Toke Signals: Port Hadlock Couchlock

Up near the northeast corner of the Olympic Peninsula lies Port Hadlock, a somewhat out-of-the way, bucolic, and relaxing little town with a friendly vibe. Medical-marijuana patients there don’t have to drive to Silverdale, Bremerton, or Seattle for safe access to cannabis, because they have The Alternative Clinic.

The place has a very informal, laid-back feel, partly because budtender David, the only employee on duty the day I visited, has an air of garrulous friendliness. A conversational sorta guy, David enjoys talking about cannabis and jazz (he’s a guitarist).

The Alternative Clinic isn’t the most neatly arranged access point I’ve ever visited; in fact, it wouldn’t be in the top 50. The products in their display case—medibles, topicals, and concentrates, the flowers being on top—were jumbled in a disconcertingly disorganized fashion. One got the impression that perhaps only males had any input on shelf organization.

But the Clinic did have an impressive selection of top-shelf flowers for being situated so far out in the sticks. Twenty strains, all priced at $10 a gram, were available for my perusal, with David’s helpful suggestions. (There are also a couple of bargain strains for low-budget patients.)

I picked the hybrid JackBerry (Jack Herer x Blueberry), the sativa Super Lemon Haze, and the hybrid Deadhead OG, all top-shelf $10 strains.

The Super Lemon Haze, I quickly learned, was done just right. The ringing clarity of its mental zing made the day’s sunshine extra-lovely as pain evaporated, elevating thought processes and banishing nausea with exhilarating efficacy. If you need to medicate in the morning or midday, you will find no better choice than SLH.

The hybrid JackBerry, while often billed as an indica-dominant, is a good long-lasting daytime smoke, unlike some sleepier indica-dominants. It’s a very chill strain, but doesn’t produce the kind of impairment that makes it overly difficult to complete needed tasks (such as writing this review). Quite a bit of the berry sweetness of its Blueberry forebears comes through in the taste and smell.

Deadhead OG is very heady, proclaiming the 60-percent-sativa part of its genetic heritage (ChemDawg 91) to your brain cells immediately, producing a high which lends itself to—you guessed it—music. You might find yourself understanding the allure of jam bands if you aren’t careful. Meanwhile, the 40-percent-indica component (San Fernando Valley OG Kush) is the solidly thumping bass line to ChemDawg’s lead guitar. They were down to the bottom of the jar, but even the shake was righteous. With the euphoric onset of a sativa and the profound relaxation and pain relief of an indica, this may be the perfect hybrid—with one caveat. The indica portion speaks loud and clear if you keep toking, and you could get quite couchlocked.

Don’t rely on their Weedmaps menu online, as it hadn’t been updated in a month on the day I visited. And make sure you ask the budtender to write strain names on the bags; David didn’t do that when I visited.

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

THE ALTERNATIVE CLINIC 215 W. Patison St., Port Hadlock, 360-385-4420. 11 a.m.–7 p.m. Mon.–Sat., noon–6 p.m. Sun.w

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