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Islander opens medical marijuana shop at edge of Vashon town
By NATALIE MARTIN
An island man has opened the first medical marijuana dispensary in Vashon town.
Kevin Bergin recently opened Island Cure Collective in the small office building just south of the former Vashon Family Practice.
At the dispensary, Bergin sells marijuana and marijuana products to adults who hold a medical marijuana card.
Bergin has been selling medical marijuana on Vashon since last May, when he first started Island Cure as a delivery service.
In an interview last week at the new dispensary, Bergin said he decided to open the store because he believes many people go off-island to purchase medical marijuana.
“Shopping at a place in Seattle, they tell me we get a lot of customers from Vashon,” he said.
Bergin also owns Kevin Bergin Construction, a small business that does excavating work. He plans to continue the Island Cure delivery service.
Bergin has leased the building, a former dentist’s office, since November from Sjardo Steneker. The building is connected by a breezeway to the former Vashon Family Practice building, which Steneker owns as well. The property is currently for sale.
Bergin said before he opened his doors, he had to apply for a change of use permit from the county’s Department of Permitting and Environmental Review (DPER). He received the permit in about eight weeks.
Lisa Verner, DPER’s legislative coordinator, confirmed that Island Cure is permitted. The new store is allowed under the Vashon Town Plan, she said, because a medical marijuana dispensary is considered a retail drug store, a business allowed in the plan.
Last December, King County issued a moratorium on new medical marijuana dispensaries and collective gardens due to the legalization of recreational marijuana. Bergin, however, applied for his permit before that time, Verner said.
Bergin said he plans to stay in business as long as there’s a legal medical marijuana market in Washington, but he isn’t interested in moving into the recreational marijuana market, which he said is more highly taxed.
“The Liquor Control Board would make more money than I would,” he said.
Island Cure offers a variety of strains of marijuana, as well as edible products and lotions. He plans to carry EdiPure products, whether or not the business buys and moves into the K2 building.
As with other dispensaries, products aren’t on display but are sold to customers at a counter. He isn’t hiring any employees now, he said, but plans to keep regular hours at the dispensary seven days a week.
Bergin removes all product and cash from the building at night, something he said is a good practice and also an insurance requirement. There are also security cameras inside and outside the building.
In the first week of business, Bergin said he had about 50 customers and he heard a lot of positive feedback.
“Everyone that comes in thinks it’s great they don’t have to go to Seattle to get their meds,” he said.