eight months, according to budtender Dawn (who’s very good at her job). And, perhaps tellingly, they are very popular. When I remarked on how busy the shop was on a Thursday morning, Dawn told me “It’s this way every day.”

Obviously, Big Budda’s is doing something right. One thing is their across-the-board $10 grams; not having to stress about whether this strain is $12 or that one $14, but rather being able to concentrate on picking the absolute best flowers, zeroing in on the strains that best alleviate your symptoms, is a great luxury to have. That’s the beauty of flat $10 pricing.

Dawn’s easy rapport with all patients—I saw no fewer than six cycle through during my stay of no more than 25 minutes—is another thing Big Budda’s does right. Normally I wouldn’t be crazy about being called “Dad” by someone I didn’t know, but somehow Dawn’s friendliness disarmed me.

With around 20 strains in the display case, one of the first to catch my eye was labeled “Gooie.” When Dawn got out the jar for me to inspect, I remarked that it smelled and looked exactly like the hybrid strain that would be called “Afgooey” in most shops, and she confirmed what my nose and eyes were already telling me: This is that strain.

Gooie’s sweet taste and smell—and above all its sheer kick-ass potency—have made it a personal favorite strain, and this was an excellently grown and cured example. On the drive home, I found myself not only enjoying a CD of local band C-Leb & The Kettle Black (catch them when you can; Soundgarden meets Zeppelin), but, moments later, realizing that the severe abdominal pain which had tormented me for days was down to a tolerable level—relegated to the status of a footnote, even. That’s good medicine. (I was of course well below the legal threshold—5 nanograms per milliliter—at all times behind the wheel.)

When I asked Dawn about the best indica she had, she pulled a jar labeled “P.D.S.” from the display case. “It’s Purple Dog Shit,” she answered, seeing my questioning glance. Yes, that’s really what it’s called; it’s a cross between some unknown purple strain and the Dog Shit strain I’ve seen at a few shops around town. Perhaps thankfully, the strain’s bouquet leans more to the unknown purple than to the Dog Shit—not that I wouldn’t have smoked it anyway, considering its powerfully soporific, pain-relieving effects.

Steve Elliott edits Toke Signals,, an irreverent, independent blog of cannabis news, views, and information.

BIG BUDDA’S COLLECTIVE MEDS 4231 Olympic Dr., Bremerton, 360-265-0236, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. daily.

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